Corporate Culture and Strategy: How One Influences, Affects and Determines the Other

Aks Zaheer – University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management

Corporate or organizational culture, the system of informal norms, values, beliefs, expectations and behaviors operating in an organization, is perhaps the most powerful influence on an organization’s (whether a business or a non-profit organization) strategic direction and the successful achievement of its chosen strategy. Yet culture is poorly understood, little appreciated, and most importantly, its significant role in enabling or constraining strategy mostly ignored. How do we begin to make sense of this key phenomenon and its connection with an organization’s strategy?


In this presentation, we will explore the phenomenon of organizational culture, from its creation in an organization to its evolution, and most critically, understand how organizations can work with culture to enhance the success of their strategy. Specifically, we will cover the following areas:

  • The role of culture in organizational contexts
  • Dimensions of culture
  • Behavioral biases and culture
  • How culture influences strategy
  • National culture and why it matters
  • Changing organizational culture