Engagement programs that improve corporate culture can also improve corporate value. This academic study by recognized professors, “Corporate Culture: Evidence From the Field” is valuable reading for every CEO, CFO, board member or other executive seeking to enhance returns for investors in a more sustainable manner through people.
In their study based on survey responses from 1,348 North American executives, John R. Graham, Finance Dept., Fuqua School at Duke; Jillian Greenan, Santa Clara University; Campbell R. Harvey, Duke University, and Shivaram Rajgopald at Columbia Business School find that 92% of respondents “believe that improving corporate culture would increase firm value.”
At the same time, a striking 84% believe their company “needs to improve its culture.”
The study provides concrete suggestions by documenting:
- Executives’ views on what corporate culture is and how it operates.
- Distinguishing between stated values and everyday norms.
- The extent to which culture is perceived to influence value creation (productivity, mergers), ethical choices (compliance, short-termism), and innovation (creativity, risk-taking).
- A list of obstacles that can prevent culture from being where it should be (inattentive leaders, misaligned incentive compensation).