The rise of the chief culture officer


Many companies are seeing that “macroeconomic pressures have created a dysfunctional culture, one that is not supporting business performance moving forward,” and now, they are trying to figure out how keep their culture from spinning out of control.

One way to do this is to bring someone into the C-Suite whose job it is to keep an eye on culture. The best-known example of this approach is Google, which added “chief culture officer” to head of HR Stacy Sullivan’s job title in 2006. Part of her job is to protect key parts of Google’s scrappy, open-source cultural core as the company has evolved into a massive multinational.

Story length: 849 words

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2 thoughts on “The rise of the chief culture officer

  1. This article seems to emphasis the culture around the customer experience and does not address the employee’s experience. What about creating a corporate culture that values the employee as well?

    1. You’re right, Loren. This story, and the phenomenon it highlights, speaks to the conventional “corporate culture” literature (your Deal & Kennedy stuff), where culture is to be “managed” and “handled,” even “protected,” as this story mentions. Culture here is not so much emergent, as it is “manufactured” and branded, top down rather than bottom up. The interesting part, of course, would be to trace the overlaps and breaks between top-down and bottom-up culture.

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