Corporate culture in companies at the example of Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Term Paper 2015 16 Pages

Business economics - Business Management, Corporate Governance


Table of Contents

1 Introduction Issue and objective

2 Fundamentals and definition of corporate culture
2.1 Elements and significance of corporate culture
2.2 Indicators and measures

3 Indicators of corporate culture at the example of Deutsche Lufthansa AG
3.1 Corporate history and economic situation
3.2 Corporate culture in action
3.2.1 Target orientation
3.2.2 Social responsibility
3.2.3 Attitudes, values and convictions
3.2.4 Customer centricity
3.2.5 Shareholder focus
3.2.6 Corporate governance

4 Summary/ Outlook / Conclusion

List of references

List of sources

List of illustrations

1 Introduction Issue and objective

This thesis deals with the topic of "Corporate culture in companies". It explains the origins of such culture, its functions, the criteria used to measure corporate culture and the mutual influence that corporate and national cultures exert on each other.

Evidence of a central problem pertaining to corporate culture is provided both in the theoretical and the practical part of this thesis.

The corporate culture of various companies is frequently as diverse as the cultures of different nations, with the latter more influenced and shaped by economic processes and the various corporate cultures. Corporate cultures thus have the effect of becoming a lived culture for the various peoples. However, it is not uncommon for corporate culture to come into conflict with the traditions or notions of other peoples and their economic experts.1

This aspect will be examined in greater detail elsewhere in this thesis. To start with, though, the first chapter will deal with the basic principles of corporate culture. The main focus of this section is on the definition of culture and the factors that influence culture. In addition, the indicators for more detailed description of corporate culture will be described.

The subsequent section, which constitutes the practical aspect, is dedicated to the analysis and illustration of corporate culture at the example of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, in order then to discuss the fundamental problems of corporate culture using this example. This will be based on a range of indicators from different departments.

2 Fundamentals and definition of corporate culture

There is no clear-cut definition of culture and thus neither of corporate culture. Various definitions are used in academic debate. For the purpose of this thesis, a brief and very apposite definition of culture is used that can be summarised as follows:

According to Kutschker and Schmid, culture can be described as the sum of all basic assumptions, values, standards, attitudes and convictions of a social unit which finds expression in a wide range of different courses of action and products of art and which has developed over time as a response to the various demands made on this social unit.2 By contrast, corporate culture, also known as organisational culture, can be seen as a system, because each company has its own corporate culture which is independent of trends, flops or successes. Organisational culture is basically described as the "personality “of an organisation. This culture comprises the adoption of values, standards and visible symbols by members of the organisation and their behaviour patterns. The members of an organisation are particularly aware of its culture.3

2.1 Elements and significance of corporate culture

Corporate culture can be visualised in a number of ways. One option is Schein's theory of organisational culture; his model separates corporate culture into three levels. The first level comprises visible structures (e.g. artefacts), the second conscious patterns of behaviour (e.g. values and standards) and the third level subconscious perceptions (e.g. underlying assumptions).4

The iceberg model was developed subsequently to visualise Schein's model of cultural levels. This model combines the visible characteristics of an organisational culture as surface culture. By contrast, invisible characteristics are shown as a hidden culture. Surface culture is the part above the water's surface and thus visible. The hidden culture constitutes two-thirds of the area and lies below the water's surface.5

As each company has its own corporate culture, this poses the question as to the effect of corporate culture within the company and to the outside.

On the one hand can be said that corporate culture represents the invisible factor influencing the human system. If corporate culture exists, it guides, organises and influences collective thinking within the company. On the other hand, there is also the visible influence of corporate culture on the human system. This includes four central functions that have to be in place as the foundation for a company's existence:

- complexity reduction,
- coordination of activities,
- identification with the company and
- continuity.

These functions influence communication, motivation and the ability to learn as well as a company's productivity and economic efficiency, and thus ultimately also its success.6

2.2 Indicators and measures

In order to compare the corporate culture of one company with that of another, the following central indicators have to be defined:

- target orientation
- social responsibility
- attitudes/values
- corporate governance
- leadership behaviour
- entrepreneurship
- continuity of leadership
- ability to adapt
- customer centrification
- shareholder focus7

These indicators are not described in theory but with direct reference to the example of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. However, because of the scope of this thesis, only the most important indicators are examined.


1 Cf. Ries, S.: 2008, p. 9

2 Cf. Kutschker, M./ Schmid, S.: 2008, p. 672

3 Cf.. McNamara, C.: 2000 www.managementhelp.org

4 Cf. Steinle, C./ Eggers, B./ ter Hell, A.: 1994, p. 141

5 Cf. Broßmann, M./Mödinger, W.: 2011, p. 412

6 Cf.. Sackmann, S.: 2004, p. 27 f.

7 Cf.. Sackmann, S.: 2004, p. 54 ff.


ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
656 KB
Catalog Number
Institution / College
University of Applied Sciences Riedlingen
Organisational Culture Lufthansa BWL Tourismus Touristik



Title: Corporate culture in companies at the example of Deutsche Lufthansa AG