Cultural Artifacts Case Study: Whole Foods

Cultural Artifacts Case StudyCultural artifacts in the workplace can be a great way to remind employees and leadership alike of the core values of their organization.  Having items visually present in the environment that either relate to those values (such as photographs of patients in one pharmaceutical company I’ve visited) or explicitly state them (such as the Credo posted in every Johnson & Johnson office location) reinforce the idea of what it means to be a member of that company.

Recently I visited the new Whole Foods in the South End of Boston. It’s been getting a ton of positive response from Bostonians who love the sheer size of it as well as all of the extras tucked in, like a juice bar and a spa. My attention inside the store was grabbed by something different:

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Whole Foods created a visual display in a prominent location (just above the butcher department) explicitly laying out their eight core company values. This display is a great example of a cultural artifact that reinforces value-consistent behavior. It also reminds shoppers about what the company stands for, which presumably makes those shoppers feel good about their purchases, given that the values are easy to get on board with. They include:

  • Offering high quality products
  • Not just satisfying, but delighting customers
  • Supporting team member excellence and happiness
  • Being good citizens with respect to neighborhoods and the global community

It’s exciting to see psychological concepts in action out in the wild. Have you seen any good examples of cultural artifacts that communicate a company’s values to employees or customers?

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