Corporate culture is generally regarded as the key basing aspect that creates the motivation strategy of the entire company. On the one hand, this may be an integral part of assessing the performance of the employees and management, on the other hand, this may be regarded as the punishment and discouragement for the employees if it is not arranged properly. The aim of the paper is to analyze the corporate culture of Procter & Gamble Company, and assess, whether it is helpful for motivating employees, whether it is attractive for beginners and applicants. Considering the possible disadvantages of the culture, specific recommendations will be given for changing the existing cultural premises of the company.
The historical values of the corporate culture in Procter & Gamble can not be overestimated, as the company is based on professional activity which involves scientific, manufacturing, financial, managerial, marketing and retail activity. From the moment of company foundation, the key aim of team performance is the unification and consolidation of all the efforts aimed at improving the company’s activity on the market.
In general, the corporate culture of the company is based on the necessity to create and unite a single and professional team that is able to solve problems of various origins. Hence, the key feature of the culture may be expressed in the only phrase: The word “We” is used when referring to work efforts and accomplishments – not “I”. In fact, there is no room for subjectivity is encouraged, as all the decisions that are performed by the team are conformed to the others.
The key values of corporate culture are stated on the official source P & G (2010):
For 165 years, P&G’s Purpose, Values and Principles (PVP) have been guiding the way we do business. Since the beginning, we’ve conducted our business focused on personal and professional ethics and principle-based management. The core of our PVP is personal integrity, respect for the individual and doing what is right long term. The high caliber of people we hire ensures that our PVP will continue to be the foundation for every action we take and every product we make, now and in the future.
In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that the values of corporate culture are based on the traditions that are carved deeply in the managerial strategies and principles. Hence, if the changes are required, essential efforts will be needed for providing the changes required and achieving the results needed by these changes.
Currently, the company maintains a high secrecy level, though the cultural aspects of the company may be traced by analyzing the disclosed information as well as news available online. In general, some aspects of corporate culture are regarded as outdated and too bureaucratic. Hence, the “diversity is not as well regarded as is conformity” principle is not suitable for the contemporary market situation. The company is aiming at changing the structure of the company’s culture by employing young and energetic specialists who will be able to maintain these changes. The existing culture prevents the company from making quick and effective decisions that are associated with costs, retail principles, cooperation, supply chain management, etc, while the contemporary market presupposes more aggressive and decisive performance. One of the key points of change strategy is the deeper implementation of IT, as this is regarded as the central and the most effective catalyst for providing changes, especially within younger employees.
The next step is the softening of the secrecy principles. As it is stated by Johnson and Phillips (2003), the P&G CEO clearly realizes that the internet epoch is not able to accept the closeness of the company, while consumers prefer to know as much as possible. As it is emphasized by Johnson and Phillips (2003, p. 291):
The global company is now a vital part of the organization. For example, Gillette’s Himalaya team, a global group based partly in Boston but focused on India, is already charged up. In India, about half of men’s shaves are done in barbershops where barbers break double-sided blades in two and use them repeatedly. While not totally tested, the team’s razor-and-blades innovation, they report, involves simplification to the essential features to do the job, an affordable cost through manufacturing innovations, and a new way to reach lower-income shavers. The quick “to market” strategy may prove to be a huge profit for the organization.
Hence, the changes are required for maintaining the global nature of the company’s performance, as cultural differences of the employees from various departments may violate the proper communication within the company, while new culture would allow overcoming these cultural difficulties.
It has been already emphasized that the company pays particular attention to the unification of the team. Though these attempts are too exaggerated, and employees consider that refusing from the “I” perspective in favor of “We” makes people lose their individuality, which causes the lack of personal initiative. While no room is left for subjectivity, the power of individual decision and initiative is cut off. While for the older generation this may be suitable, ambitious youth is not interested in sacrificing their own ambitions for the sake of outdated traditions. Moreover, the instance of other companies clearly reveals the advantages of individual initiative in comparison with the “we” perspective. While “diversity development” is positioned as one of the key aims in corporate culture changes, the actual situation is closely linked with conformity.
Hence, the employees do not regard the existing culture as a proper motivator that may be used as the key basis for team development. Moreover, this distracts really talented and skilled workers. Actually, this is the only factor that distracts people; though, it is the most powerful simultaneously.
The skills and abilities of the employees are highly valued, and the company encourages elder workers to share their experience with the youth, as traditions of successful business performance need to be saved. However, this sharing is performed through the traditional prism of objectivity, conformity and “we” perspective. On the one hand, this trims the ambitions of the youth and makes them learn to value corporate traditions; on the other hand, it frightens them. Regardless of the fact that these aspects are the principles of a strong culture, the effect of these actions is similar to weak culture, as bureaucracy is inevitable on some stages, and some managers do not consider them the jeopardy for the entire performance.
Additionally, the existing approach does not allow the company to be flexible and responsive within the circumstances of the contemporary market. This is explained by the statement that collective decisions require too much time for conforming, coordinating and implementing, while professional initiative may be helpful in crisis situations.
Recommendations and Risks
Most aspects of corporate culture should be left intact, as these are the key steps of a company’s success; however, the paradigm of the cultural approach should be changed. In accordance with Johnson and Scholes (in Oden, 2006), there are at least six aspects of the corporate culture paradigm:
- Organizational Structure
- Control System
- Power Structure
While the aspects of structure and control do not require any changes, the company needs to pay sufficient attention to rituals, stories, and symbols. This means that if workers have common interests and common conversational topics, the team will be united with friendly ties between the workers, while they will not lose their individuality. Actually, it is not a simple task to create an affinity between two different generations of employees, though, it will be required to create strong links between them. Rituals, in their turn, are based on the formal and informal communication process within the company. The key risks are associated with this component of the cultural paradigm, as informal relations are almost impossible between diverse age groups, and this may cause negligence of cultural traditions if achieved.
Considering leadership as the key aspect of corporate culture and success of the changes performed, it should be stated that the company should reform the control aspects. If the team is diverse, the control should be performed in accordance with the interests and suggestions of all the groups, hence, teams need to have an opportunity of expressing their opinion (including individual suggestions of each member), and be able to oppose management. This will stimulate initiative and provide the required basis for proper changes.
The dimensions of cultural changes are defined by various authors and researchers, though, Hofstede’s system is regarded as the most suitable for the P & G case. The dimensions are as follows:
- Power distance. This defines the power and privileges of graduation. Young and elder age groups should be featured with comparatively equal rights associated with business decisions
- Uncertainty avoidance. The risks should be accepted openly and with joint efforts
- Individualism vs. collectivism. A proper balance should be defined and adjusted within the team, though, high individualism may not necessarily mean low collectivism. CEO and department managerial teams need to realize this principle.
- Masculinity vs. Femininity. There are no problems with this aspect within the P & G team.
The theoretic paradox of the corporate culture measurement is closely linked with the principle of overcoming risks and difficulties when the proper cultural equilibrium is adjusted. This is explained by the statement that regardless of the cultural approaches of the company, the risks of innovative market influence can not be endured (easily) by the company with conservative views, whether these are individualistic or collectivistic views. This means that companies need to search for balance, change the paradigm constantly, and refine cultural adjustments with other dimensions of culture and relations.
Finally, it should be emphasized that the corporate culture within the P & G company is featured with effective principles, though with ineffective and outdated structures. The company makes effective attempts for improving the existing strategy, though, managers need to pay attention to improving the communicational process within the teams.
Johnson, L., & Phillips, B. (2003). Absolute Honesty: Building a Corporate Culture That Values Straight Talk and Rewards Integrity. New York: AMACOM.
Oden, H. W. (2006). Managing Corporate Culture, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
P & G (2010) Company Culture. Diversity. Corporate Info. Web.