An introduction to business cultures
An introduction to business cultures

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An introduction to business cultures

3 Factors influencing culture

Where the culture of a business comes from, and how it develops, is the subject of much discussion within business studies. Every commentator seems to have their own list of key factors. One example is by Drennan (1992), who proposes twelve key factors that shape the culture of a business. These are:

  1. the influence of a dominant leader – the vision, management style and personality of the founder or leader in a business often has a significant influence on the values that the business tries to promote;

  2. the history and tradition of the business – how things have always been done (and why);

  3. the type of technology used by the business and the types of goods and/or services it produces;

  4. which industry or sector the business is in, and how much and what type of competition it faces;

  5. the customers of the business – who they are and what they expect;

  6. company expectations – based to a large extent on past performance;

  7. the types of information and control systems used;

  8. the legislation and wider business environment;

  9. the procedures and policies within the business – ever-evolving, but often a good indicator of underlying values;

  10. the reward systems and the measurement of performance;

  11. how the business is organised and resourced;

  12. goals, values and beliefs – reflected in objects, actions and language, that is, in Trice and Beyer's symbols.

It could be argued that some of the twelve factors in Drennan's list are integral parts of the culture of a business rather than influences that shape it. You may, or may not, agree with this list, and you may wish to use the Comments section below to share your views. What lists such as this do show us, however, is that culture in business, as in society, pervades every aspect of its operations.

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