Microsoft’s Culture & Cultural Traits (An Analysis)

Microsoft work culture, company culture traits, computer business corporate organizational culture, advantages, disadvantages analysis case study
Defense Secretary Carter at the Microsoft Cybercrime Center in Seattle, March 3, 2016. Microsoft Corporation’s work culture (organizational culture) and its traits enable global business competitiveness in the market for computer hardware and software, consumer electronics, and online services. (Photo: Public Domain)

Microsoft Corporation’s work culture (organizational culture) ensures workforce resilience and capability to address business needs in the dynamic market for information technology and online services. The IT company culture (corporate culture) refers to the core values, traditions, and behavioral expectations among employees. Microsoft uses its organizational culture to facilitate innovation and customer satisfaction. As one of the leading firms in the IBM PC-compatible operating system market, the company must maintain cultural traits that suitably promote innovation and high-quality output. Microsoft’s long-term success partly depends on its organizational culture and the corresponding competence of the company’s human resources.

Microsoft Corporation benefits from its company culture, which facilitates human resource competence. This organizational culture is essential to optimizing the competitive advantages noted in the SWOT analysis of Microsoft for business success in the market for computer hardware and software, consumer electronics, and online services. The market involves innovative competitors, like Apple, Google (Alphabet), Amazon, Facebook (Meta), Samsung, Sony, Intel, and IBM. These competitors use their work culture to enhance the performance of their workers and their information technology, consumer electronics, and online service businesses. Considering the tough competition environment described in the Five Forces analysis of Microsoft, the company’s work culture motivates employees to contribute to innovation to limit the adverse impact of competitive pressure in the industry.

Traits of Microsoft’s Culture

Companies have distinct work cultures and cultural characteristics based on the nature of their businesses, industry situation, labor market conditions, and internal business processes. Microsoft’s organizational culture has the following main characteristics:

  1. Accountability
  2. Quality and Innovation
  3. Responsiveness to Customers
  4. Growth Mindset
  5. Diversity and Inclusion

Accountability. Microsoft describes its corporate culture as a culture of accountability. This cultural trait ensures that every employee understands that actions have consequences in the company’s social and business contexts. To ensure accountability, this characteristic of Microsoft’s organizational culture is applied in the form of all-employee surveys and reward and recognition programs. For example, an employee is evaluated for accountability based on Customer Partner Experience (CPE) criteria and related feedback. Feedback and surveys for this purpose and the accountability aspect of the work culture are facilitated through the groups, teams, and departments in Microsoft’s organizational structure (company structure). Such institutionalized accountability contributes to the ability of the organizational culture to motivate workers to adhere to Microsoft’s rules and objectives for its computer hardware and software business.

Quality and Innovation. As a technology business, Microsoft needs to innovate to maintain its competitiveness against other computer hardware and software firms. Innovation and quality are features integrated into the company’s organizational culture and business processes. For example, Microsoft heavily invests in research and development efforts for product improvement and new product development. Such efforts are linked to the company’s organizational culture through emphasis on quality standards and innovativeness among employees. In addition, Microsoft rewards workers for their innovative contributions, based on feedback from customers and business partners. This characteristic of the corporate culture supports the company’s needs for innovation-based competitive advantages. This cultural trait facilitates Microsoft’s generic strategy for competitive advantage and intensive strategies for growth. For instance, support from the business culture for product quality and innovation makes the company’s consumer electronics more competitive, and innovation improves business processes to support organizational growth.

Responsiveness to Customers. To ensure customer satisfaction, Microsoft Corporation includes responsiveness as a quality of its organizational culture. The strategies and tactics used in Microsoft’s marketing mix (4P) are developed and applied with support from this trait of the work culture and how it relates to customer preferences and expectations. Responsiveness is achieved through training, so that employees effectively consider feedback from customers and partners. For example, to strengthen this trait of the company culture, Microsoft maintains feedback systems to allow employees to know what customers think and experience in using the firm’s computer hardware and software products. In addition, the company trains employees to listen to such feedback, instead of just reading or delegating them. To ensure that this cultural trait is integrated into its human resources, Microsoft uses a variety of tools, such as product support services, social media, and internal communication tools. The resulting information derived through these tools is applied in innovating products, such as the Windows operating system and Bing. This trait connects the organizational culture to Microsoft’s mission statement and vision statement, which focus on goals for empowering customers and business partners through technological products.

Growth Mindset. Growth is a necessary part of every business. Microsoft uses its corporate culture to grow its information technology business. For example, the company trains employees to identify potential avenues for new business growth, such as new ideas and solutions. To develop and strengthen its business culture, the company rewards workers based on their contributions in this regard. This characteristic of its organizational culture affects Microsoft in terms of continued growth and resilience despite competitive rivalry in the global market.

Diversity and Inclusion. Diversity and inclusion are essential factors in business development. Microsoft applies these factors in its organizational culture through training programs. Also, the company’s human resource policies for recruitment and hiring ensure a high level of diversity and inclusion in the organization. This work culture characteristic provides a means for Microsoft to maximize human resource competence based on diverse ideas and unity among employees.

Microsoft’s Culture – Implications, Advantages & Disadvantages

Microsoft’s organizational culture supports business goals for continuing global success. Such success is based on innovation and responsiveness to customers’ concerns. The business culture promotes employee behaviors that enable competitive product innovation. Also, market trends, such as the ones defined in the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis of Microsoft, are addressed through responsiveness to customers, which is a trait of this company culture. Moreover, growth and development of the IT and digital services business are enhanced through the growth mindset emphasized in this work culture. These advantages of the company culture show that Microsoft has what it takes to maintain its market position, based on satisfying needs in the computer hardware and software market.

A disadvantage of Microsoft’s company culture is the lack of institutionalized support for adequate autonomy. Autonomy in the work culture can encourage employees to contribute new and innovative ideas. Nonetheless, the quality of responsiveness to customers makes Microsoft’s business culture appropriate to motivating workers to be flexible enough to address trends in the IT industry and market. Based on such a disadvantage, a recommendation is for the IT company to integrate considerable autonomy as an aspect of its organizational culture. Autonomy can be applied in limited areas, aspects, or activities in the business organization, to ensure that the work culture contributes to organizational flexibility without compromising the other core values or cultural traits of Microsoft. Addressing this factor in the work culture can help enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of the innovation approaches used in Microsoft’s operations management.