Adaptive Corporate Culture

WellBeing and Performance Agenda - Item 4

Adaptive Corporate Culture


An Adaptive Corporate Culture is one that enables their organisation to adapt quickly and effectively to internal and external pressures for change.

A corporate culture that consistently supports a positive psychological environment will ensure their workforce will be more resilient against stress. Such a workforce will respond effectively to change without losing productivity.

Adaptive Corporate Culture is the 4th element of the WellBeing and Performance Agenda

You may have already read that the principles of Adaptive Leadership have to be adopted as a first priority by any organisation applying the processes described in the WellBeing and Performance Agenda, and no change in attitude or practice is going to happen unless someone or several people take a lead in bringing about change.

Psychological Responsibility and Sharing Responsibility for the Future Success of the Organisation are two principles that underpin the culture of the organisation. They influence the way people behave towards each other. These two agenda items should be adopted next after adaptive leadership.

Adaptive Corporate Culture builds on these principles and adds the elements of culture that heavily influence trust, commitment, motivation, kinship, concentration and social engagement, the attributes that form psychologically healthy organisations that perform at their peak.

Definition of Adaptive Corporate Culture

A culture is made up of various ingredients all of which help towards the tone, atmosphere and expectations that surround the workforce and influence its attitude and approach to work.

An Adaptive Corporate Culture (adaptive culture) is designed deliberately to create the tone, atmosphere and expectations of a psychologically healthy organisation, one that provokes the workforce to feel psychologically well. The culture, also, uses the health of the organisation as the stimulus for peak performance. The cultural expectation is that the organisation achieves peak performance through the enhanced psychological wellbeing of the workforce.

The culture, therefore, must have triggers that provoke individuals to behave in certain ways, and to feel responsible for the future success of the organisation. The main triggers are: purpose, vision, cultural values, corporate values, and architecture.

The Adaptive Corporate Culture Architecture
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Other triggers are found in the remaining items of the Wellbeing and Performance Agenda – leadership style, Psychological Responsibility, Sharing Responsibility for the future success of the organisation, adaptive working environment, and adaptive and resilient workforce.

Benefits of Adaptive Culture

Culture influences everything in an organisation. It is ‘the way things are done around here’.

A culture that provokes people to feel psychologically well, combined with the motivation to attain peak performance, stimulates the workforce to be highly successful. The result is an organisation and workforce that are characterised by commitment, trust, motivation, kinship, concentration and social engagement. These are the attributes and behaviours that make organisations hugely successful

Implementation of an Adaptive Corporate Culture

It starts with the Board of Directors who need to agree that this type of culture is one they wish to see implemented. Once agreed, there are specific exercises to be completed that start the ball rolling towards implementation – these can be found in Derek Mowbray’s Guides to the Wellbeing and Performance Agenda and the Manager’s Role in Resilience. The results of the exercises need to be reinforced in managers’ meetings.

Someone needs to take charge of implementing the adaptive culture, to ensure all the exercises are completed, and the information obtained from them is turned into cultural triggers. Leaders and managers have to work hard at developing the culture of choice, and this can be helped by having a description of the culture that is being implemented. The following is a description that can be used for this purpose:

High Performing Culture

  • purpose that is clear and unambiguous, expressed as a simple ‘big idea’, an idea which all the staff relate to closely, and are proud to discuss with friends and colleagues.
  • atmosphere of confidenceof sharing responsibility for the future success of the organisation, where all the staff are encouraged to think independently, are attentive to each other, are kindly and support each other, and act with humanity.
  • behaviour that shows Psychological Responsibility, is respectful towards each other, value each other’s views and opinions, work in teams which are places of mutual support, where anything is debated without a hint of humiliation, where the critique of individual and team work is welcomed, discussed and where lessons are learnt and implemented.
  • staffwho project a confidence towards clients and customers, who‘go the extra mile’ by providing unsolicited ideas, thoughts, stimulus to each other, and where their interest in their customers offers something more than is expected, beyond courtesy, and beyond service, offering attentiveness and personal interest.
  • leaders and managers who challenge their staff, who provide opportunities for personal development through new experiences, and who treat everyone with fairness and understanding.
  • an organisation that is driven towards organisation and personal success - intellectually, financially, socially and emotionally.

Articles about Adaptive Corporate Culture

We continually update our article library with content from as wide a source as possible. If you would like more in-depth information on this subject, please click here to visit the Adaptive Corporate Culture section of the library where you will be able to both read and download as many papers on this subject as you wish

MAS Resources to help you understand and implement the principles of Adaptive Corporate Culture


Read about the next element of the WBPAgenda

The next element of the WellBeing and Performance Agenda is:

Adaptive Working Environment

Or click on any part of the diagram below to visit any other areas of the WellBeing and Performance Agenda...

A Fabulous Organisation




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