Corporate Culture and Leadership in an Advertising Agency

A Case Study on How to Lead People

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2018
28 Pages, Grade: A+ 100%



1. Introduction

2. Theory: corporate culture and leadership
2.1 Corporate culture
2.1.1 Defining corporate culture
2.1.2 Functions of corporate culture
2.1.3 Model of corporate culture
2.1.4 Vision, values and leadership .
2.2 Leadership
2.2.1 Defining leadership
2.2.2 Classic leadership styles
2.2.3 Management versus Leadership
2.2.4 Leadership theories
2.2.5 Agile leadership.

3. Practice: Corporate culture and leadership of the advertising agency Jenewein Flow
3.1 Advertising agency Jenewein Flow - corporate culture
3.1.1 The history of an organisation
3.1.2 The development of a vision.
3.1.3 Values and moral concepts.
3.1.4 Culture function and pyramid
3.2 Advertising agency Jenewein Flow – leadership
3.2.1 Simple structures and hierarchies – classic leadership
3.2.2 Complex structures and hierarchies – agile leadership
3.2.3 Leading with a vision.

4. Conclusion

5. Bibliography

Gender Statement:

Auf geschlechtsneutrale Formulierungen wurde in dieser Arbeit aus Gründen der Lesbarkeit verzichtet, selbst verständlich sind im Text immer alle Geschlechter gemeint und respektiert.

Gender-neutral formulations were dispensed with in this work for reasons of legibility. Of course, in the text, all sexes are always meant and respected.

List of figures:

Figure 1: The function of corporate culture

Figure 2: Model of corporate culture according to SCHEIN

Figure 3: The culture pyramid

Figure 4: Relationship between vision, values, leadership tools and behaviour

Figure 5: Transactional and transformative management

Figure 6 : Jenewein Flow culture pyramid.

Abstract - Zusammenfassung


Unternehmensvision, Werte, Kultur und Führung. Wer beeinflusst wen und, wenn ja, wie viel? Mit zunehmend komplexeren Rahmenbedingungen in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, der damit einhergehenden Entwicklungsnotwendigkeit auf Führungsebenen1 und einer neuen Generation von Mitarbeitern, rückt diese Frage wieder in den Aufmerksamkeitsmittelpunkt von Arbeitsforschern.2 Unternehmens-kulturen können für die Führung sowohl ein Problem, als auch ein Erfolgsfaktor sein. Zu einem Problem werden sie vor allem dann, wenn man zu sehr auf die Magie der Zahlen setzt und dabei die Menschen, ihre Bedürfnisse und Kompetenzen aus dem Blick verliert.3 Nach einer theoretischen Grundlagenbetrachtung beschäftigt sich diese Arbeit im zweiten Teil mit dem praktischen Führungsverhalten am Beispiel der Werbeagentur Jenewein Flow.


Corporate vision, values, culture and leadership. Do they influence each other, and, if so, to what extent? With increasingly complex economic and societal conditions and the resulting need for development at the leadership level and a new generation of employees, this question is shifting back into researchers’ focus of attention. For leaders, corporate cultures can present a problem as well as factor for success. They become a problem if there is an excessive focus on the “magic of numbers” while neglecting people, their needs and their competences. Following theoretical observations, the second part of this paper deals with practical leadership, using the advertising agency Jenewein Flow as a case study.

1. Introduction

Every company develops its own culture. Whether it is consciously managed or simply forms naturally – where there are people, there is culture. Corporate culture can also be equated to behaviour programmes4, which is created, influenced, and changed by leadership. Thus, successful management requires awareness of this and the creation, communication, management and – last but not least – practice of a homogenous corporate culture. It is equally important that the leadership authentically represents defined visions, in order to meet aspirations towards which employees can and ought to orient themselves.5 If this only takes place half-heartedly, they may run into danger of merely becoming hollow words of marketing management. In a socio-economic transition phase, the conscious creation, management and change of corporate culture are becoming increasingly important, since old, hierarchical leaderships models are obsolete.6

This paper deals with the interaction between corporate culture and leadership and is divided into a theoretical and a practical section. Hereby, a business approach is taken. The theoretical part covers common definitions and structures of corporate culture and leadership. The practical section looks at the corporate culture of the advertising agency Jenewein Flow and analyses the influence of leadership on such culture. The paper is aimed at applying learned theories to practice and mapping out the success factor “vision and corporate culture” for the leadership role.

2. Theory: corporate culture and leadership

Leadership is in a crisis which is not to be underestimated. Due to economic and social changes within the business environment, the old is not as effective and the new is not yet identified or implemented.7 A decisive factor in this are, amongst others, so-called megatrends such as globalisation, the spread of communication technology and the development into a service and knowledge society.8

Leadership and corporate culture are closely interconnected. This is neither new nor revolutionary, but in times of management rethinking, this frequently crucial factor is shifting back into the centre of attention. This chapter deals with corporate culture and its common subdivisions. Subsequently it covers leadership, leadership types and leadership styles.

2.1 Corporate culture

The culture that surrounds a company can be compared to a lighthouse, a compass or a guideline. With its profound impact it enables communication and decision-making, by assessing in advance what is (un-)important. Hence, it works as a kind of “autopilot” that can almost automatically help people in and around the company answer many questions surrounding cooperation.9

2.1.1 Defining corporate culture

The business administration literature provides various definitions of corporate culture. One approach says that corporate culture describes continuous, rather informal structures, which are responsible for attitudes, values and informal rules of conduct. These are to a great extent independent from individuals.10

Colloquially, this is know as the “way we run our business”. This includes corporate climate, leadership behaviour and organisational structures as well as performance criteria and reward systems.11

2.1.2 Functions of corporate culture

These functions of corporate environment offer support with the two fundamental corporate challenges: the adaptation to external changes and internal integration. Only if a business can perform these duties, is its long-term survival to be guaranteed.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1 : The function of corporate culture 12

Internal integration: Meaningful impact. It provides corporate members with primary references which serve as a basis for taking and assessing actions. Since (strong) corporate culture is borne by the majority of corporate members, a sense of togetherness and team spirit may form, which can enhance motivation and performance of each individual.13

External adaptation: Serves to coordinate corporate members.

It contributes to employees perceiving and interpreting information in the same way and provides a common objective for decisions and actions of corporate members.

2.1.3 Model of corporate culture

Corporate culture is hard to define, since it refers to visible behaviour and a company ethos which stands behind that behaviour, and consequently, is a complex, multi-layered phenomenon. In order to illustrate this, it is useful to present a concept graphically. This is done best with a model developed by SCHEIN, which distinguishes three elements of a corporate culture.14

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2: Model of corporate culture according to SCHEIN 15

Basic assumptions: The basis of corporate culture is a pattern of common basic assumptions. These are assumptions about a people, their relation to the environment and hence also the purpose and realities of a company. With time, these have developed unconsciously and are taken for granted by corporate members, to an extent where they are no longer questioned. Basic assumptions are therefore not visible as part of a corporate culture.

Values and norms: Values are abstract opinions of an individual on what is desirable and what is not. Amongst others, the idea of man is a moral concept that shapes humanity.16 This indirect power is formed from aspects that are not directly visible or measurable. These include for example fundamental beliefs, ways of thinking and attitudes.17 While values are created at the individual level, norms are coordinated, externally set expectations of behaviour. Therefore, they are at least partially visible, but only influence behaviour if the party concerned is aware of them. Values on the other hand can determine behaviour even if the party is not explicitly aware of them.

Artefacts: They are the visible part of corporate culture.18 Artefacts include the behaviours developed and practiced by corporate members, such as habits, customs and daily etiquette. Visible symbols of interaction, such as forms of sanctioning and reward. Typical sartorial habits or status-based interior design are also part of this.19

There are close mutual relationships between the three elements of corporate culture. Hence, assumptions shared by companies are the basis for values and norms. In order to be accepted within the company, values and norms must correspond to these assumptions. Conversely, values can change into stable and unconscious fundamental assumptions, if they are permanently embedded within a company. Similarly, this goes for artefacts: they are a visible expression of their underlying values and norms.

2.1.4 Vision, values and leadership .

The corporate vision forms the top of the corporate culture – the guiding principle that conveys the fundamental self-conception of a company or an organisation.

The vision is the origin and the guiding principle of entrepreneurial activity. It is a concept of how a company should look like in the future – what the company desires to be or where it strives to be.20 It describes the company’s purpose and specifies the fundamental direction of the desired corporate development.21 The vision answers the question: „What do we want to become?“ In order for a vision to develop its full power, it must reach every single member of the organisation.22

The central values are under the umbrella of the vision to which the company feels committed. The “problem” of the value level is that it often entails generic and replaceable terms, which are used by (almost) every company. This hardly comes as a surprise, because: customer orientation, awareness of quality and performance, as well as integrity should be seen as desirable by every business.23

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3 : The culture pyramid 24

Values provide an answer to the question: “How does the company want to behave towards its stakeholders?”. Corporate values are hence fundamental, long-term principles that present general guidelines for employees. These refer to internal interactions (between employees, the management) as well as actions concerning external groups (e.g. customers, suppliers, shareholders, the state or the public).

Interaction between vision, values, leadership, tools and behaviour.

Most of the time, the vision implicitly describes a value system, which guarantees its success. Therefore it becomes necessary to provide leaders with instruments for leadership and management of teams, in order to promote these values. In order to be able to handle these instruments as well as to live their underlying value system, leaders require specific competences and behaviours, for which they may still have to qualify where appropriate.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 4: Relationship between vision, values, leadership tools and behaviour 25

2.2 Leadership

Parallel to the ever-increasing complexity of the economic environment, leading a business, an organisation and people has become more and more of a challenge. Demands from the company to its management, from the management to its employees and finally from the employees to the management – explicitly as well as implicitly – are clearly multiplying.26 These complex requirements call for all interdisciplinary fields of leadership. These can be understood as the overlap of psychologies, business management and behavioural science. In order to remain within the scope of this paper, the following sections will merely cover the most important theories and findings, without overly expanding on the topic.

2.2.1 Defining leadership

Leadership means influencing the experience and behaviour of individuals and groups within an organisation in a targeted manner.27

2.2.2 Classic leadership styles

Leadership is an extensively covered topic within classical business administration and social science literature. Hereby, the focus lies almost exclusively on human resource management.28

In particular, this goes for the classic leadership styles “authoritarian“29, “laissez-faire“ und “cooperative“. Thereby, employees are motivated to adopt certain behaviour, management can the be seen as a “if-then” relationship: “If I act a certain way, then you do this or that”. Classic one-dimensional leadership is rather inadequate for the current demands of our time. The trend is moving towards decentralised self-management of employees. This has various reasons: people have become more professionally qualified and have wider networks than before, women are more emancipated and the representatives of a younger generation have different attitudes towards work.30


1 Cf. Doppler/Lauterburg (2014), p. 601.

2 Cf. Baumann-Habersack (2017), p. 3999.

3 Cf. Homma/Bauschke (2015), p. 606.

4 Cf. Homma/ Bauschke (2015), p. 452.

5 Cf. Reisinger/Gattringer/Strehl (2013), p. 418.

6 Cf. Baumann-Habersack (2017), p. 314.

7 Cf. Baumann-Habersack (2017), p. 325.

8 Cf. Schiersmann/Thiel (2014), p. 465.

9 Cf. Baumann-Habersack (2017), p. 3162.

10 Cf. Lauer (2014), p. 523.

11 Cf. Homma/Bauschke (2015), p 429.

12 Replica. Inspired by: Homma/Bauschke (2015), p. 442.

13 Cf. Hungenberg (2014), p. 41.

14 Cf. Hungenberg (2014), p. 38.

15 Replica. Inspired by: Hungenberg (2014), p. 39.

16 Cf. Baumann-Habersack (2017), p. 1577.

17 Cf. Reisinger/Gattringer/Strehl (2013), p. 28.

18 Cf. Werther/Jacobs (2014), p. 1476.

19 Cf. Homma/Bauschke (2015), p. 1817.

20 Cf. Reisinger/Gattringer/Strehl (2013), p. 135.

21 Cf. Hungenberg (2014), p. 26.

22 Cf. Stolzenberg/Heberle (2013), p. 410.

23 Cf. Homma/Bauschke (2015), p. 466.

24 Replica. Inspired by: Homma/Bauschke (2015), p. 459.

25 Replica. Inspired by: Stolzenberg/Heberle (2013), p. 869.

26 Cf. Hartung (2018), p. 87.

27 Cf. Becker (2015), p. 196.

28 Cf. Hartung (2018), p. 91.

29 Cf. Becker (2015), p. 457.

30 Cf. Doppler/Lauterburg (2014), p. 71.

Excerpt out of 28 pages


Corporate Culture and Leadership in an Advertising Agency
A Case Study on How to Lead People
Klagenfurt University  (IFM – Institute for Management GmbH)
A+ 100%
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
leadership, values, visions, corporate culture, management, agile leadership, leading with a vision
Quote paper
Anita Jentl-Jenewein (Author), 2018, Corporate Culture and Leadership in an Advertising Agency, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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