Corporate Culture Exercise (2 1/2-4 pages)
Fill in the following rubric (use both the write-up and the pictures):
JUST ANSWER THE QUESTIONS COMPLETELY, NOT AN ESSAY
1. What is the name, location, type of business, and business structure (privately held, stock
held, profit, non-profit).
2. What is the goal (driving force) of the business; what do the owners want as their return?
(remember for-profit businesses’ goal is not to serve customers. That is perhaps part of
3. What elements of appearance and physical setting, including traffic pattern do you see in
the pictures and from the write-up? 3a. What does this tell you about the goals of the business,
whom management values, etc.? 4. What does the company say about itself (this is ad slogans or
which groups they support) and what does that tell you about what management thinks is
5. How does the company greet strangers and what does that tell you about what
management thinks is important?
6. How are people compensated and what does that tell you about what management thinks
7. What do employees say about their workplace (interviews) and what does that tell you
about what management thinks is important?
8. How do employees and managers people spend their time, how do they dress and what
does that tell you about what management thinks is important?
9. Do you see any glass ceilings to promotion and success (that is, where you see people
like yourself (at all?; in what jobs?; how often promoted?)? This is about prejudice.
10. What is their business strategy (model) to succeed?
11. What is their strategy in dealing with employees to make sure they succeed according to
their business model?
United Charities: “United We Stand”
United Charities is a non-profit organization that was founded by Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the
President Franklin Roosevelt, in 1950. Her idea was that if one could put together lots of people who
support lots of charities, it may be possible to raise even more money than the individual charities
alone. One could also minimize administrative costs of having many separate charities. Many specific
charities like the March of Dimes, the Heart Association, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, etc. went their own
way as separate organizations, so United Charities began to concentrate more on funding smaller
community-based arts and social welfare agencies in each of the cities where they have an office.
The goal of the company is to raise as much money as possible and create vital links to local charitable
organizations. Their focus is therefore two interrelated activities. They need people who are
committed, energetic, and are good communicators. They are the key to the success of both aspects of
the organization’s activities. A lot of volunteers in each community are recruited to help in meeting
their goals. At the same time, the complexity of the organization requires some experienced managers.
United Charities therefore has a young, diverse Board of Trustees (Directors) drawn from each of the
cities where the organization operates.
The home office or corporate headquarters is a building outside of Washington DC in Bethesda,
Maryland (see pictures below). It is there that overall plans are hatched, financial auditing functions are
carried out, and organizers for campaigns nation-wide and especially in the local areas are located. The
building is laid out, so that people of every job description interact. The CEO spends as much time in the
general office (“the pen”) as in his modest office (see picture page). He and the female CFO are
expected to encourage all the workers.
The Board judges the performance of the
home office staff, including the C(hief)
E(xecutive) Officer and C(hief) F(inancial)
O(fficer), based on annual fund-raising
goals, and outside assessments of the
effectiveness of the programs they fund.
The home office is an incredibly busy
place. The general office workers are in
the “pen” where they are constantly on
the phone or on their computers writing
reports, e-mailing local centers, or
creating new pitches for funds. Often they and the small manager corps go out to various locations
where their branches are found. Creativity is highly valued. Formal meetings of the CEO, CFO and
managers happen in the Conference Room, but they have created an “Incubator” where any
combination of general staff, local staff, even volunteers, can meet in small groups and work on new
ideas. There is a general lunchroom (above) where all the employees eat and interact. The CEO is often
seen dining with staff and volunteers. The Board also created a nice lounge where employees can take
breaks and get a nice cup of coffee, tea, or a fruit smoothie.
Since a lot of people from the community and local centers visit, the reception area is open and
welcoming. Two receptionists, who tend to be more senior office workers, rotate daily. They are there
to help visitors find the right place to go, and work in pairs, so they can escort visitors to their
Because the Boards has such high expectations, they feel that working together means there should be
great rewards and not too much of a gap between the salary and benefits of the general workers, the
few managers, and the CEO and CFO. They all get the same gold standard health plan, child care benefit,
and contributions to their 401 (c) (3) retirement savings plan. Everyone gets a base salary. The average
general worker earns $50,000, the managers $70,000, and the CEO and CFO $300,000. Depending on
how well an employee meets their performance goals these figures can increase significantly. The
average general worker gets a bonus of $3,000 each year, CEO and CFO can almost double their salaries.
If targets have not been met, however, no bonuses are given.
Employees tend to like working there. One said, “it is such a great set of causes, and they make it feel
more like a family than a big hierarchical company. The pay is good.” Others, however, complained that
the annual targets were set too high, so that most years they do not get a bonus at all. The work is
really intense and tiring. Another complained that there was too much traveling. One general office
worker said the only way to be promoted is to go to one of the local centers, but she did not want to
pull her kids out of a school they really enjoy.