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Corporate governance 2017

Building blocks of corporate culture

Corporate culture is receiving increased regulatory attention as a foundation of good governance. But what do we mean by ‘culture’? And how as a business community do we define corporate culture and the elements that create it? In our latest report, we outline some practical recommendations for boards to consider so they can play an even more effective role in fostering a successful culture - both today and in the future.


Across the EU the number one action being taken by boards when it comes to culture is considering the culture of business customers. This suggests boards are keen to ensure that the culture they set for themselves is not just authentic, but will also resonate with the businesses who will end up buying their products or services. This is reinforced by the top factors boards in Europe see as critical to their reputation: the quality of their products and services, and customer service. Elsewhere, despite the fact that 61% of boards across the EU are establishing internal controls to address culture, in two of its biggest economies the picture is somewhat different. A far smaller proportion are taking this step in Germany (50%) and France (39%). Notably, the step being taken most by boards in Europe when it comes to culture, considering the culture of customers, is cited by 62% of respondents. Globally, this stands at 71%; in North America it’s 75% and in Asia Pacific it’s 74%.

So why is the top figure so much lower in Europe? Are European boards simply doing less than their counterparts in other regions when it comes to culture?