The Overwhelming Power of Corporate Culture – Nu Leadership Series

“In the past a leader was a boss. Today’s leaders must be partners with their people… they no longer can lead solely based on positional power.”
Ken Blanchard

Many executives manage in spite of the fray. They operate in the hemisphere with little regard for problems below them. Employees’ problems become petty. Middle level managers concerns are often ignored. However, stakeholders demand efficient and profitable operations; they want an organizational culture that fosters these requirements.

When this doesn’t happen, the question that must be asked is “do these senior executives really want to know their organizational culture?” Researchers Cameron and Quinn created the Organization Culture Assessment Instrument to assist organizations in diagnosing their corporate culture.

Culture is the set of values, guiding beliefs, understandings, and ways of thinking that is shaped by members of an organization. It is often unwritten. Management expert Robbins notes that it is only when organizations attempt to implement new changes that they recognized the power of culture.

Why is this important? Culture provides members with a sense of organizational identity and generates a commitment to beliefs and values that are larger than themselves. It also represents the underlying values, assumptions, the visible artifacts, and observable behaviors.

Culture guides day-to-day working relationships and determine acceptable behavior. Top leaders are responsible for creating and sustaining a culture that emphasizes good ethical behavior. However, some leaders shun this responsibility. On the contrary, effective managers understand culture and try to influence it for the good of the organization.


Cameron, K. & Quinn, R. (2006). Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Levey, N. (November 12, 2006). Ex-Congressional Aide’s Blog led to Foley’s Fall. Los Angeles Times.

Robbins, S. (2005). Organizational behavior. NY: Prentice Hall.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green