Thanks Long for taking the time to post your perspective on the issue I raised around corporate culture... and how to articulate or assess it. Here is Long's post on how to assess corporate culture, using an example close to my heart... Microsoft:
Let’s take Microsoft for example. At first, I would use Wikipedia to get a rough picture of the company. I choose Wikipedia because it is easily accessible and fairly unbiased, however it is still mostly an external viewpoint from people outside of Microsoft so it’s not in-depth enough alone.
Not that I’d only look at three resources, but in conclusion, people is the key. Whether its past or current employees, these people would know the culture more than anyone else. So I’ll definitely try my hardest to get in touch with them, whether through email, instant messaging or even phone calls, talking to these people would give me the best insight into the corporate culture of the company.
Of course nothing beats experiencing it yourself. Getting a tour or starting an internship at the organisation would be better than all of the above, obviously a lot harder too.
Great post Long! But I think you have raised some more questions than answers!
Microsoft is a special case, they have blogger bandwidth. Thanks to the wisdom of crowds, you can get a feel for the corporate culture. The good and the bad (Mini-Microsoft is the perfect example of keeping the balance). But with thousands of bloggers you are still only getting a feel for the culture... So trying to articulate your organisations culture with a handful of bloggers might be a tough job. And if you pull it off, it is still only a feel for what the culture is.
Long I think you hit the nail on the head... experience is still really the only way to assess it. The internship example you gave is great. From my personal experience I can tell you that the culture at Microsoft IS DIFFERENT to what is depicted in the blogosphere (some things better, some things worse). I could get a feel from blogs and talking to people, but I didn't know for sure until I took the plunge!
What if you are not assessing corporate culture for employment... what if you are assessing corporate culture as part of a purchasing decision between several suppliers. Is it any different to choosing an employer? All other factors being equal, how would you use corporate culture to differentiate between the good and bad? As a marketer, how do you articulate your corporate culture to ensure you stand out from your competitors in a competition intense market?
Does it all just come down to "Gut Feel"?
I think I just opened another can of worms... any takers for this conundrum?