Org culture & strategy: how related?

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Organizational culture and strategy are related, as a company’s culture influences its strategy. A strong culture can lead to an effective strategy, while a weak culture can hinder a company’s success. Culture and strategy also contribute to a company’s reach and longevity in a competitive market.

Organizational culture and strategy are related because organizational strategy can be elaborated by studying the organizational culture in place. In other words, organizational strategy is influenced by the culture set in the organization. The culture of any company is simply the established pattern of doing things. A company’s culture is what determines the attitude and behavior of any employee in any given situation.

Culture is the company’s definition of its essence. For example, one aspect of corporate culture is the attitude of employees towards the corporate motto. If a pizza restaurant rewards itself on free delivery of certain items within 30 minutes of ordering at a specific location, it will instill the sheer importance of this in its employees. This can be seen in the frank way that employees — starting with the order taker, then the pizza maker, and the pizza delivery person — rush to meet the 30-minute goal. This is simply a corporate culture that can be leveraged to strategically position the pizza company prominently among its competitors.

A very strong corporate culture can often be translated into an effective corporate strategy. A company with a weak to non-existent culture is bound to wander or be stifled by competitors with a dominant culture. Conversely, a company with an established culture often chooses its employees based on the fact that they share the same values, making them a cohesive entity. This link between organizational culture and strategy can be seen in a top financial management firm with a strong corporate culture of hiring young, energetic, bright, committed employees who help drive the company to be successful. These employees are often top graduates of the most prestigious business schools. As such, the company’s culture and strategy are intertwined; culture is a young, visionary and results-oriented workforce, and part of the strategy is to recruit the best graduates from the best schools.

Organizational culture and strategy are often among the major factors contributing to a company’s reach. They also determine whether a business will last the distance. In a competitive market, an organization shapes its business structure to enable it to develop the best competitive strategy. Therefore, if the company has a culture of strong work ethic, this can lead to an increase in productivity that can be leveraged for a corporate strategy. For example, if there are two fast food restaurants nearby, one might close at nine in the evening, while the other prides itself on staying open until midnight. This is both an organizational culture and a strategy.

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