As a global communications professional, I question these recent yearnings for one dominant corporate culture. Although unity is desirable, it is indisputable that in many situations (especially for multinationals) critical, uncontrollable factors such as local culture, political forces, economic needs, and social structure will alter the imported corporate culture.
Thus, the question is: Should an organization’s leaders allow corporate culture to be determined by local stakeholders, or should a single corporate culture be adopted globally, irrespective of the local norms?
There are conflicting answers, but a definition of the term corporate culture may aid our understanding. An article in Forbes describes corporate culture as:
One that links behaviors to relationships, informed by attitudes, built on a rock-solid base of values, and completely appropriate for the environment in which the organization chooses to operate.Take note: “completely appropriate for the environment in which the organization chooses to operate.”
Therefore, the desire for a central corporate culture may be unenforceable. Brand “Z’s” adopted corporate culture in Africa may not be applicable in Europe. In fact, organizations should be ready to manage multiple corporate cultures across the globe.
Godslove Adagbonyin is a graduate student in NYU's Public Relations and Corporate Communication Program, with special interest in Global Communications and Multicultural Media Relations.