Culture and channelling corporate behaviour

Back in 2014 ACCA and the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) completed an ambitious research project investigating perceptions of corporate culture and its links to dysfunctional behaviour in organisations. This updated article now contains the fourth and final research report.

Cover of members survey results report


This final instalment of ACCA's project 'Culture and channelling corporate behaviour' contains the results from the ACCA member survey.

It supports the ethos that 'tone at the top' is the most influential driver of corporate behaviour across all age groups, geographic locations and sectors. Financial and non-financial incentives come second, followed by rules and procedures and personal agendas.

About the research

The global financial crash of 2008 highlighted the limitation of rules and regulation in facilitating functional behaviours at work. Many as a result came to the conclusion that poor corporate cultures had been a root cause of much wrongdoings leading up to the crisis.

To provide boards with tangible guidance on culture and the drivers of corporate behaviours, ACCA conducted a one-year international study based on a review of the existing literature in organisational science (Appendix 1); we hosted roundtable discussions with over 150 representatives internationally (Appendix 2) and finally, we ran an online survey to which nearly 2000 ACCA members globally responded (Appendix 3).

Findings indicate that corporate leadership has a critical role to play in setting organisational values. Channelling functional behaviours also involves considering incentives and performance measurement systems, as well as internal communication and investment in human resources.