Building Blocks of Organizational Culture: The Six Components of Corporate Culture (Coleman)

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Munadil Shafat
Student (MBA), Bangladesh

Building Blocks of Organizational Culture: The Six Components of Corporate Culture (Coleman)

🔥NEW Culture, unlike its short and easy definition the way we do things here isn't as easy a concept to get the hang of. Yet every complex thing relies on a foundation and in case of culture, as observed by John Coleman, it has its foundation in six core components. While Edgard Schein famously demonstrated there are 3 levels of culture, Coleman argues there are 6 components that build organizational culture:
  1. VISION: Vision is a compelling image of achievable future. Merely coming up with a shiny statement is not enough to be a great vision. The core of a vision should hold greater purpose beyond money. Thus, a good vision underlies a great purpose which has the ability to capture a dedicated following.
  2. VALUES: Values are guiding principles. When practiced properly, they make a vision more achievable than when they aren't. Visions are sometimes written in a more abstract form, which makes it hard for ordinary people to interact with. But values are concrete and therefore every vision should be accompanied by some values that people can nurture everyday.
  3. PRACTICES: Visions and values are the codified part of a culture. Practices are genuine behaviors originated from those codes. To build a good culture, practices should always be in line with the stated vision and values. Many companies fall short in this key aspect.
  4. PEOPLE: To make the practices happen, we need people inspired to take the vision forward. People are the drivers of a culture, the practitioners of its values. Be it employees, customers, investors, founders or any other stakeholder, people run your business from day to day, and without having or developing them to fit your company's purpose, culture holds nothing other than mere words.
  5. NARRATIVE: Every company has a unique history, a story which creates the narrative for it. A narrative can be formal and informal. For example, Coca-Cola has a long tradition to formally celebrate its heritage. For informal narrative, take a look at the sophisticated design of Apple Park which will remind visitors to its founders' early fascination for calligraphy and design.
  6. PLACE: Have you ever wondered why so many businesses center around some specific location? The reasons for this can vary, but this reflects that Place has a great input in shaping culture. Place, when broadly defined, can be anything from location, neighborhood to design, architecture and aesthetics. It is the 6th component of culture, for which some businesses started adopting open offices and some are still putting their bet on closed ones. A proper place will help a culture flourish.
Source: Coleman, J. (2013), "Six Components of a Great Corporate Culture", HBR

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