Developing and Maintaining Culture

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss organizations’ methods for developing and maintaining culture

The last section examined a number of internal factors that influence organizational culture. But how do organizations manage these factors? While some examples were discussed in the last section, there are other documents and procedures organizations can use to develop and nurture their culture. This section will explore a variety of methods organizations should use to create a foundation for a strong company culture.

Vision Statement

An organization’s vision statement is a broad explanation of what the organization aspires to be. This is not the time to provide detailed goals or explanations but rather a way to inspire employees and customers alike to be a part of the journey. Vision statements are directional and should give insight into where the company is heading. Check out the examples below to gain a better understanding of the broad yet inspiring nature of visions statement:[1]

  • Google: To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
  • AirBnB: Tapping into the universal human yearning to belong—the desire to feel welcomed, respected, and appreciated for who you are, no matter where you might be.
  • Toyota: To be the most successful and respected car company in America.
  • Southwest: To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline

Mission Statement

There is a common misconception that vision and mission statements are the same thing. However, unlike vision statement, mission statements should clearly define the purpose of your organization. Mission statements focus on what the organization needs to do in order to achieve their vision. While the vision and mission statement work together, the vision statement is broader and focuses on the future whereas the mission statement is more specific and focuses on the now. Below are mission statements from the same four companies we discussed earlier. Compare the vision and mission statements to see how they are closely associated yet different all together:[2]

  • Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • AirBnb: Belong anywhere.
  • Toyota: To attract and attain customers with high-valued products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America.
  • Southwest: The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.

Both vision and mission statements mold organizational culture and provide parameters and goals for employees and leaders to work towards.

Code of Ethics/Values Statement

Code of ethics and values statement are used interchangeably. The purpose of a code of ethics is to clearly outline acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Providing behavioral guidelines for employees helps companies align their teams and streamline their processes. A code of ethics also helps to ensure every member of an organization is acting ethically and maintaining the organization’s brand.

In addition to setting guidelines, a strong code of ethics should clearly explain how the organization plans to enforce it. The code of conduct should be followed and exemplified in every level of an organization. There should be audits in place to check for ethical behavior and correct any unethical actions immediately. This audit system should be unbiased and consistent. If something is considered a violation of the code of ethics, it is a violation no matter who commits it. Consistency and follow-through are essential to creating a strong and ethical culture.

A vision statement, mission statement, and values statement all work together to align an organization. These three pieces play a crucial role in outlining acceptable behavior and outlining organizational goals. Without these three things, an organization would fracture and fall apart.

Policies & Procedures

Policies and procedures differ from one workplace to the next. Simply put, policies and procedures are created to streamline processes and outline expectations. These can be specific to certain departments or job titles and should be a framework for employees to abide by. While the code of ethics primarily focuses on ethical and unethical behavior, policies and procedures focuses on how to complete important job functions. Watch the video below to better understand why policies and procedures are so important!

Practice Question


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  1. Skrabanek, Britt. "Difference Between Vision and Mission Statements: 25 Examples." ClearVoice. August 19, 2018. Accessed April 24, 2019.
  2. Ibid.