The Cohen-Miller Report: Corporate Cultural Literacy

The Impact of Corporate Cultures


We at CMC have worked with many diverse corporations and institutions nationally and in Canada. In the discovery and evaluation phase we often find the most important and telling question to ask to the staff is: “How would you describe your corporate culture?” The answer to this question will ultimately give us a much more accurate assessment of the current challenges a team faces within a cultural context and will drive our final recommendations.
A company’s culture rarely can change; it is too deeply engrained in all areas of the business. However, we do find that we, as consultants, must understand it, embrace it, and develop solutions that work within that culture. I thought it might be fun to summarize some of the cultures we’ve experienced. Let me know if anything sounds familiar!

Emily has consulted with design firms and in-house corporate creative departments for over twenty years. During this time, she has provided confidential, best-practice insights and advice. She helps creatie teams improve operational effectiveness and helps companies build efficient teams and processes.

Emily currently serves on the board of advisors of InSource and on the AIGA In-House task force. Emily has also served as Secretary for the AIGA/NY Board of Directors and has taught classes and conducted seminars for many leading design schools and organizations. Emily is a frequently-requested speaker on business-related issues for the creative industry. Learn more at


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2 thoughts on “The Cohen-Miller Report: Corporate Cultural Literacy

  1. Eric

    #1 above is absolutely our culture. Ugh! Really appreciate your thoughts. One question: you list all the negative impacts of those cultures, but are there any positives as well? And if not, what are some resources to learn the tools to work in a given culture? Thanks so much!

  2. Emily Cohen

    Yes, that is a common culture. I hope to address the positives and potential actions you can take or do that help you accommodate different cultures in future blogs. But the first step is to embrace the culture you work within, as you can’t change it. Many creatives simply build up resentment or try to make changes that are in opposition the culture. It’s often a matter of changing your own behaviors to better accommodate how your company likes to work and slowing adding some structure and systems in place to control the culture a bit more . In a collaborative culture, try to get everyone together face to face at the start of a project, during project initiation, is one solution.