The Culture of Johnson & Johnson

The Culture of the Organization Johnson & Johnson: Its Signs and Causes for the Establishment

The success of any organization is highly dependent on various factors. Very often, the popularity of the brand, the quality of its products, and working conditions are viewed as the most important ones. However, the culture of every organization is a matter of great significance. It consists of such items as the atmosphere within a company, the attitude of the employers towards their employees, as well as conditions for making the work process and environment comfortable, fruitful and beneficial for the company.

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The number of workers does not actually matter, as the atmosphere and the culture depend more on the relationships and attitudes rather than on the number of workers. The recipe of how Johnson & Johnson has become one of the world’s leading companies is simple. It owes to high-quality products combined with inspired and reliable staff supported by the employers. The current paper provides the analysis of Johnson & Johnson’s organizational culture, the underlying reasons for the establishment of this type of culture, its effect, as well as the background of successful CEO based on the example of Alex Gorsky, including his leadership qualities, philosophy, values, weaknesses, and strengths. The above-mentioned aspects deserve particular attention when analyzing the culture of the company primarily due to the fact that any great corporation’s strong cultural framework is gradually constructed and supported by an enthusiastic leader.

The notion of culture has been applied in the business world in order to analyze the overall atmosphere and attitudes existing within a certain group of people, or communities. It is obvious that a company of any size needs proper communication between different types of departments and an ability to follow some common definite norms of behavior. Culture comprises of certain norms and regulations established within this group, and a company is not an exception. Depending on various factors, proper management leads to success and progress. In order to develop a culture that will facilitate organizational activity and promote it among the competitors, proper administration should be applied (O’Donnell & Boyle, 2008). The establishment of certain significant values that “managers are trying to inculcate in their organizations” can have a strong impact on the further development of the culture within it (Schein, 2004). Hence, one of the first signs of culture in an organization is an influential managerial position rooted in the structure of a company and supported by the employees. Proper management can have noticeable results for the performance and personal relationship among the staff. Secondly, commitment to the job translates into a healthy atmosphere inside of the organization. In particular, Johnson & Johnson is a great example. What matters to this company is sharing similar values and qualities revealed through responsibility and commitment, readiness to apply knowledge, willingness to share personal know-how, passion about the job, care for the company’s interests, and focus on personal success (Johnson & Johnson, 2016). Other signs of culture present in the organization include cooperation and respect. Johnson & Johnson’s policy is to “collaborate in teams and continuously share and refine critical skills and methods” (Johnson & Johnson, 2016). To reach a high level of such a relationship, one should organize the working process in such a way that personal interests go along with the company’s interests. Only then the working atmosphere will be fruitful and bring positive results. It is also important to “foster an environment that celebrates and leverages diversity”; hence, every employee should feel unique despite working with lots of people, who consider themselves unique as well (Johnson & Johnson, 2016).

The causes for the establishment of culture within the organization are quite clear: without them, chances are very small that the company will develop or even survive. If proper steps are taken, the culture will become an impetus for the company’s prosperous and successful future. One of the most significant reasons is that “culture implies some level of structural stability in the group” (Schein, 2004). Each member of such a group should be equally important, but not overestimated, in order to avoid unreasonable arrogance in relation to other colleagues. “Goals, means, working procedures, measurements, and rules of interaction” are expected to be forged out of the common experience, and there should be an established “sense of mission” (Schein, 2004). This approach unites the group around one common goal only when the whole team fully comprehends each “other’s needs, goals, talents, and values, and as they begin to integrate these into a shared mission” (Schein, 2004). The CEO of Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky, also seems to supports the idea of cooperation, though his leadership style might seem rather strict (Gorsky, 2014). Culture is a vital issue in terms of “assessing its effectiveness on change variables in an organization” (O’Donnell & Boyle, 2008). One can hardly provide an example of a successful organization with weak cultural norms.

The Effect of Culture on the Organization and What Changes May Occur

It is quite difficult to underestimate the effect of culture on the organization, staff, success, activity, etc. Depending on the level of culture, the resultant success may also vary. First, culture includes not only personal attitudes and traits of character but also the ability to cooperate with people for the sake of one common goal ahead of them. It imposes certain responsibilities not only for one person, but on the whole team, and the company in general. Culture affects the overall perception of the occupation and defines the mood within an organization. It is impossible to predict the outcome of the implementation of certain norms and regulations necessary for the establishment of specific cultural issues. However, after a careful analysis of the staff, their behaviors, moods, and attitudes, a suitably policy will definitely be implemented. Only investigation and observation can help reveal problematic points and failures of the organizational culture. The is also a peculiar influence on the success of the company, as it is proven that happy, inspired, and joyful staff works more effectively and performs better. Hence, the facilitation of decent culture will promote the outside perception of the company and improve its reputation in the labor market.

Changes have always been a tough and challenging issue. The implementation of new ideas and suggestions into the usual routine may cause unexpected reactions, especially if these changes are related to routine work. Alex Gorsky stated in an interview about decision making that “probably the most challenging tasks have been related to very significant organizational and people changes” in Johnson & Johnson, as there is always a whether a person is surrounded by a suitable team or not (Gorsky, 2014). Changes are not always positive, and very often it is difficult to avoid them in order to improve the work of the teams within a company.

“Changing a culture is a large-scale undertaking” aimed at making the work process less tense and more fruitful (Denning, 2011). One of the best tools for implementing changes is inspiration coming from the leaders of the company through conversations, learning, decision-making, story-telling, etc. (Denning, 2011). These are the most advisable tools for a successful leader. It is recommended to avoid intimidation revealed through threats, punishments, and coercion (Denning, 2011). One more issue that can have long-lasting effects is a reorganization. If a new leader comes to the company, he/she should not necessarily bring new staff, but should carefully analyze the talents and abilities of each and every worker before coming up with the decision. Finally, while introducing changes, it is necessary to stay with the people who share the same vision on the company’s future. If the change is arranged properly, a successful team will be formed (Denning, 2011).

Alex Gorsky: Successful Leadership Qualities

Alex Gorsky is “a 26-year veteran of Johnson & Johnson” who has been its CEO since 2012 (Gorsky, 2014). His leadership style and philosophy have been widely discussed and criticized. However, he has remained one of the world’s most successful business leaders. Before dwelling upon his style of teaching and leading, it is necessary to discuss the appropriate background for a CEO.


To become a successful CEO, one should take into consideration that this position requires wide knowledge from various spheres of life. Economics, business relations, and geography constitute only a small part of the information to be mastered by a successful leader. Moreover, an exemplary CEO should also be a brilliant philosopher and psychologist in terms of work process arrangement and relationship establishment (Ayaba, 2012).

In his interviews, Mr. Gorsky seems very confident, and at the same time open-minded and relaxed. This image makes him look like a very strong-willed and strict person with definite views on life and business, with no hesitation or opportunity for a mistake. His leadership style is something to learn from: he is confident about his decisions, but fears being wrong. What is more, he likes debating with other authorities of the company, discussing significant points, and not making all the decisions by himself, which is an extremely positive trait of his character. His success is considered to depend on him being open to discussion and criticism. Alex Gorsky prefers to remain respected no matter what. “It’s not really what I do but it’s about what the people who you work with do” (Gorsky, 2014) meaning that no matter how many people one manages, the leader learns the skills and abilities of his followers. Afterward, he tries to combine and unite them in order to contribute to his followers’ success.

The most significant and relevant Gorsky’s idea is the following one: “People are not looking for a perfect leader. They want a leader who cares about them and is going to help them try to be better” (Gorsky, 2014). This philosophy is also supported by having a credo in one’s life, which will be an impetus for growing as an individual and reaching success (Gorsky, 2014). Finally, the financial results of the company, its reputation, and the workers’ comments prove the effectiveness of Gorsky’s management style.


Johnson & Johnson is a company, whose policy can be regarded as a good example to follow. It has an established organizational culture and proper leadership, which, together have made it one of the most successful and influential firms in the world market. Importantly, it was a gradual, well-planned, and long-term process that ensured a strong and well-established creation of cultural norms. A strong position in relation to its employees, a loyal attitude, and opportunities for both personal growth and pursuit of the company’s success have only facilitated the growth and development of the business. A properly managed company is likely to succeed. However, without a decent leader with strong a passion for success, this goal is impossible. Johnson & Johnson’s current CEO Alex Gorsky is a strong leader with a defined goal, clear outlook, and powerful mind.


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