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July 25, 2017 | Brett Humphrey

The Origins of Culture

Where does your company's culture come from?

I had an interesting conversation with our HR manager the other day about how our company's culture was created and cultivated. She claimed that culture begins and ends with upper management — that culture was purely a function of the top brass, whose direction determined how it evolved. This struck me as odd, and for someone I rarely disagree with I was surprised to hear her say this so matter-of-factly. I think I always assumed that at most companies the management team was at best an well-intentioned impedance to a genuinely enjoyable company culture. Sure, the brass can institute corporate-mandated fun or other culture-rific policies, but it is my belief that the actual core culture of a company — it's soul — grows more organically based on the personalities of the people who work there.

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