Standard Article

Corporate Culture

  1. Kenneth E. Goodpaster

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee299

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Goodpaster, K. E. 2013. Corporate Culture. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


The phrase “corporate culture” is used in a more general sense to mean the culture of any organized group or institution. In a narrower sense, “corporate culture” refers to the culture of a business corporation. In most contexts, however, the two senses are interchangeable. A corporation's culture impacts its behavior in significant ways, as much as if not more than strategy, which is often thought to be overriding in decision-making. The subject of corporate culture, however, goes beyond the debate over which is more important. The 2009 National Business Ethics Survey reflects the ethics component of culture. Its results show that an ethical corporate culture “continues to have a profound impact on pressure, observed misconduct, reporting of observed misconduct, and rates of retaliation against reporters” (Ethics Resource Center 2009). It also found that “actions and perceptions of top managers drive the ethical culture of the company and have a significant impact on outcomes.”


  • business ethics;
  • culture;
  • practical (applied) ethics;
  • socialization;
  • conscience