Why it’s time boards faced up to the corporate culture challenge

by Sir Win Bischoff for City A.M.

CULTURE in UK business came under the spotlight in 2014, as executive remuneration, market manipulation, supplier arrangements and so on drew comment and criticism. Where does the responsibility lie for ensuring ethical corporate behaviour, and who is accountable when culture is found to be at fault?

The Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) 2014 revision of the UK Corporate Governance Code requires the board to set the appropriate “tone from the top”. This means establishing the “culture” – the values and principles that direct how the company behaves – and ensuring that this culture is followed throughout. During 2015, the FRC will work with a wide range of stakeholders to gather practical insight into this area.

Culture is not an easy concept. It’s the sum of knowledge, beliefs, values and experiences acquired by a group of people over a period of time through living or working together. Relating that to a corporate setting, where every company is different and cultures might need to be established or changed within a specific timetable, brings added complexity. This is one reason why the UK corporate governance framework offers important flexibility in terms of developing sound company culture. Read more here.

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