Corporate Culture and Sustainable Development


The Mobilisation Board for the Vietnam Corporate Culture Development Association, in collaboration with Tam Viet Group under the leadership of the Central Propaganda Department, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Central Council for Reasoning and Criticising Literature and Arts, recently organised a seminar on “corporate culture and sustainable development”. The workshop highlighted the importance of building, nurturing and developing corporate culture values in the process of national industrialisation, modernisation and international integration.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr Vu Tien Loc, VCCI President, affirmed that corporate culture is not a new notion. Corporate culture has been mentioned in business activity for long but now it becomes increasingly important in modern society. To live through current difficulties and achieve sustainable development, enterprises must pay attention to governance where one of fundamental issues of governance is corporate culture. Mentioning corporate culture is right in the current period and is a matter of interests of enterprises. He also emphasised that corporate culture is one of the way-out factors, a “hold fire” factor and an “anchor” to ensure production and business operations of enterprises. This is a way for businesses to go up in the current context.

In fact, the corporate culture is still formalistic in Vietnamese enterprises. They are not familiar with building principle values and operating principles. Their behaviours, responses and strategies lack long-term visions. They do not dare to sacrifice for long-term interests and do not achieve high standards of social responsibility in business activities. The crisis and collapse of tens of thousands of businesses in Vietnam in 2012 and early 2013 result from various causes, including economic crisis, but the biggest one is the lack of a corporate culture environment – a cultural foundation for production and business activities. Success stories told by large corporations always come from corporate culture construction, the groundwork for sustainable development.

Thus, culture is not an ‘ornament’ but a development momentum and a ‘soft power”‘ of corporate governance process. The most important task for enterprises is now what and how to do to build and develop corporate culture for enterprises in particular and the entire economy in general to develop sustainably.

Mr Nguyen The Ky, Deputy Director of the Central Commission for Popularisation and Education, affirmed that the purpose of building corporate culture is to create rules, nice and sustainable values for enterprises. It not only helps enterprises realise ‘people-cantered’ business methods but also makes production development capacity thrive, strengthens employee loyalty and improves production efficiency. Corporate culture also helps create uniqueness and tradition of each business.

According to experts, corporate culture needs to be started by the very business leaders. Professor Nguyen Van Khang, Thang Long University, said corporate organisational culture and behavioural culture are attached to corporate culture and entrepreneur culture. If a company only cares about how to maximise its profit by exhausting workers, it is uncultured. If a company only pays attention to profit and disregards livelihoods of employees, it cannot be called a cultured company.

He noted that apart from daily behavioural culture in employer – employee, colleague – colleague, company – customer relations, etc, the behavioural culture with natural environment is also important because the natural environment is part of behavioural culture. If a company only cares about profits and ignores its social harms, it cannot be a cultured unit and cannot have sustainable development.

According to Mr Nguyen The Ky, there is a need for establishing a association responsible for building and establishing corporate culture models, standardising corporate culture in a scientific, consistent and suitable way. He also expressed his unanimity and appreciation to the idea of setting up the Vietnam Corporate Culture Development Association. When it comes into operation, it will be an important factor to popularise corporate culture and sustainable development in the business community in Vietnam.
Thu Ha