Corporate values are a set of principles that contribute to the achievement of the organization’s goals. Along with the mission, corporate ideals distinguish the company from competitors, set the criteria for productive work, and form a reputation. The culture consists of two levels: surface with visible symbols and underlying values. Whereas an outsider can identify visual cultural elements, other values are difficult to analyze without experience working in the company. According to Daft, an outsider can interpret culture by observing artifacts. They are challenging to decipher, and a person should be an insider to understand what a particular ceremony or behavior means in the organization. Thus, understanding underlying values requires profound analysis, sometimes accompanied by presence in the workplace or conversation with employees.
However, the level of clarity depends on the company’s positioning. For instance, there is an example of a company with an evident culture – Starbucks. This organization is considered one of the most popular coffee companies around the world. As a result, there is a massive amount of literature and insights about the work in the company. Cultural values can be identified with 70% of accuracy. Based on books about Starbucks’ success and its corporate culture, an outsider can make assumptions about the organization’s values. For example, the company strives to create a culture of independence that would allow partners at all levels to make decisions related to their work. The mission is to empower everyone to bring their unique perspective, and skills to their work. These values can be understood without being an insider of the organization. Moreover, the cafes and shops are accessible to observe the actual work by visiting these places.
Nevertheless, it has some limitations; some underlying beliefs can be learned only during the onboarding process. Underlying cultural values are incorporated into the management training process. While hiring new employees, the company provides an opportunity for a trial period. During this time, workers can learn by analyzing symbols, ceremonies, and behavior. After the period, HR decides whether new employees have displayed a commitment to cultural values. Nevertheless, even though underlying values are hard to discern, visible ones reflect deeper values in organization members. Therefore, the most important is the corporate value, which determines the critical difference between the company and its competitors.