How Values Affect Corporate Culture

By now, most people have heard about Greg Smith, the former Goldman Sachs vice president who resigned in a searing article on the New York Time’s op-ed page. The former investment banker has been making news again this week following the release of a book detailing his experiences at the storied firm.

In his op-ed article, Smith leveled intense charges against the firm’s corporate culture, calling it toxic and destructive, and said that the firm promoted morally bankrupt people.

Although there is a fair amount of question regarding his allegations, Smith’s article and subsequent interviews bring up an interesting topic – the effect of leaders’ values on corporate culture. From Apple to Zappos, there are hundreds of examples of the positive effect a CEO can have on his or her company’s culture. Unfortunately, there are just as many about what happens when that effect takes a dark turn.

For more about how leaders’ values can affect company culture, check out Eric Sinoway’s recent blog on the Harvard Business Review, or take a look at our whitepapers The Power of Unconscious Biases and The Culture Clash.