Communicating Culture Consistently: Evidence from Banks

48 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2019 Last revised: 17 Jan 2020

See all articles by Jillian Grennan

Jillian Grennan

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Date Written: January 16, 2020


Corporate culture is integral to business success, yet identifying when culture is misaligned with aspiration is challenging. This study shows a simple mechanism -- communicating culture consistently -- is linked to value creation. Using novel data from 300 U.S. banks reveals that the majority inconsistently communicate their cultural values across stakeholders (employees, investors, the community). Yet the banks that communicate consistently have better operating and stock performance. Employing an instrumental variables strategy that exploits unscripted moments from executives and evaluating placebo effects for traditional loans suggests the positive influence of culture stems from aligning expectations when unforeseen events arise.

Keywords: Corporate Culture, Bank Culture, Risk-Taking, Integrity, Values, Norms, Intangible Assets, Firm Value, Financial Crisis, Expectation Formation, Banking, Financial Intermediation, Financial Services, Labor and Finance, Personnel Economics

JEL Classification: D22, G01, G21, G30, M14, M48, M50, M54

Suggested Citation

Grennan, Jillian, Communicating Culture Consistently: Evidence from Banks (January 16, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Jillian Grennan (Contact Author)

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

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