Back News  /  July 2014

Study shows that six out of ten companies fail to live up to their own values

·    86 % of companies have a code of conduct which they fail to implement
·    the majority of companies are perceived to have a co-operative environment

Hamburg, 10th July 2014 – The large majority of German companies (86%) have a defined set of values aimed to guide employees in day-to-day business. In six out of ten cases, however, these company values are almost entirely disregarded during the normal course of business. At the same time, most employees state that they enjoy positive and cooperative working relationships with their colleagues. These are the findings of the study “Company Culture and Company Values”, in which one thousand adults in Germany participated in the Spring of 2014.

There are any number of areas for which a company might define a specific code of conduct. According to the InterSearch study, guidance is most often formulated for how a company´s own employees should work together (52%). This is followed by codes of conduct governing relationships with clients and suppliers (49%), general social values (46%), standards of employee behavior (44%) and the overall quality of services and products (42%). “A code of conduct provides a framework of values and behavior that all employees should be familiar with and adhere to,” explains Karl-Josef Mondorf, Managing Partner of the personnel consultancy InterSearch Executive Consultants. “It provides focus and reinforces identification with the company – everyone is pulling in the same direction, irrespective of their position in the hierarchy.”

The study also shows, however, that in 6 companies out of 10, employees disregard the code of conduct – in as many cases, not all employees are even aware of it. Among respondents, 12% described a significant discrepancy between their company´s code of conduct and actual behavior. A further 6% of employees found the code of conduct much too abstract, or formulated in such a way that there was too much room for interpretation. “It is a key task of management to enable their company to keep moving forward towards a defined goal” says Karl-Josef Mondorf. “In order to achieve this, leadership must embody the code of conduct, making it an intrinsic aspect of their behavior and demonstrating this openly to employees. Leadership must set a good example, which in turn requires that they themselves personify the company, its values and its vision”.

A cooperative environment exists in most companies

It was revealed that most companies actively encourage employees to treat each other with mutual respect and esteem. As a result, 38% of respondents state that, in their place of work, teamwork and cooperation are seen to count. A further 21% perceive their working environment as creative and dynamic, offering both personal scope and responsibility. It remains the case, however, that 25% of respondents describe their employer as  hierarchical and controlling.

Background Information

The personnel consultancy InterSearch Executive Consultants carried out the study “Company Culture and Company Values” in the Spring of 2014. 1000 German adults (over 18) were interviewed online.  The results were extrapolated to represent a cross-section of the population as a whole. The research was carried out by the market research company Toluna.

About Intersearch Executive Consultants

We specialize in the recruitment of managers and the systematic analysis of management potential with a focus on SME´s – Small and Medium-sized  Enterprises. The company was founded in 1985 under the name “MR Personnel Consultancy” and has offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich  with over 30 employees. Today, InterSearch Executive Consultants belongs to the international InterSearch Network, with more than 100 offices in over 50 countries. FOCUS Germany named InterSearch Executive Consultants as a “Top Personnel Service Provider 2014”, Executive Search Category, in an independently commissioned survey.


Press contact: Thomas Bockholdt   Tel.: +49 40 46 88 42 0