Corporate Culture In India – Key Learnings From The West

Corporate culture is something that continuously evolves – changing with the needs of the personnel and guided by the many fluid factors of which end results and individual performance are a function. Ask about organizational culture and each player in the hierarchy will say they are expected to act professionally at all times. But what does ‘being professional’ entail in the cultural trends? There are facets of workplace behavior that Indian workplace culture would do well to emulate. These standards of behavior that make it easy for people to function together toward a common goal. 

Here are the top three Western work cultures that the Indian corporate culture can learn. These are also some of the best cultural trends 2020.

You might also be interested to read: The Thinking Manager’s Mantra For Work-Life Balance – Secrets From The Most Successful Indian Corporate Houses

1. Work-life balance

This is a part of company values and corporate values that everyone talks about. In reality, several workers in India feel it is missing when they compare themselves to their Western counterparts.

According to Hency Thacker, in his article “Work-Life Balance In India V/s the Western Countries” written for The CSR Journal, the five major commercial centers among India’s cities have rather low figures of work-life balance. This is because of the mediocre conveyance amenities and below-average quality of most roads. Employment trends show evidence that top-performing professionals make a beeline for companies that keep work-life balance, diversity, and inclusion in mind.

In contrast, in the West, particularly in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany, there is a stringent practice of opening and closing hours for shops and commercial establishments. Weekends are for personal time, and often, supervisors refrain from contacting employees on work-related matters during the off-hours.

Globalization and paradigms of healthy corporate culture seeped into India’s organizational culture due to the growing presence of multinational corporations that enforced their standards and serve as examples. A move in this direction is the introduction of paternity leave for new fathers. The length of maternity leave also has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks through the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act of 2017.

2. Trust

In Indian workplaces, the pressure to earn the trust of the employer is seen in how employees spend longer at desks. This scenario upsets the aforesaid work-life balance and drags the corporate culture towards presence at the workplace as opposed to efficiency. In stark contrast, most workplaces in the West look for efficiency. The factor of trust is also evident in the way a company’s vision, short-term objectives, and growth plans are shared with all stakeholders. Opportunities for learning and development help clarify vision and further the progressive corporate culture that any entity would want to be known for.

Better communication is a vested point. Westerners tend to communicate via logical arguments whereas India and some other Eastern countries such as Japan have a hierarchical model of workplace culture. In this latter corporate culture, subordinates are expected to show deference to their superiors. This happens not only in the manner of speaking and choice of language but body language and general disposition.

You might also be interested to read: Talent In India Sees Flexible Working Arrangements As Positively Impacting Work-life Balance

3. Measuring success

Whether or not one is affected by performance reviews, the meeting between a team’s leader and team member operates under the foregone conclusion that everyone looks to move up the corporate ladder in India. As opposed to the West in which several employees are happy in their existing situations, Indian bosses tend to interpret an employee’s satisfaction at a level in the organizational hierarchy as “complacence” or “lack of drive”.

Changing workplace culture now makes room for lateral movement – especially toward a position in which workers are more “at home” with their skills and disposition. Pin-pointed changes, such as the punctuality followed by the Germans, take time in getting ingrained into the company values in India. Positive corporate culture in the form of worker engagement has come to the fore in the last decade and is set to continue through various changes in corporate culture. A sea change is neither practical nor possible. Instead, a slow and deliberate movement ushered in by Indian workplace culture that has been learned from the West.


  • Mohua Sengupta, What Corporate India could learn from the West about workplace culture?, People Matters, February 04, 2019
  • Hency Thacker, Work-Life Balance In India V/s the Western Countries, The CSR Journal, August 07, 2018

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