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Corporate Culture: Evidence from the Field

Author

Listed:
  • John R. Graham
  • Campbell R. Harvey
  • Jillian Popadak
  • Shivaram Rajgopal

Abstract

Does corporate culture matter? Can differences in corporate culture explain why similar firms diverge with one succeeding and the other failing? To answer these questions, we use a novel survey and interview-based analysis of 1,348 North American firms. Over half of senior executives believe that corporate culture is a top-three driver of firm value and 92% believe that improving their culture would increase their firm's value. Surprisingly, only 16% believe their culture is where it should be. Executives link culture to ethical choices (compliance, short-termism), innovation (creativity, taking appropriate risk), and value creation (productivity, acquisition premia). We assess these links within a framework that implies cultural effectiveness depends on interactions between cultural values, norms, and formal institutions. Our evidence suggests that cultural norms are as important as stated values in achieving success.

Suggested Citation

  • John R. Graham & Campbell R. Harvey & Jillian Popadak & Shivaram Rajgopal, 2017. "Corporate Culture: Evidence from the Field," NBER Working Papers 23255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23255 Note: CF IO POL
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ethan Rouen, 2017. "Rethinking Measurement of Pay Disparity and its Relation to Firm Performance," Harvard Business School Working Papers 18-007, Harvard Business School.
    2. Ingo Walter, 2016. "Reputational risks and large international banks," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, pages 1-17.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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