Corporate culture: Changing board responsibilities and changing governance rhetoric

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRAIS Conference Proceedings
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2018
Event11th International RAIS Conference on Social Sciences - John Hopkins University, Montgomery County Campus, United States
Duration: 19 Nov 201820 Nov 2018


Conference11th International RAIS Conference on Social Sciences
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMontgomery County Campus
Internet address


  • Corporate Culture
  • Responsibility
  • Directors
  • Governance
  • Volkswagen
  • Law and Management


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