On April 6, 2023, presenter Kai Li gave the lecture “Corporate Culture and Future Directions” The lecture was moderated by Ankit Kalda.
Kai’s slides can be found here.
Below you will find the Q&A from the seminar:
 Can “corporate culture” be defined without using the word “culture”?
Absolutely. Economists like Guiso, Sapienza, and Zingales (215) have used “principles and values that should inform the behavior of all the firms’ employees.” Similarly, Li and Van den Steen (2021) define corporate culture as “a group’s shared beliefs, assumptions, values, or preferences that then drive that group’s behaviors.” In Grennan and Li (2023), we define corporate culture as an informal institution typified by patterns of behavior and reinforced by people, systems, and events. All of the above do not require using “culture.”
 “Resilience” is surfacing more and more in the current economic environment. Your thoughts, please? In terms of sudden introduction of such terms.
My view is that the increasing reference to “Resilience” in the business world has to do with the three-year long pandemic that we just put behind us. During the lock-down the darkest moment in our lives, every business leader was searching for the secret source that makes a firm resilient. In Li, Liu, Mai, and Zhang (2021), we take the view that corporate culture is the perfect solution for firms to sustain their performance and growth in a world with unforeseen contingencies like a pandemic or a natural disaster. In a nutshell, corporate “Resilience” is support by strong organizational culture.
 How would you articulate the relationship between corporate culture and corporate reputation? E.g., is reputation part of culture, or is culture internal-facing and reputation externally-oriented, or still, is reputation one (among many) consequence of a firm’s culture?
Reputation is not part of culture, just like strategy or business practices are not part of culture. However, reputation can help reinforce a strong culture by serving as a disciplinary device. Moreover, firms with a strong culture will gain strong reputation in the market place and among their stakeholders, a virtual cycle.
 Corporate culture is often discussed in the ESG debate. How do you assess the relationship between corporate culture and sustainability?
Both culture and ESG are long-term corporate investments with short-term commitment of large amount of resources and potentially uncertain payoffs. Moreover, strong culture including fair treatment of people in and around an organization is positively related to a firm’s overall ESG performance.
 Hi! Thank you for this a presentation. May I ask when we conduct firm’s culture effect, how we minimize the effect of reverse causality since culture seems to be affected by all aspects of firm’s operation? Thank you very much!
Indeed, anything within a corporation is endogenous. Having said that, going back to Grennan and Li’s definition, “corporate culture as an informal institution typified by patterns of behavior and reinforced by people, systems, and events.” Major corporate events like going public, going private, or key personnel change, like the sudden death of founder CEO, or the abrupt adoption of work-from-home, could be an exogenous shock to culture.
 UNESCO offers excellent definition about culture. How this definition/understanding impacts the understanding about culture in your research
UNESCO defines culture as “the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, that encompasses, not only art and literature but lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs” (UNESCO, 2001). My reading of the above definition is that this refers to national culture (or societal culture). As my lecture shows, earlier work in corporate culture adopts various proxies, one of them is to use the country of origin of the CEO and hence her national cultural values to proxy for how she conducts business (her firm culture). In that sense, national culture of corporate leaders shapes corporate culture.
 Does a strong corporate culture of innovation lead firms to reinvent themselves in response to new and disruptive technologies? Has there been any work on this?
Absolutely. Both Guiso et al. (2015) and Li, Mai, Shen, and Yan (2021) show that innovation is the most common and important corporate value promoted and practiced by firms and industries around us. One defining them of innovation is creativity, directly leading to your hypothesis that firms with strong culture are more likely to engage in innovation and develop disruptive technologies. I am not aware of any work showing this empirically yet.
Kai Li, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Class of 2022), holds the Canada Research Chair in Corporate Governance and W. Maurice Young Endowed Chair in Finance at the UBC Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia. She was also Senior Associate Dean, Equity and Diversity between 2015-2021. Dr. Li’s research focuses on the economic consequences of corporate governance mechanisms. Her current research projects explore: (1) gender, competition, and performance, (2) machine learning in finance, and (3) gender and finance. Her research has appeared in Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Management Science, Journal of International Business Studies, and many other leading journals in Finance and Economics. She is the recipient of the UBC Killam Research Award, the Sauder School of Business Research Excellence Award (both junior and senior categories), and the Barclays Global Investors Canada Research Award, a Senior Fellow of the Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research, a Research Member of the European Corporate Governance Institute, and a Research Fellow of the FinTech at Cornell Initiative. She is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Financial Intermediation, Journal of Financial Stability, and Pacific-Basin Finance Journal. She has also served on the Editorial Board of Review of Financial Studies, Review of Finance, Management Science, Journal of Corporate Finance, Journal of Banking and Finance, and Financial Management. Her research has been featured in Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Time Magazine, Reuters, CNBC, Bloomberg, Dow Jones Newswire, New Yorker, BBC, BNN, CBC National, CTV National News, National Post, Globe and Mail, U.S. News & World Report, Harvard Business Review, and Yahoo! Finance.
For further information on the webinar please contact Professor Jun Yang, Director of the Institute for Corporate Governance at email@example.com.