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Corporate culture

Find out more about corporate culture or 'the tone at the top' as it also known.

In this section

Articles and features

How to end excessive pay

Excessive pay has been a growing source of public anger in recent years. Despite being snobbishly dismissed as populist prejudices, public perceptions of executive pay practices are largely accurate.

Guidance and reports

How whistleblowing helps companies

The latest ICAEW Connect and Reflect report shows how whistleblowing can help companies and provides an action plan for boards. We explore the five benefits of whistleblowing for companies and then outline the five-point action plan that boards can implement in order to maintain their systems of checks and balances.

Culture and purpose in financial services

Following the 2008 global financial crisis, the financial services industry has come under intense scrutiny. Firms need to boost trust, create socially responsible products and prevent future financial crises. In its latest publication, Culture and purpose in financial services, the Financial Services Faculty recommends actions that the industry, boards and ICAEW Chartered Accountants should be taking

How to Audit Culture

Internal audit will need to be clear how it intends to approach this task. To support auditors, ICAEW’s Internal Audit Panel, part of the Audit and Assurance Faculty, has produced this guidance, which provides practical advice on preparing and conducting an audit of culture. The guide includes eight tips to successfully establish the ‘audit of culture’ as part of internal audit’s core functions and enhance its value to your organisation. It also outlines the benefits of auditing culture.

Webinars and other recordings

The value of having the right culture

Sophie Black, Partner at Mercer and John Davies, Associate Director at EY share their views on the value and importance of culture in an organisation. Both speakers share details of their research into organisational culture and how culture can be measured.

Whistleblowing and fraud

Ian Foxley, whistleblower and Dino Bossi, Addveritas share their views on the benefits of whistleblowing and the system that should be in place to support people.

Managing social media to avoid reputational damage

Jennifer Janson, Six Degrees and Jamie Harley, PwC discuss the potential impact of social media on reputation, how best to manage this risk and use social media to the benefit of the organisation.

Trust in business

Podcast: Hear some insights from a range of different perspectives on this important subject. Learn about the importance of being trustworthy, worker representation at the John Lewis Partnership, the role of the media and the rebuilding of trust by the banks since 2008.


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No small change: why financial services needs a new kind of marketing

This book takes the form of a 13-point practical manifesto arguing that the fast-changing financial services world urgently needs to rethink the whole of its approach to marketing. The thirteen chapters look at the key components of the new approach.

Maintaining an effective board

Chapter 9 looks at the board and good governance, which includes the work of the nomination committee. Board diversity, corporate culture, succession planning and recruitment to the board, director induction and development and board evaluation are all covered.

Effective internal control and risk management

Chapter 10 discusses risk management and business objectives, risk management and organisational culture, the boards responsibility for internal control and risk management, the audit/risk committee and the internal audit function.

Driven to the brink: why corporate governance, board leadership and culture matter

A collection of stories about how inadequate governance and flawed culture caused a massive destruction of shareholder value.

Ideas for leaders collection

A collection of the latest global management and business thinking summarised into straight forward and understandable language.

Creating and implementing an ethics policy

A framework for writing and implementing the best corporate ethics policy for an organisation.

Positive management: increasing employee productivity

People management from a US perspective.

Investor relations

Guide to the duties of modern finance directors. Chapter 16 deals with investor relations, including: shareholder engagement; inside information; corporate ethics and corporate culture and corporate social responsibility.

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The Library & Information Service provides a collection of articles as a benefit of membership. Please log in to view these articles. If you are unable to access the articles, please see our Help and support page or contact library@icaew.com.

5 inconvenient truths about corporate culture, and how they hold you back

Article looks at the boards responsibility for organisational culture and agrees that culture should be a boardroom priority but argues that boards should understand their limitations and avoid obvious pitfalls.

Board problems: with stakeholders’ growing emphasis on corporate culture, boards could benefit from ethics expertise

The author asks whether companies need more ethics and compliance officers on board audit committees if better ethics and moral responsibility are required by society

Culture and boards

This article explores the relationship between corporate culture and long-term sustainable value, and ideas for boards to measure, evaluate and oversee the culture and evolving attendant risks.

How can boards effectively oversee organizational culture?

The article offers information on the role of board of directors in organization culture. Topics discussed include important role in understanding and monitoring culture; views on the decision-making attitudes of boards; and employee surveys and exit interviews helps boards to oversee organizational culture effectively. It also mentions role of directors in resolving cultural issues.

Terms of use: You are permitted to access articles subject to the terms of use set by our suppliers and any restrictions imposed by individual publishers. Please see individual supplier pages for full terms of use.

Useful links

Governing culture: practical considerations for the board and its committees

11 page paper from EY that looks into the role of boards and committees in governing culture. Separate sections look at the Nomination Committee, Remuneration Committee and Audit Committee and give questions on culture for each committees' reflection, as well as the board itself.

Corporate Governance Review

Grant Thornton's review of the annual reports of 297 of the UK’s FTSE 350 companies with years ending between April 2017 and April 2018. The section on culture looks at board leadership and company purpose, 'the Tone from the top' and measuring culture . A toolkit for culture reporting is included.

Governing culture: risk & opportunity

The guide highlights the difference between the role of the board and the role of the executive team in leading and managing culture, looks at questions that boards might ask of themselves and of their executive and offers a ‘roadmap’ to help boards assess their approach is to governing culture.

Stakeholder engagement: values, business culture and society

This report, part of the FRC's Culture Coalition project, considers the implications for boards and top management s in their approach to stakeholders and how boards set the tone with regard to values.

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