What Is Corporate Culture and Why Should I Care?

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Not every workplace functions like the wacky Dunder-Mifflin from The Office. As college students that have finally begun taking steps toward joining the work force, we need to learn more about corporate culture. It seems as if everything will work out and we might even graduate with a well-prepared skillset to nab the job with the highest paycheck. But before you sign those final papers that will place you into a foreign environment, let’s talk about corporate culture. Turns out, who you work for affects you in the long run.

Read on for more information about corporate culture to navigate the office like a CEO in training.

Corporate Culture Explained

Corporate culture affects a company’s morals and values. Each company’s corporate culture pushes its employees to abide by the company’s mission statement using different strategies and rules. Finding your groove within a company leads to the highest success and content after completing your job search.

A job’s corporate culture encompasses more than what goes on within the office walls. It defines how employees act in and out of the office. The corporate culture has nothing to do with their technique and talent for the job and focuses in on their morals and values that drive their behaviors. “Corporate culture is a shared concept about what is important in an organization. While always present, it is not always obvious.  A good way to describe it is the background music at a workplace,” said David King, Department Chair and Higdon Professor of Management in the Florida State University College of Business.. Most employees share that “culture” within the corporation. Agreeing with a company’s corporate culture dictates the ability to connect with your co-workers and have respect for your bosses.

If you talk to college students about corporate culture, most respond with a quizzical look. Many don’t understand what the phrase means. “[It’s] the culture within a corporation…or what beliefs businesses practice, maybe?” Brenau University freshman Ashlynn Armour said. After providing definitions, realization dawns. “I had never really thought about it before. I guess I would want to work somewhere that would impact me for the better and that I could relate to,” said Armour.

Why Corporate Culture Matters

The corporate culture of a company majorly influences who will work for a company and customers’ desire to be involved with a company. For example, fast food restaurant Chick-Fil-A has had controversy in its past for its corporate culture. The issue lies not in how the company treats employees, but in the CEO Dan T. Cathy’s personal beliefs. Cathy donated money to companies seen as a threat to LBGTQ communities, so many people boycott and protest the franchise.

In comparison, Target decided within the last couple years to make its bathrooms gender neutral. Customers and employees responded with complaints and praises. Corporate culture, a.k.a. what a company values and stands for, leads all of these decisions. “Students can best prepare for an organizational culture by selecting an organization where they will ‘fit.’ This requires knowing what is important to a student and finding an organization that shares those aspects,” said Professor King.

How Corporate Culture Should Impact Your Job Search

Who would you want to work for? Who would you want to work with? Identifying a potential employer’s corporate culture will help you answer these questions. These things need to be considered as you head into job interviews. “It’s kind of cool how you can work with other like-minded individuals, but also those that will test your thinking. As long as there is respect in the work environment, we can all be involved in something more dynamic than just one outlook,” Georgia College freshman Annie Ellise said.

Your coworkers possess the greatest influence and community you surround yourself with for 40-plus hours every week. An important aspect to look for and the greatest impact within the working world all fall onto the corporate culture. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals and peers and mentors encouraging you to stay on track will help you achieve your career goals.

Julia is a Freshman at Florida State University studying Communications Media with a minor in Spanish. After graduation, she aspires to be a successful broadcast journalist traveling the world with her Australian Sheperd puppy.

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