Quotes About Organizational Culture Essay

25 Aug 2015 / by Cassie Paton / inInternal Communications

37 Company Culture Quotes That Will Inspire Your Team

Any effective leader knows his or her company’s success depends upon not just a vision or product, but the people who carry out the vision and build the product day in and day out – their employees. That’s why the most successful companies foster cultures that allow their employees to thrive and grow.

We’ve rounded up some insights from great minds that drive home the importance of having a happy, empowered, curious and mission-driven team. Here are 37 company culture quotes that will inspire you to think about how culture makes the company.

“Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing.”

– HubSpot’s Culture code

“Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.”

– Brian Chesky, Co-Founder, CEO, Airbnb

“We try to have the kind of a culture that doesn’t value excuses in the sense that when you’re supposed to accomplish something, and you’re at a high level, then your job is to accomplish it, in spite of difficulty. And you’re rewarded for dealing with that.”

– Phil Libin, Co-Founder, former CEO of Evernote

“We have a culture where we are incredibly self critical, we don’t get comfortable with our success.”

– Mark Parker, CEO, Nike

“I look for two things when I hire a new employee: ambition and humility. Without a proven track record of initiative and ambition, it’s likely the person becomes a drain rather than a contributor to the company – even the really smart, talented ones.”

– Justin McLeod, Founder, CEO, Hinge

“Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.”

– Brian Kristofek, President and CEO, Upshot

“I think as a company, if you can get those two things right — having a clear direction on what you are trying to do and bringing in great people who can execute on the stuff — then you can do pretty well.”

– Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook

“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”

– Simon Sinek, author, Start with Why

“We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.”

– Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos

“Hire great people and give them freedom to be awesome.”

– Andrew Mason, Founder, Groupon

“Assume the best but hire paranoid people.”

– Evan Williams, Co-Founder, Twitter

“Determine what behaviors and beliefs you value as a company, and have everyone live true to them. These behaviors and beliefs should be so essential to your core, that you don’t even think of it as culture.”

– Brittany Forsyth, VP of Human Relations, Shopify

“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”

– Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

“I think a large part of that is the fact that I’m a large believer in hiring the right people and giving them unbelievable amounts of power and autonomy.”

– Blake Mycoskie, Founder, TOMS Shoes

“Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur.”

– David Cummings, Co-Founder, Pardot

“Transparency starts as a mindset change.”

– Kevan Lee, Content Crafter, Buffer

“Everyone on the team plays an equal role. My role is to create the wave and everyone on our team keeps the wave going.”

– William Wang, Founder, Vizio

“There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.”

– Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group

“I used to believe that culture was ‘soft,’ and had little bearing on our bottom line. What I believe today is that our culture has everything to do with our bottom line, now and into the future.”

– Vern Dosch, author, Wired Differently


“Performance more often comes down to a cultural challenge, rather than simply a technical one.”

– Lara Hogan, Senior Engineering Manager of Performance, Etsy

“You want to set goals that you can hit, so when you start hitting them, you can celebrate those wins. People start trusting in your way of projecting the business.”

– Wiley Cerilli, Founder, former CEO of SinglePlatform

“Shaping your culture is more than half done when you hire your team.”

– Jessica Herrin, Founder, Stella & Dot

“One of our values is that you should be looking out for each other. Everyone should try to make the lives of everyone else who works here a little bit simpler.”

– Stewart Butterfield, Founder, Slack

“It’s important for us to create a culture of innovation—one that both values and rewards risk.”

– Barbara Landes, CFO, PBS

“Over the years we learned that if we asked people to rely on logic and common sense instead of on formal policies, most of the time we would get better results, and at lower cost.”

– Patty McCord, Chief Talent Officer, Netflix

“Our secret weapon for building the best culture is open and honest feedback.”

– Gina Lau, Team Operations, HelloSign

“It’s about getting the best people, retaining them, nurturing a creative environment & helping to find a way to innovate.”

– Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo

“Ultimately, it’s on the company leaders to set the tone,” Cook told Fast Company. “Not only the CEO, but the leaders across the company. If you select them so carefully that they then hire the right people, it’s a nice self-fulfilling prophecy.”

– Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

“Our culture is friendly and intense, but if push comes to shove we’ll settle for intense.”

– Jeff Bezos, Founder, CEO, Amazon

“Company Culture is the product of a company’s values, expectations and environment.”

– Courtney Chapman, Product Manager, Rubicon Project

“We believe in relentlessly refining our skills and knowledge, as a team and as individuals.”

– Liz Liu, Head of Culture, Scopely

“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”

– Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks

“Make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, has a meaningful impact and is contributing to the good of society.”

– Larry Page, CEO, Google

“If we really want to be effective with communication, we have to humanize our brands.”

– Amy Jo Martin, Founder, CEO, Digital Royalty

“Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”

– Anne M. Mulcahy, CEO, Xerox

“If you want employees to feel appreciated, you need to celebrate their achievements regularly and publicly.”

– Logan Green, Co-Founder, Lyft

“The way I think about culture is that modern humans have radically changed the way that they work and the way that they live. Companies need to change the way they manage and lead to match the way that modern humans actually work and live.”

– Brian Halligan, CEO, Hubspot

Want more inspiration for your team? Download our Company Culture Cookbook, with 33 can’t-fail recipes for a happier and more productive team!


Enplug digital signage software was co-founded by CEO Nanxi Liu and CTO Tina Denuit-Wojcik in 2012 to enable organizations to use customized real-time streaming content to create engaging external and internal communications.

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About Enplug Digital Signage Software

Enplug digital signage makes it simple for businesses to create and share compelling visual content for their marketing and employee communications. Our software powers content on thousands of TVs worldwide with news feeds, social media walls, sports scores, employee leaderboards, graphics, and videos. Enplug was founded in 2012 in Los Angeles, California.


Organizational Culture

What is Organizational Culture?

Organizational culture is a set of shared values, the unwritten rules which are often taken for granted, that guide the employees towards acceptable and rewarding behavior.  

The organizational culture exists at two distinct levels, visible and hidden. The visible aspect of the organization is reflected in artifacts, symbols and visible behavior of employees. The hidden aspect is related to underlying values and assumptions that employees make regarding the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

  1. Artifacts: These are visible components of culture, they are easy to formulate, have some physical shape, yet its perception varies from one individual to another.
    1. Rituals and ceremonies: New hire trainings, new hire welcome lunches, annual corporate conferences, awards, offsite meetings and trainings are few examples of most common rituals and ceremonies.
    2. Symbols & Slogans: These are high level abstraction of the culture; they effectively summarize organization’s intrinsic behavior. Symbols are rituals, awards or incentives that symbolize preferred behavior; “employee of the month” is one such example of a symbol. Slogans are linguistic phrases that are intended for the same reason, “customer first” is an example of corporate slogan.
    3. Stories: These are narratives based on true events, but often exaggerated as it told from old to new employees. The stories of the organization’s founders or other dominant leaders are the most common ones, the challenges they had faced and how they dealt with those hurdles etc. In some form, these are stories of the organization’s heroes, employees relate the current system due to events that had happened in the past and stories are the medium that carries the legacies.
  • Values: These are conscious and affective desires of the organization, the kind of behavior it wants to promote and reward. Usually every organization sells its cultural values through some artifacts like written symbols or slogans and publishes them in various mediums. However, the true values can only be tested within the organization, through the employees, based on their collective opinion about the experience of the values
    • Ethics: It is the code of moral principals and values that distinguishes the right behavior from wrong. Ethical values are different from rule of law which is dictated by the legal system of the country and have to be followed anyway. However, the laws themselves are based on some moral principles and thus there is some natural overlap between ethics and the laws. The geographic location of the organization and the culture of the place also influence the ethics, this is particularly important for multi-national organization.
      Irrespective how an organization depicts its ethical values, they can be tested by the two criteria.
      • Commitment: Whether the organization views its employees as resources required for business activities or it intends to invest in long term relationship with its employees; reflects the organization’s commitment to its employees. Commitment can be in various forms, maternity leave, life-work balance, unpaid leaves, it’s strategies for downsizing or globalization; are some examples.
      • Career: The ethical values are also echoed in organization’s interest and investment in the career development of its employees. Whether it values specialization and narrow career paths that runs the risk of being outdated along with technology or it values broad skill development and offers training in new technologies at its own cost.
    • Empowerment: The social culture and the structure of the organization influences the underlying values related to the amount of employee empowerment.
      • Control/Decision: Management by nature is about control, the difference is how it enforces it. Well defined guidance, job description and authority of taking decisions are formal methods of control, while team or collective decision making is a social or cultural method of control. The functional or divisional structure encourages formal control while process or network structures promote a culture of employee empowerment.
      • Responsibility: The authority of decision making is closely related to issue of responsibilities. The culture of responsibility is measured by observing whether the individuals are expected to take responsibility of their decisions or there is a collective responsibility in case of team decisions.
  • Assumptions: Both the artifacts and the values give rise to assumptions the employees make about the organization's culture. Finally, it’s the assumptions that govern how an employee determines the right behavior and feels about his job and career, how the culture actually operates within the organizational system.
    • Failures: The implication of failure is the most influential assumption that every employee derives from all the artifacts, stories, myths and values. The fear of failure and how it would be perceived determines the actual empowerment felt by the employee; the stated values vs. practiced factuality.

Foundation of the Organizational Culture

Organizations are mini social systems that are less complex than their counterparts at city or national level. The foundation of the organizational culture is also rooted in three distinct social entities, anthropology, sociology and psychology.

  1. Anthropological: It uses the physical artifacts like symbols, stories and values to study the cultural viewpoint of the employees who practice it, and how it adds meaning to their jobs.
  2. Sociological: It is a study of the different group behaviors in the organization, their causes and their consequences on its culture. The method of the study comprises of identifying certain key attributes and then quantifying them using questionnaires, surveys and interviews.
  3. Psychological: It is study of factors that influence the individual’s behavior. The key difference from sociology is that it is behavioral analysis at individual level rather than application of psychology on a social system. How a person behaves individually can be quite different from how he behaves in a group. As an example, humans by nature use statistical knowledge in making decisions, however they apply it rather poorly. The last positive or negative outcome influences our decision more than statistical average; such observations can be used effectively in growing a desired culture.

What Influences Organizational Culture?

The culture is influenced by the other entire contextual dimensions; purpose, environment, technology & size. Thus it is futile to expect or create a culture that is not aligned to these factors.. A lot of studies on organizational culture have been wrongly focused only on analyzing the organization behavior and its contributions to organization’s effectiveness. However, the culture is not a separate, self sufficient entity in itself, but rather one part of a whole.

Types of Organizational Cultures

In case of organizational design, while the contextual dimensions define the structure; the culture should aim at providing adequate reinforcement to the structure. The organizational culture can be accessed by evaluating the contextual factors and the structural dimensions. In some way, one can argue that the study of organization’s structural design itself is indicative of type of culture it has, after all the culture is a consequence of how the organization is controlled and what influences its operations. It should also be noted that in large organizations, different functional units might have or require different type of cultures.

There are four most common and identifiable types of organizational cultures:

  • Entrepreneurial: The organization has purpose of differentiation, it strives for innovation and competition, it requires research & development and its size is rather small, its control structure is horizontal. The culture encourages risk taking, values new ideas, is quick to detect and react to external changes and rewards ingenuity.
  • Market: The organization has clear financial & sales goals and is focused on customer satisfaction. The external environment is not rapidly changing, is stable but demands efficiency, the control structural can be either horizontal & hierarchical.  The organizational culture is competitive and demanding, success is measured by market share and penetration.   
  • Clan: It is aimed at efficiency and has internal focus, it encourages employee participation, and it values and often prides itself by taking exceptional care of its employees, just like a clan. It values employee empowerment by having a horizontal structure and creates a strong sense of identity in its employees.The clan leadership has strong concern for people, they value loyalty and traditions.
  • Bureaucratic: It operates in a stable environment and has a hierarchal control structure; the organization has a lot of processes, rules and policies that guide the day to day operations.The leadership is focused on efficiency, predictability and low cost.

Why we need Organizational Culture?

  1. Common Identity: The culture gives a sense of collective identity to all the employees in the organization, it creates values and beliefs that go beyond the personal aspirations of the employees.
  2. Guidance: The culture creates good working relationships and promotes ethical communication between employees. It also helps employees in making decisions in the situations where there are no formal rules or policies, situations that haven’t been experienced yet.
  3. Justification of actions: The culture evolves from prior precedences, when employee behavior and decisions are guided by the culture, their actions are better understood by the management. 

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