Boards and culture

The culture imperative

To help guide directors in their role overseeing corporate culture, the Institute of Corporate directors convened four Advisory Committee meetings across Canada with experienced board members. Several key insights were gathered from the roundtable discussions and are presented here on three important aspects of cultural oversight:
  • The interdependence of culture and strategy
  • Understanding your organization’s culture
  • Measuring and governing culture for effective ongoing oversight


Read the full report on The Culture Imperative




Additional resources on cultural oversight

  • As we've seen in the headlines, corporate culture is front and center for companies, shareholders, regulators, employees, and customers.
  • This report seeks to address how boards and executive management can steer corporate behaviour to create a culture that will deliver sustainable good performance.  
  • Corporate culture is a business issue for companies and their boards. The new generation of workers weighs workplace culture when choosing their jobs, and the protracted low rates of unemployment have added fuel to the talent war.
  • Oversight of culture is a growing priority in the boardroom. Here are ways boards can challenge and support management in realizing the company culture’s value.
  • An organisation’s culture – collective behaviours driven by a set of norms and values that directly impact decision making – is central to the quality of contemporary governance. It’s inextricably linked to questions of right and wrong and reframes compliance-oriented “can we?” questions into ethically-weighted “should we?” questions. 
  • With no shortage of corporate crises in the headlines, now more than ever boards need to recognize that they play a key role in overseeing the cultural tone
  • Simple metrics that demonstrate momentum are key to turning good intentions into replicable business results.
  • There’s no shortage of theories as to what exactly comprises culture. It’s both the tone at the top and the mood in the middle.
  • Strategy and culture are among the primary levers at top leaders’ disposal in their never-ending quest to maintain organizational viability and effectiveness. 
  • At its best, corporate culture supports a company in delivering on its strategy. But a bad corporate culture can seriously damage your company’s brand.
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ICD Education
Board oversight of culture

The Board Oversight of Culture (BOC) course is ideal for boards of directors of for-profit, Crown and not-for-profit organizations who want to improve oversight of culture for a healthy and productive workplace