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Corporate Culture: Changing Board Responsibilities and Changing Governance Rhetoric

Alice Belcher ()
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Alice Belcher: University of Dundee

No 01AB, Working papers from Research Association for Interdisciplinary Studies

Abstract: The UK’s Financial Reporting Council is telling directors that they should not wait for a crisis before they focus on company culture. The board must set culture, embed it, assess it and report on it. This paper traces the company’s formal legal liability for corporate culture as imposed in Australia and the UK and investigates the new focus on corporate culture in the wake of some notable corporate crises. It uses the Volkswagen emissions scandal as an example of cultural misalignment where the company and individual employees below board level (rather than a board collectively, or board members individually) have been the ones to be found liable despite the increase in rhetoric about the directors’ responsibility for corporate culture. This critique is put into the context of decades of Management research in the field of Corporate Culture that has produced theory, empirical results and an array of practitioner tools, but has also ignited debates so intense as to be labeled the culture wars. The paper points up the care that will be needed as legal liability for corporate culture increases before there is a consensus among management scholars on what it means and how it can be measured or assessed.

Keywords: Corporate Culture; Directors; Governance; Law and Management; Responsibility; Volkswagen (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-11
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Published in Proceedings of the 11th International RAIS Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities, November 19-20, 2018, pages 1-7

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