Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Do You Work In a “Just Make the Date” Culture?

Chapter 6:  Corporate Culture -The Invisible Hand of the Company Part 2

Last post talked about the impact of corporate culture on my decisions leading a team that launched a product way before it was ready.  We had a “make the date” culture, and there was not much room for dissent. Of course none of this absolves me of responsibility for the choices I made.  I also don’t want to make this seem like a bigger deal than it was.  I don’t think I or anyone else at the company was involved in the types of major ethical lapses that one reads about on Wall Street or in the Enron case.  This was more of the garden variety business as, if not quite usual, certainly not all that unusual.

In this chapter, I will be writing about the influence of corporate culture on a lifestyle of corporate idolatry.  And my decision to give blind obedience to the company certainly fits that definition.  As you may remember from Chapter 3, the major drivers of unethical behavior at work are unethical people, challenging circumstances, and an unethical corporate culture.  And the drivers of corporate idolatry are similar, people (Chapter 4), circumstances (Chapter 5) and corporate culture (here in Chapter 6.)

According to a survey by the American Management Association, 70% of respondents said that “pressure to meet unrealistic business objectives/deadlines” was one of the top three reasons for unethical conduct, which far outpaced the second most common answer, “desire to further one’s career” at 39% and “to protect one’s livelihood” at 34%.[i]   Another survey, meeting deadlines was second to the need to “follow the bosses directive.”

These answers have one thing in common – compliance, either to the peer pressure of culture, or to the manager.

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[i] The Ethical Enterprise: A global Study of Business Ethics 2005-2015 (2005) American Management Association. http://www.amanet.org/HREthicsSurvey06.pdf  P 5

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