Can a strong corporate culture in fact hinder implementation of a security strategy rather than support it?

Corporate culture has many definitions. It could be described as psychology, attitudes, experiences and beliefs of a company. It is the specific collection of strong values that are shared by people and groups within an organization (Brand tool box, 2014). When you add a strong brand to an already strong culture you are left with what Carmichael (2014) would describe as a ‘dominant set of norms’.

Today the world probably faces the highest ever level of threat to security and safety. In recent years, there has been a steady proliferation of terrorism, insurgency, organised crime, extremist movements and others who are prepared to resort to violence against individuals, groups, property and assets (Horak, 2012). Losses of life, intellectual property, physical assets, reputation, brand and image can have a devastating impact on a business (Control Risks, 2014).

The issue that arises from this is how you then implement security strategy to combat the changing threats from the last decade when the culture in a company is so ingrained that employees either don’t want to try and understand the strategy or see no alternative to their current dominant set of norms. This naivety is then further reinforced by the fact that implementing the security strategy is unlikely to show any immediate financial gain and the reality is it will probably hinder the process of producing profit in the short term.

However, from a company perspective, when the security function is constantly planning for threats that so far haven’t come to fruition it doesn’t solidify your case for changing the current culture or dominant set of norms. It’s not until a catastrophic event that results in the losses as outlined by Control Risks that companies are willing to change their view on the current culture and incorporate security strategy to bring their companies into the twenty first century.

Imperative to changing this opinion and breaking the dominant set of norms is ensuring, as Briggs and Edwards (2006, p.97) highlight, the importance of 'not practising the dark art of security'. But instead educating the business on what you are trying to achieve and being transparent in the way you implement the security strategy. Whilst working cross functionally alongside other departments to ensure what you are doing compliments the overall aim of the business and adds value to the operation whether in the short or longer term. It’s not until you achieve this that a strong corporate culture and dominant set of norms will stop hindering implementation of a security strategy and vice versa implementing a security strategy will stop hindering a business moving forward.


Brand Tool Box. (2014) Brand Insights. Wit. Attitude. Blog [online]. Brand Tool Box. Available from: [Accessed 30 December 2014].

Carmichael, E. (2014) CULTURE, EXAMPLES OF STRONG CORPORATE CULTURE. Evan Carmichael. Available from: [Accessed 31 December 2014].

Charlie, E. and Briggs, R. (2006) The business of security has changed from protecting companies from risks, to being the new source or competitive advantage. London: Demos.

Control Risks. (2014) Managing Security Risks [online]. Control Risks. Available from: [Accessed 31 December 2014].

Horak, K. (2012) The New Bodyguard A Practical Guide To The Close Protection Industry. Shrewsbury. Clear Water Publishing Ltd.


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