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La culture organisationnelle contribue-t-elle à la valeur des organisations ?

29 mars 2014

Qu’est-ce que la culture organisationnelle et comment celle-ci est-elle associée à la performance ? L’étude conduite par Luigi Guiso, professeur de finance à Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance; Paola Sapienza, professeur de finance à Northwestern University; and Luigi Zingales, professeur de finance à University of Chicago, tente de vérifier l’hypothèse selon laquelle la valeur de l’intégrité serait plus élevée dans les entreprises privées que dans les entreprises publiques (cotées).

L’étude tend à démontrer que l’accent mis sur la maximisation de la valeur aux actionnaires peut nuire à l’atteinte d’un haut niveau d’intégrité.

Voici un extrait de cette étude. Quel est votre point de vue sur l’importance d’une culture d’intégrité dans la performance des entreprises ?

The value of Corporate Culture

In our recent NBER working paper, The Value of Corporate Culture, we study which dimensions of corporate culture are related to a firm’s performance and why. Resigning from Goldman Sachs, vice president Greg Smith wrote in a very controversial New York Times op-ed: “Culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years.” He then adds “I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years.” In his follow-up book, Greg Smith seems to blame the demise of Goldman Sachs’s culture to its transformation from a partnership to a publicly traded company.

English: Goldman Sachs Tower, Jersey City, New...

English: Goldman Sachs Tower, Jersey City, New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While highly disputed by the company, Greg Smith’s remarks raise several important questions. What constitutes a firm’s culture? How can we measure it? Does this culture—however defined and measured—impact a firm’s success? If so, why? And how can different governance structures enable or curtail the formation and preservation of a value-enhancing culture? In this paper we try to answer these questions.

Whether culture was Goldman’s secret sauce or not, Goldman certainly went out of the way to advertise it. The first page of its IPO prospectus was enumerating the “Business Principles,” including “Integrity and honesty are at the heart of our business.” Yet, in this regard Goldman is not unique. When we look at companies’ web pages, we find that 85% of the S&P 500 companies have a section (sometimes even two) dedicated to—what they call—“corporate culture,” i.e. principles and values that should inform the behavior of all firms’ employees.

If this is true, it might be value maximizing (at least in the short term) for publicly traded firms to underinvest in integrity capital. To test this hypothesis, we analyze whether ceteris paribus publicly traded firms in the GPTW dataset have a lower value of integrity (as measured by the survey responses) than privately held ones. We find this to be the case, even after controlling for industry, geography, size, and labor force composition. Public firms have an integrity value that is 0.21 standard deviations below similar firms that are private.

Not all firms see their integrity drop when they go public. Venture capital-backed firms do not seem to experience any drop. This different outcome might be the result of a longer horizon generated by the presence of a large shareholder or by a better organizational design made by professional founders.

To disentangle these hypotheses, we test whether the presence of a large shareholder or other corporate governance characteristics affect the level of integrity capital. We find that the only corporate governance characteristic that is statistically significant is the presence of large shareholder (at least 5% ownership share), yet it has a negative correlation with the level of integrity. Thus, it looks like a focus towards shareholders value maximization undermines the ability of a company to sustain a high level of integrity capital.

Vous pouvez télécharger le document complet ici.

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