In 2015, credit card company Capital One scooped the award for ‘Best Workplaces – Large Category’ – for the third consecutive year. ‘Capital One is a unique place to work that is fun, values-based and every bit committed to customer care. It is a place where employees feel empowered to make a difference. Where communication forms one of a set of values that underpin the company’s vision, which is designed to transform and develop a culture built around responsible lending, customer care and support’, explains Karen Bowes, VP International HR and Sustainability (Great Place to Work Institute, 2015, p. 21). An organization’s ‘culture’ refers to an amorphous collection of interrelated values, understandings and behaviours that is shared by its workforce. For some, it ‘smacks of a lack of communication, or at least trust’ (Ambasna-Jones, The Guardian, 2016, p. 25). Academic research, however, reports on workplace cultures that are far less stimulating than Capital One’s. Workplaces with a ‘binge-working culture’ (Campbell, 2010), a ‘long-hours culture’ in which employees regard long working days as ‘a badge of honour’ (Chatzitheochari and Arber, 2009), work that is not fun but centrally driven by a ‘tick-box culture’ (Travis, The Guardian, 2011) and an absence of diversity perpetuating ‘pinstripes and braces’ and the ‘laddish’ culture (Dunkley, 2015, p. 4).
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