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Archive for the category “Organizational Culture”

“If the creative work fails, the account fails, If the account fails, the creative fails.”

Interview by Elaine Calibara – s3461778 – Group 1

Within an advertising communications agency, one would know that there is a strong difference between the creative team and the accounts team. On one hand there are the creative thinkers, the innovators, the artistic brain behind the work, and on the other hand there are the analytical, result-oriented, logical thinkers. In such a parallel atmosphere, does the “us vs. them” concept exist?

“It shouldn’t be considered like that, why does one have to be either of the two?” Ramon Calibara, Executive Creative Director of Chuo Senko Vietnam responds to my question in asking whether he thought his company is account driven or creative driven. From the outset I was taken back hearing this after only the third question of the interview as expectations led me to think there were two opposing sides within an agency.


Proof of Life photo: Ramon Calibara, ECD, Chuo Senko

Upon hearing that a key member of the creative team could view the relationship between his own team and the accounts team as not a notion of differences, there is now a desire to learn how Chuo Senko Vietnam demonstrates effective teamwork. When discussing his team, there is a drive and passion in his voice, “There is an existing team spirit that everyone has, motivating each team member to commit to every job that is received by the agency. Every job is a common task. Each member is responsible for the job ensuring that we are doing the best work at its highest potential”. This is a clear depiction of a strong corporate culture.

Following the discussion of effective teamwork, Mr.Calibara offered to share insight to when the accounts team and his own team illustrated, in his opinion, one of the better successes of the agency. This success is at the root of his creative team, the accounts team and the client’s leap to help the agency. In 2013, Century pacific group hired Chuo Senko to create a campaign for them, “the client gave us a reasonable amount of time to work the campaign out and so the client service team came to the creative with a brief form the client that was so clear and well understood simply because the client side brought Vietnamese counterparts. The brief was written in Vietnamese and was only translated back to English for me to understand it.” After hearing how language barriers were no longer an obstacle he further added, “this translated in perfect harmony with the client service team and of course us, the creative team. It was very successful, the creative images were created a year ago and are still being used as we speak.”

This display of harmony between the accounts team and the creative team solidify Darryl Ohrt’s view that “there is a clear difference between the two cultures. And it’s not that creative-driven agencies don’t care about their clients, or that account-driven agencies can’t conceptualize. They do, and they can.” (Ohrt 2010)

After learning more about the internal environment of Chuo Senko Vietnam, I wanted to know how the practice of effective teamwork contributes to the external environment – their clients. In building their relationships with their clients “The quality of service needs to be taken into account and giving the client the best quality possible at the lowest price.” What Chuo Senko offers is the most ideal for their clients and displays the concept of the quality-price-time triumvirate model:



(Morelos, 2012)

Although Mr.Calibara does not mention time as a factor to provide the best for their clients, he does point out in his example that client’s give them an honest timeline of when the work is needed.

Mr.Calibara shared valuable opinions and knowledge on how the creative team and the accounts team work harmoniously to achieve the best work for their agency. His last remark as the interview ended he said, “There will always be disputes between the creative team and account team. It is all a process. It is a metamorphosis of the work. We are one voice, one name, and one team. If the creative work fails, the account fails, If the account fails, the creative fails.”

Word count: 688


Darryl Ohrt, (Oct 12 2010) Advertising Age,, 02/05/2014

Monica Morelos, (22 March 2012 ) ClientManagementvn,, 01/05/2014



Building a culture for your organization. First step before accquisition and retention.

Building a culture for your organization.

First step before accquisition and retention.

Interviewed by Tran Mai Thao _ S3410167 _ SGS _ G2

I had a chance to spend a week as an internship student in Minh Ngoc Anh (MNA) Limited Company. MNA is the top 5 of “Yamaha 3S* Dealer” in Ho Chi Minh City. They maintain their motorbike business since 2007.

I spent time to chat with two different people here. The director is Nghiem Minh Anh, he inherited this business from his parent so he seem inclined to traditional.


Prood of Life- Director- Nghiem Minh Anh at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh with an author


He just keeps relying on their long-term customers, run business by family’s reputation. He doesn’t’ consider customer is the important core to run and expand business. He thinks customer needs him and his business.

However, from 2012 until now, the motorbike market faces to a biggest challenge. People don’t want to buy common motorbike any more. “I defined that MNA needs to focus on other fields: services and selling spare parts” – the general manager of the store in Binh Tan, Dai Thanh Tuan Anh, thinks quite modernly. “And the most important thing, i must look for the new customers for these fields too because almost customers have known MNA as a store which selling motorbike only”, he said.


General Manager – Dai Thanh Tuan Anh at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh with an author

Proof of Life- General Manager – Dai Thanh Tuan Anh at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh with an author

Tuan Anh proposed his new strategy which focus most on CRM (Customer Relationship management) and test it on Binh Tan’s store. He focuses on acquisition step on wholesale customers and retention step on retail customers.



Realtionship Ladder - Reproduced from Payne (1995)

Realtionship Ladder – Reproduced from Payne (1995)

He started to change his organizational culture of his company first. He said “defining own culture for my company is also the way i create our brand image in customer’s minds”. In the new strategy, Tuan Anh tries to deliver the new and professional image of MNA’s services to his customers. There are 7 employees included: 1 receptionist, 2 sales, 3 technicians, 1 warehouse keeper who work in this new strategy. Involving this campaign, employees must always smile and learn how to listen customer’s insights. Everyone in his store must have the basic knowledge about motorbike even the female receptionist. “That could increase the trust among customer because customer could think they came to the right place where everyone here can help them and their motorbike”- He also said.


Reproduced from, 2014

Reproduced from, 2014

In June, 2012, they tried to call back all customers who used to buy motorbike in Binh Tan’s store. He started to fill up customer’s database professionally, and remind customers about the maintenance duration. His employees also announced all promotions to customer through messages, phone-call and email also.


Reproduced from Tom, T, 2012 in

Reproduced from Tom, T, 2012 in


In the part of building trust in customer’s mind, he said “customer trust us while we know their problems and show the most effective and professional way to help them solve problems, so i realized me and my employees must improve our expertise first and then oriented customer to the right way because customers usually don’t know what they really want, they need effective helps”.

Reproduced from, 2013

Reproduced from, 2013


About how MNA found out new customer for their wholesale part, Tuan Anh indicated that he took a long time to research, took many field trips in Binh Tan to find out the demands in this area. At the end, he found out that, Binh Tan has many unprofessional garages want to buy real genuine spare-parts from Yamaha with good price but don’t need go too far to buy. Therefore, he assured that he serve exactly what the customer’s want.


Reproduced from Maren, A, 2013,

Reproduced from Maren, A, 2013,

According to all Tuan Anh’s thoughts, these are very similar to Solomon’s thoughts in “The Art of Client Service” book. Solomon also asserted that people need to make sure all things we said to customer, provide the reliability they “know” not “think” (Solomon, R, Chapter 42). Then, provide what customer’s want before suggest or serve what customer’s need (Solomon, R, Chapter 43). After campaign, MNA gained a lot of contracts with wholesale customer in Binh Tan. MNA also has known as the experts in repairing motorbike. It’s wonderful that i can see the real experiences from MNA Company to strengthen all knowledge from textbook.


Some corners at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh – Binh Tan Store

Some corners at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh – Binh Tan Store

Some corners at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh – Binh Tan Store

Some corners at Yamaha Minh Ngoc Anh – Binh Tan Store


Word count: 660


Solomon, R, 2008, “The Art of Client Service”, chapter 42 & 13, pp.107-109, Kaplan Publishing, N.Y

*3S: Sales, Services and Spare parts.

 Contact information of the interviewee:

General Manager of Minh Ngoc Anh Co. Ltd, – Dai Thanh Tuan Anh

Address: 147 Bis Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, District 4 // 506 Tinh Lo 10, Binh Tri Dong Ward, Binh Tan




The Stories and Styles that Shape Organisational Culture

Created by Nguyen Tan Phat, SGS, Client Management

Meeting at his favourite location as always, I have known him for the long time.

I am working in a combined environment but full of potential, I think

With the long – term experience in journalism, he deserves the job as Senior Editor of Esquire. Being in the Sunflower’s family, he understands the organisational culture that brings up the topic of this interview. Client Management

Since the establishment in Vietnam on March 2013, Esquire is the leading magazine in men’s lifestyle. More importantly, Sunflower has been successfully merged Esquire into their organisation. It is interesting to investigate into this matter with the support of my friend, Mr. Thien Phuc. Working under Mr. Nhan Nguyen, Editor in Chief of Esquire, and Ms. Huong, founder of Sunflower, he is trained in order to identify the trend to create the content that is going to attract readers. Even his team works independently from Ms. Huong, however, she still involves in the decision making of the content. 

With more than 20 years experiences in journalism and specialised in literature, Ms. Huong is not only the leader but also a divine mentor in my daily job. She can spot the problem of the article and rationale why it doesn’t fit with the topic or viewers.

1493454_466285826823966_2138356051_oThis factor is one of elements that shape the organisational culture, the story behind the founder of the organisation. Mr. Phuc believes that it is essential because Ms. Huong has set the value of the company and his job, as the new comer, has to try his best in order to maintain the standard. Additionally, Sunflower has become a prestigious company for any journalist looking for the next level in their career, Mr. Phuc is not exceptional. Unlike other magazine brand, Esquire has only one headquarter in USA. Mr. Phuc always tries to perform well in his daily task so he can have an opportunity to be trained in the USA like his boss.

It is a chance for advancement my current knowledge

Advancement and Growth is the highest level of Organisational Pyramid to motivate the staff adapting to the corporate culture. Mr. Phuc has set this target since he came to Sunflower. Beside from internal motivation, the management style of supervisor also contributes to the drive of employees to work with their full capabilities. Instead of dividing into 4 corporate cultures like Charles Handy, Sunflower’s management style is the combination of those four, while Esquire’s team works independently and most of their staff is self – encouraged to meet the deadline. However, sometimes Ms. Huong can interrupt the topic or article before publishing it. We can see the corporate culture can be a little bit of everything from the Power Culture to Role Culture. 

bia Esquire

At the end of the day, it is all about the sales of Esquire.

It is all depend on the content of the article

During the interview, I was wondering how Sunflower could adjust the content to fit with the local but still maintain the Original Personality of the brand. Mr. Phuc explained that they have to receive an approval from International Editor of Esquire in the USA before publishing. At the end of the day, Esquire Vietnam is still in control of Esquire USA in term of the issue’s articles and topics. Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 10.15.29 PM

At the end of my interview, I have realised sometimes theory doesn’t work the way it is, and I have interpret my understanding on this following picture. Additionally, the stories of symbolic frame is the most important factor to form the corporate culture. Mr. Phuc has demonstrated how he fit himself in Sunflower and provide me an insight of theory in practice.

Word Count: 605

Additional Trivia: Don’t You Know?

  • Esquire US controls the content of any other international version excepts Esquire UK.
  • Esquire doesn’t have their headquarter in Asia, however, if they want to look for a standard, Esquire Korea will be the one.

Reference List

Casul, M 2014, ‘Organisational Culture’, Lecture in COMM2384 Client Management, 27th March, RMIT University, Vietnam.


Sandford J. 2013, ‘How management style affects motivation when employees work from home’, Inside Business, 23rd December, viewed 3rd March,


The coin of success: Leadership & organizational culture

Interviewed by Hang Ngoc Tran-s3426291, group 2, RMIT SGS Campus

You may have experienced in feeling like an outsider of unfamiliar culture. The awkward feeling appears as you have just landed in another planet. It is difficult if the employees cannot feel like the insiders of an organization. In fact, each organization shapes its own culture. Organizational culture is “shared belief, values, customs held by the organization’s members” (Prentice Hall 2007). The leader will be the one who brings the culture to the members of the organization. Interestingly, leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin (Schein 2004, p.1).

Figure 1: Flipping the coin (Adapted from the Mojo Company 2012)

Figure 1: Flipping the coin (Adapted from the Mojo Company 2012)

“Leadership is the art. It requires a strong passion of heading to achieve the best success together with the team”, Ms. Pham Kim Phung says. Ms. Phung is a corporate communication and public relations manager for more than 7 years at New Markets Pte Ltd. New Market is 100% foreign-owned company since 1994. It invests in distributorship of heavy industrial equipment and marine engine in Vietnam. Their major clients are state-owned enterprises and private companies. As Ms. Phung points out that being a good leader and getting your team mates involved in the organization’s culture are never easy tasks. “What you have learnt from theories are just the basic steps, you have to prepare yourself for larger waves of reality”, Ms. Phung says.

Climbing the organizational pyramid 

Figure 2: Adapted from Global Recognition Inc. n.d

Figure 2: Adapted from Global Recognition Inc. n.d

At New Market, employees receive bonus no less than their three-month salary. For long-term employees, they will receive suitable bonus for their long-term contribution. For working hours and condition, “we follow the government’s labor laws, our working hours is from 8am to 5pm”, she says. At the “involvement” stage, getting employees or teammates involved in the project or organization is also important. “You have to make they feel the organization is their home, they are the pieces of the project”, Ms. Phung says. Solomon (2008) also believes that “we are smarter together than we are alone”. Reaching the top of the pyramid is one of the difficult tasks to complete. At leader position, Ms. Phung believes that a good leader is also the one that gives the employees chances to grow with their skills. “A great leader will produce more good leaders who are better than him or her”, she says.

Four requirements of leadership

Ms. Phung explains that these requirements are essential for effective teamwork. Firstly, “we should understand and share targets to the team and make sure all team members will play each assignment, which is related tightly to the others”, Ms.Phung says. Kotter (1990, p.7) suggests that the idea of getting people going in the same direction is “not organize people but align them”. If they receive suitable task, they will push the speed of the project. Secondly, when the project is on its way, leader should track all team members’ results on a basic schedule and discussing very often methods of achieving targets. Thirdly, rewarding is very important to maintain the motivation of the whole team. Her mindset is similar with Kotter (1990, pp.9-11). The teammates will feel their efforts are recognized. This is one of essential stages in organizational pyramid. This will also help increase the quality of the work. However, remember to reward on suitable time for every good result. We have to recognize the team members’ efforts at the right time. Last but not least, evaluating every target including evaluation of method, timeline, investment on human resources that were achieved. We should keep all team members updating the latest success of the whole team.

Figure 3: Adapted from Kanketa Systems n.d

Figure 3: Adapted from Kanketa Systems n.d

To achieve the targets, team members are the crucial pieces and the leader is the one knows which pieces will fit with each part of the project. Organizational culture and leadership support each other and stick together like the two sides of the same coin. We have to hold this coin tightly like holding our success.

Figure 4: (Proof of life) Me  & Ms. Phung

Figure 4: (Proof of life) Me & Ms. Phung (Photo taken by the author)

Figure 5: Ms. Phung & her V team

Figure 5: Ms. Phung & her V team

Word count: 668 words


Kotter, JP 1990, ‘What leaders really do?’, Havard Business Review, pp. 1-11.

Prentice Hall 2007, ‘Organizational culture’, course notes for COMM2384 Client management, RMIT University, Vietnam.

Schein, EH 2004, ‘Organizational culture and leadership’, 3rd edn, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, p.1.

Solomon, R 2008, ‘We are smarter together than we are alone’, The art of client service: 58 things every advertising & marketing professional should know, Kaplan, New York, pp.100-101.

Images references:

Global Recognition Inc. 2012, ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the organizational pyramid’, image, Global Recognition Inc., viewed 27 April 2014, <>.

Kanketa Systems n.d, ‘Business growth for continued success’, image, Kanketa Systems, viewed 3 May 2014, <>.

The Mojo company 2012, ‘Flipping the coin’, image, the Mojo company, 9 May, viewed 26 April 2014, <>.


Changes in Organizational Culture: When leadership takes firm hold of its rudder.

 Article by Nguyen Huu Thuy Vi – s3394140

“If organization was a ship, the leader would be a captain. Wind can change its direction and storm can come, no ship will follow one way forever. The captain has to beware of this fact, predict what will happen and steer the ship to the way that won’t make it sink”, said Mr. Vo Duy Nghia – CEO and Founder of Mekong Communications Corporation.


Figure 1. Mr. Vo Duy Nghia – CEO & Founder of Mekong Communicatons Corp. (Reproduced from Anh 2013)

I met Mr. Nghia in a busy morning as usual of the whole company. Graduated from the University of Finance and Marketing HCMC, he became the talented founder and CEO of a prestigious digital marketing agency at a very young age. In contrast to the bustling atmosphere outside, the silence of meeting room made the CEO sitting in front of me look even more earnest. However, once he started talking, I could see all the sincerity, severity, but also humor and friendliness inside this man – the captain of a whole big ship.

Established in 2008 when the traditional marketing tools still extremely kept the upper hand over the Vietnamese market, Mekong Communications has become one of the very first pioneers in developing the digital marketing industry on both local and regional scales. This success of the firm today was significantly contributed by the leadership practice on building and maintaining an integrated organizational culture, which mainly conducted by Mr. Nghia.

 So, what is Organizational Culture?

According to Desson and Clouthier (2010), Organizational culture is defined as the set of values, mindsets and comportment of every employee in an organization that specifies how it looks in stakeholders’ eyes and significantly affects its working environment, images and partnerships with these stakeholders. Leadership, on the other hand, is the deliberate impacts that an individual has on other people in the same organization, which can direct and construct the activities in that organization (Yukl, 2012). In this case, forming and adopting the organizational culture are the activities mentioned above. However, when it comes to culture changes, the policies or communication materials can be easy, yet to change the inner perception of each individual could be a difficult problem (Haneberg 2009).

Talking about the form and shape of his company culture, Nghia believes that different changes in the social trends, industry and even clients’ needs make the culture alterable and simultaneously keep the company survive in such competitive marketplace.

“Mekong Communications can be a great agency, a trusted partner and a good place to work for a particular time, not forever”, he said, “It’s obvious that the digital marketing industry changes every time with thousands of new technologies, ideas and client demands. In an environment like that, I don’t want my firm to be just good; I want it to be better and better.”

And that is why culture has to change every time to match with external and internal needs, he asserts. Having a profound insight of this alterable communication industry, Nghia always tries to manage the changes in organizational culture for avoiding stress and crisis. Here are some points shared by him, which indicate what leaders have to focus on when managing the cultural changes inside organization.

Be visionary!


Figure 2. Reproduced from Lofquist (2012)

Nghia claims that as understanding profoundly what are the communication industry’s threats and opportunities, the leader has to predict any changes that may take places in this external environment and how they affect the internal one. In other words, leaders are ones who always keep their eyes opened for current context, long-term future and be ready to change. Additionally, feedback is one of the most significant factors that leaders must listen to during this perception stage to identify what changes of internal values and comportments will be appropriate and effective (Malby, 2006).

Always have a plan B!

Nobody can accurately forecast 100% of what will happen, leader is not an exception. Therefore, Mr. Nghia always thinks of some plans for the changes in company culture to avoid the risks happening if one plan does not work.

It’s not my business, it’s OUR!

To alternate the company culture, Nghia believes that not only the managers change, but every single employee has to change. That is why he had set up a unique culture of continuous learning right from the beginning. With the values of being “Dynamic, Determined and Inquiring”, Nghia had built a strong foundation on his employees’ attitude: Always ready to adopt new things. If they can constantly learn things in the world and be adaptive with new ones, they are willing to change themselves (Vries et al. 2009)

Practice makes perfect

Figure 3. Reproduced from Anh (2013)

Figure 3. Mr. Nghia & his employees at Ad-tech event in Singapore (Reproduced from Anh 2013)

“Don’t just tell your employees what to change, show them how!” said Nghia. He reveals that the company had opened many training workshops and taken the employees to the annual Ad-tech event in Singapore. Nghia believes that practical experience through these activities will shows them clearly why the company culture has to be changed and how each of them can change it. Moreover, this way also creates a corporate culture, where every employee can develop their creative ability and contribute their ideas for better changes.

In a nutshell, through some sharing experience of Mr. Nghia, I believe we can understand that the role leadership plays on the constantly alterable culture inside an organization is extremely important. However, the leader’s role is not simply setting up the changes in culture and forcing anyone to follow, but to influence, motivate and convince every employee to change. That’s why the captain’s rudder has to be held tight and steered resiliently.

Figure 4. Me & Mr. Nghia (Photo taken by Author)

Figure 4. Me & Mr. Nghia (Photo taken by Author)

Word count: 900

Reference list

Anh, H. 2013, ‘Ra biển lớn, phải nhìn xa và thật vững tay chèo’, image, Doanh Nhan Saigon Online, 2 July, viewed 9 January 2014, <>

Desson, K & Clouthier J. 2010, Organizational Culture – Why Does It Matter?, the Symposium on International Safeguards International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.

Haneberg, L. 2009, ‘How Leaders Can Optimize Organizational Culture’, MPI Consulting, April, viewed 8 January 2014, MPI Consulting Database.

Lofquist, L. 2012, ‘Visionary Leadership – Part I’, Image, Private Blog, viewed 9 January 2014 <>

Malby, B. 2006, ‘How Does Leadership Make Difference to Organizational Culture and Effectiveness? An overview for the public sector’, Northern Leadership Academy, University of Liverpool, Chatham Street, Liverpool.

Vries, M., Ramo, L. & Korotov K. 2009, ‘Organizational Culture, Leadership, Change and Stress’, INSEAD Working Paper Series, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.

Yukl, G. 2012, Leadership in Organizations, 8th edn, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Human’ Values & Committment

“I was enlightened through precious experiences of the seniors, the light of aspiration, rising up and conquering”


In 7 years, Mr. Nguyen Cao Tri, the CEO of Ben Thanh Land – a real estate company has achieved considerable achievements for not only guiding this company but also developing and promoting successfully his biggest project named Riverside Palace. From the company started with only 7 people, Mr. Tri and his colleagues has incessantly determined and contributed to the company. As the company has developed rapidly and transferred to the bigger cooperation, Mr. Tri understands that his team is required to establish a new way to collaborate and interact to each other. The CEO cannot manage everything if the whole cooperation does not think together and think in the same way. His success is to build an organization culture that prioritizes the commitment of employees and cherishing the human’s values. With only 30-minute conversation with Mr. Tri, I was totally convinced by his fervent argument and vision. Here are some precious lessons that I want to share.

Attitude is the most important value.

“There are three factors to value an employee which are knowledge, skills and attitude”, said Mr. Tri. In an interview, a company normally will examine how excellent candidates could be, what they had achieved when they were at universities. However, attitude is the most essential value indeed.  Attitudes influence behavior and can have a huge impact on how much people are committed to and engaged in their jobs (Pearson Canada, 2013). A smart organization will be able to understand the employees’ attitude towards the company and how they put their hearts to the business. Skills can be trained but the attitude!

“Human’s value is the greatest value!”

This message sounds theoretical but that is what Mr. Tri wants to communicate. Human performs the accumulation of experiences throughout time. Human also represents for the knowledge gathering while working in the company. Human is the organization “property”. Human is the trademark. A good employee will make his customers figure out and remember the values that he brings to them. In the perspective of Ben Thanh Land, the company asserts the human is the most valuable element. Nonetheless, Ben Thanh Land does not promote for any specific individuals. While contributing to an organization, there is a requirement of co-ordination, support and team spirit between people. Every person can do his best at one thing and own any particular weakness. To build a cohesive team, the organization needs to distinguish people who will fit best with the company’s values and cultures (Mind Tools, 2013). In addition, the biggest training from the organization providing to the employees is not through any courses but from their daily work. People learn from the specific tasks, from the achievement and from the failures.

CEO’s characteristics and organization culture


Figure 1: Reproduced from maximizesocialmedia, 2012.

To communicate the organization’s values to the employees, there are several ways a leadership could do. In prior to Ben Thanh Land Company, Mr. Tri decides to be the role model for his team by showing how he works everday. The leader needs to perform his attempt to make the colleagues follow and comprehend what their CEO wants from them. Actions speak louder than words. As a CEO, he just cannot speak to supply concrete guidance to the team. The leadership is the one who even has to work harder than most of the people in the company and that is how he communicates the organization’s values to inferiors.

The founder always has a substantial influence on the organization’s trait. His impact to the company can be through characteristics, thinking and performances at work.  Mr. Tri claimed that a CEO can be a trademark symbolizing the company. And sometimes, the product also is the element defining the organization and its leadership. For instance, Apple’s products indicate the creative feature and the pioneer Steve Job. To construct and maintain the organization culture, a good leader needs space to innovate, think, and strategize (Walter, 2013).

However, Cooperate culture is not all about the leadership (Keane & Casul, 2010 & 2012). In relation to the Ben Thanh Land Company, beside the importance of human’s value, the organization’s culture is also about the relationships with partners and clients, the correlation between leaders and inferiors, company’s strategies, vision and mission. Culture is a wide category, which changes throughout the development process.

Cooperate Culture and Employees’ Commitment


Figure 2: Reproduced from caloriaimprove, 2012.

Working is just a part of a human life. In an organization, people are often connected together because of their tasks. Business is merely a trade. People can be satisfied with their work while some are not. The main purpose of these individuals is to earn for living. However, the culture of cooperation is the reason that inspires employees having a strong attachment to the team. Mr. Tri understands this point as trying to create a culture that his colleagues feel conformable with and have a sense of belonging to the company. Talking about business is talking about relationships and a great relationship allows great work to blossom (Solomon, 2008).

Consensus is the secret key value.

Among this competitive market with the open door policy, under any circumstances at any unpredictable time, the consensus of leader and employees will help the company to compete and survive. More than the self-determination of distinctive individuals, the encouragement from the leadership connects and boosts the team to endeavor and overcome hard situations. Moreover, the leadership needs to show their inferiors that how the whole company will go through and portray the team’s future since the leadership’s roles are dealing with changes and setting directions (Kotter, 1990).

Word count: 940


Proof of life taken by Thanh Nha, 2013


calorinaimprov 2012, ‘The Commitment Diet – Anyone can do it’, images, viewed 6 September 2013, <;

Keane, A & Casul, M 2010 & 2012, ‘Lecture 7 Organization Culture’, course notes for COMM2385 CLIENT MANAGEMENT, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 6 September 2013, Blackboard@RMIT.

Kotter, P, J 1990, “What Leaders Really Do”, course note for COMM2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 7 August 2013, Blackboard@RMIT.

maximizesocialmedia 2012,’ 7 Traits of Highly Successful Social CEO’s!’, images, viewed 6 September 2013, <;

Mind Tools 2013, ‘Understanding Workplace Values – Finding the Best Cultural Fit’, mindtools, viewed 6 September 2013, <;

Pearson Canada 2013, ‘Values, Attitudes, and Their Effects in the Workplace’, pearsoncanada, viewed 6 September 2013, <;

Solomon, Robert, 2008. The Art of Client Service, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

Walter, E 2013, ‘8 Life And Leadership Lessons From Arianna Huffington’, Forbes, 9 March, viewed 6 September 2013, <;

Organizational culture affects internal communication and employees creativity.

Words by Le Thao Ly, s3372954


Many agencies have a big concern for client relationship management issue to ensure their long-term contracts with clients. However, fostering internal communication is also important to keep different teams united in a whole organization. There is a stereotype that creative team people tend to be laid-back and moody since they appreciate the inspiration in their work. Meanwhile, Account team crews are more realistic as they are in charge of monetary and customer relationship management. It is more or less creating conflict between two teams. Therefore, both creative driven side and account driven side have to work harmoniously to strengthen the whole company’s work productivity.

In this article, I will have a focus how relationship between Account Team and Creative team is conducted in a creative agency’s working culture and how that culture motivates employees’ creativity using organizational culture rituals and symbols.

Through the introduction of one friend, I have had chance to get acquaintance with Ms. Pham Chieu, who is currently project manager in Sofresh, a digital creative agency in Saigon. Before applying for Sofresh, Ms. Chieu used to be in charge of Account Team in Moore Corporation and take proactive role in digital manager of Neo Communications. Aside from experience in working for agencies, she has been dedicated her enthusiasm as a content builder, stylist and freelance journalist for some publications in Saigon such as HCMC Life digital magazine and East & West Traveler Magazine. “Having been exposed to different working environment is my desire when working in communication industry and Sofresh has given me a new perspective of an open-minded working culture within local scenario”, she expresses.

Sofresh is a digital creative agency founded in 2007 having concentrated on giving smart and innovative solutions to gain good impression from clients. “ The word “sofresh” implies all the employees as trendsetter and updater connecting in a unity to fresh up clients mind with their fun and fresh ideas”, Chieu shares her perspective with an exciting tone of voice.

Unlike other agencies, Sofresh does not conduct a whole Account team. Instead, the team is divided into pairs including one project manager and one project manager associate per pair to take responsibility for a project. This challenges the perspective “Bigger is better” (Hackman 2011). Smaller team will reduce the annoying moments caused by unexpected conflicts in big team.The task of creative team is to respectively work with each project team to create a whole concept for a project. The aim of this framework is to prioritize creativity during the plan-making process.

By having access to the agency’s working process, Sofresh is classified as task culture in which teams are working with each other to achieve better results than an individual can do (Handy 1976). The culture is about warm and friendly working environment in which colleagues are free to communicate and interact with each other in terms of task exchange without much influence of hierarchy. On the other hands, it is expensive since it requires people to spend much time talking to each other (Handy 1976). Thus, having employees connected together and inspired to generate their best ideas is one possible way to thrive the operation of a creative-driven agency like Sofresh.

We are listening to our clients to give them what they need

This perspective may challenge the opinion stated by Solomon (2008) “before you give clients what they need, first give them what they want”. “We appreciate creativity and innovation in our planning, so both project manager team and creative team are responsible to convince clients to approve our ideas”, Chieu emphasized.

However, there are some tough clients who insist on using their ideas and giving direction to the agency. “We then will execute on their way, but we also pitch them our concepts as backup plan” Chieu said. “Our teams have been working together to make sure the ideas are clear and realistic .“

Way to drive creativity: speaking and listening

“Debate is essential for generating creativity” Chieu said with strong voice. “but too much debates at the same time will create battlefield, so we always have generators, analyzers and conformists in every meeting. That is the way to create harmony between teams and to get the final shoot”.

As Spektor, Erez and Naveh (2012) pointed out that “Conformists, though they may be useless at generating breakthrough ideas, dramatically increase a team’s radical innovations”.  Chieu somehow agrees with this. “Conformists in the upside meaning are thoughtful listeners. After listening to tons of idea, they are the ones making votes for their preferred idea”

The issue of organizational culture motivating creativity among employees is one important aspect. Employees are motivated when they can express their personality and identification even in working environment (Inc 1996). In reality, Chieu excitingly provides some tips that she has chance to experience in Sofresh.

Don’t wear mask, act yourself.

“The ideas and concepts are flavored and spiced by the sense of our own life. The music we like, the trend we fancy are all transferred to the connection with the brand images in its best suit” Chieu said in an inspiring and moody voice.

In Sofresh, employees are casual clothes fanciers. They feel free to go to the office with just Tee-shirts, jeans and flip flops. Simple but stylish is their favorite slogan. Every working day is a fun experience with full of experiment. “Only a fresh mind generates fresh ideas”, Chieu concludes.

In a nutshell, each organizational culture has different ways to maintain and strengthen internal relationship among teams as well as motivate creativity among employees. In my own preference, an ideal working environment is in which people have chance to exchange tasks to understand each other more and to get new experience .



Proof of Life (Reproduced by Ly 2013)




Chieu P 2013, Interview, 25th August.

Handy, C 1976, “Understanding Organizations”, Oxford University Press, UK.

Hackman, J R 2011, “Six common misperceptions about teamwork”, Harvard Business Review, viewed 5th September 2013, <>

Inc 1996, “7 Unusual way to motivate your employees”, viewed 5th September 2013, <>.

Solomon, R, “The Art of Client service”, Kaplan Publishing, New York, US.

Spektor, E M, Erez, M and Naveh E 2012, “To drive creativity, add some conformity”, Harvard Business Review, viewed 5th September 2013, <>.






Author: Vo Pham Que My

As an advertising apprentice, I’ve always concern of how to satisfy my future clients. According to Kumar et al (2003), B2B business is more complex than B2C business, because the purchases made by the organizations depend on many factors, such as profit consideration, cost, budget. Working in an agency, we need to care about our clients’ values. Moreover, I may have to work with global clients. So I wonder how to be successful in working with both local and global client. Therefore, I have to talk with an expert to clarify the problem.

First established in 2002, High Technology Trading & Service Company Limited (H.T.C) specializes in integrating and providing automatization solution for building and controlling devices.  Started as an employee in H.T.C Company in the very first days, Ms. Pham Thi My Tien is now holding Director position, as well as one of the share holders of the company. She is also the one who works directly with the clients. During her 10-year-career, Ms. Tien has a lot of experience in working with both global and local client, such as Tan Son Nhat Airport Terminal, Pasteur Court Building, WHO office, Melinh Point Building, RMIT University and other well-known organizations.

“Keeping your clients happy is very important. However, you have to be flexible in working with your clients, both global and local one”, Ms. Tien said. So how different are those client? And how to work effectively with them?  Ms. Tien will talk more about her experience in working with local and global client.

Client expectations

Different clients have different expectations. Ms. Tien said that global clients’ requirements are usually higher than the local one, because they require us to follow the international standards. However, in some cases, those requirements are not belong to company working field, or out of the company’s capability. Therefore, we have to discuss with the clients to find other solutions. The agency is the one who educate clients about setting expectations.

“Managing client expectations may be the most important thing we do for our clients. If we don’t do an adequate job of managing expectations, we set ourselves up for a failed relationship.” (Tedstrom, cited in Horowitz 2012)

Even so, in the worst case, we need to say no to our clients.


Say no to clients

We all know that “There is no ‘No’ in client vocabulary’. However, as Mr. Tue Nguyen – Managing Director in BATES Chi Vietnam- mentioned, we can say ‘No’ to the client in the ingenuity ways. So that, we can avoid making them upset, which can lead to the stop in collaboration in the future.

As the agencies, we are working on the solutions. Therefore, sometimes, the agencies have to say ‘No’ to clients’ solutions, because we have better ideas.

Ms. Tien shared one of her experiences of saying ‘No’ to her client:

“One of my clients demanded superior devices, even there are some functions that they will never use. And the cost is much higher, off course. So we gave the reasons and convinced them not to purchase in that product. Besides, we suggested them another device, which met the demand, as well as reduce the cost. That was our successful, because that client was very satisfied.”

Solomon (2008) said that the agencies should give the clients what they want first, and showing what they really need then. However, I found that in order to have a good relationship with client, the agency need to show their client what they really need, instead of giving them what they want. Since, it proves that we know about them, we understand them.


Client decision-making

When suggesting new solution for the client, it is very important to convince them to change their mind. There is a bit different in making decisions between global and local client.

Ms. Tien said that, it is much easier to communicate with the local client, because of the same culture and language. However, it may take more time for the final decision, because there are many steps in the process. Compare to Charles Handy’s Model of Organizational Culture, local clients are usually follow the Power Culture. In those organizations, there are only few people who have the authority to take decisions. Therefore, the importance in working with those clients is that we need to do step by step, and making good relationship with not only the one that we work directly with, but also the leader of the company.


Figure 1 – Power Culture. Reproduced from Open University 2011

By contrast, it is difficult to persuade global client. They always require strong arguments with suitable reasons and suggestions. Nevertheless, when they are convinced, the proposal can be quickly approved, especially Western companies. As stated by Munton and West (1995), Western style management allows employees sharing their opinions, participating, making decision to pursue organization’s goals.

Liken to Handy’s model, these organizations follow the Task Culture, which targets on getting the job done. So we just need to work with a group. Their organization can rapidly response to the decision-making of that group. Thus, when working with them, we need to show them that we care about their values, as well as their work.


Figure 2 – Task culture. Reproduced from Open University 2011

Even global and local clients have many differences the first thing to have good relationship with them is understanding them, knowing what they really need and becoming their friends or consultants instead of being their partners. More than that, we also should know about the client’s client – the customer- because that’s the final user. Good agency is the one that help the client gain more benefits.

“Great work wins business, a great relationship keeps it”




Word count: 950

Proof of life photo



Kumar, V, Petersen, J, & Leone, R 2013, ‘Defining, Measuring, and Managing Business Reference Value’, Journal Of Marketing, vol. 77,  no.1, pp. 68-86

Horowitz, AS 2012, ‘Managing Client Expectations’, Journal Of Financial Planning, pp. 6-7.

Solomon, R 2008, The Art of Client Service, 1st edn., Kaplan, NY

Munton, A.G. and West, M. A. 1995, ‘Innovations and Personal Change: Pattersn of Adjustment to Relocation’, Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 16, pp.361-375


Open University 2011, “Management: Perspective and Practise”, Open University, 16 June, viewed 5 September 2013, <;

The effect of organizational culture toward the relationship between agencies and clients

“I do not know much about other industries, but in communication field, organizational culture is extremely crucial’. That is what Ms Hoang Ngan who is a young and talented account executive at Mekong Communications said when asked about the role of organizational culture in the relationship between agencies and clients. Understanding clearly about organizational culture will help agencies to achieve fundamental acknowledgement about clients and their expectations. Hence, an agency can apply appropriated behaviors, action and attitude to be able to communicate effectively and meet clients’ needs.


Figure 1. Reproduced from the author (2013)

Although Ms. Hoang Ngan used to study Tourism and Hospitality in Singapore, she decided to begin her career in Vietnam as an account executive at Mekong Communications. This is a digital marketing company which focuses on social, PR, media and strategic planning. As an account executive, she takes charge for pitching, meeting with clients, conveying ideas for other teams for execution and making sure that those campaigns will be succeed.

Before came back to Vietnam, Ngan had an opportunity to work for a 3 stars hotel named ‘Kam Leng Hotel’ in Singapore for 6 months in customer service department. She shared that there is a significant common thing between an account executive and a customer service employee is that she has to work with many clients who have different ‘culture’. “Getting to know clients is similar with dating a guy. If I want to begin the relationship with him, I have to know his ‘culture’ first”, she said hilariously.

Definition of organizational culture

According to Florentina and Georgiana (2012), organizational culture is “a company’s own set of beliefs, values and ways of empirical management which reflect in the company’s structure and system”. In other words, organizational culture is related to certain principles which reflect the prominent characteristics of a firm. Furthermore, these values will also effect to the way employees think and behave not only inside but also outside an organization. Besides that, organizational culture has a strong connection with Client Relationship Management process (CRM). To be specific, successful CRM performance depends a lot on capability of an agency to identify and respond to potential obstacles of culture within the corporate time with clients (Iriana & Buttle 2006).  Ms. Ngan  also agreed with this point. She said that “There is no doubt that organizational culture has the huge effect to the relationship between agencies and clients; I believe that strong understanding about culture of clients will lead to successful corporation as well as decrease conflicted situations with clients”

Three levels of organizational culture

According to Jarratt & O’Neill (2002), there are three main levels of organizational culture which are artifacts, shared values and assumption. Surprisingly, Ms. Ngan also applies these levels to approach culture of clients. Firstly, artifact could be considered as the most visible level of organizational culture including tangible factors such as work environment, dress code, facility, gender, age of individuals in a company (Madu 2011). Factors of artifact level are quite easy to recognize. When Ngan meets new clients, she needs at least 1 minute to observe outlook of clients so she can have basic knowledge about a person who she will work with. Ngan shared that “If I have young and active clients, I will positively suggest and discuss ideas with them. In contrast, I have to be careful and put my ego aside when having meeting with elder clients”.

The second level of organizational culture called shared values which are usually reflected by working style and environment of an origination such as time orientation, prestige or independence (Wanto & Suryasaputra 2012). Members in an organization do not actually realize those factors because they has get used to it. Ngan told me about a story about Japanese clients. At the first time, she felt really uncomfortable and tired when having meeting with Japanese clients because they usually ask for meeting at 8.00 am, but her company usually work from 9.00 am. “I have to work very late at night prepare everything carefully. Hence, I feel really tired, lack of concentration in meetings with Japanese clients in the next morning”, she said. Then, she knew that 8.00 am might be early with Vietnamese people but it is usual working time of Japanese people. Therefore, Ngan decided to prepare documents and go to bed early before having any meeting with Japanese clients.

Assumption is the last step but also the most difficult step of organizational culture. Assumption could be understood as an essence of beliefs which shared and taken for granted as long as employees in a company agree that those assumption and beliefs will led the organization to keep being successful (Madu 2011). Although this level of organizational culture is really hard to identify, once an agency is able to understand clients’ assumption, it will be easier to figure out the hidden things that control attitude and action of personnel in an organization. Ngan worked with a client from Korean company. The manager of that company did not focus much on a process of a campaign; he wanted nothing but the best consequence of his campaign. At the first time, Ngan did not know about culture of this client so she reported one problem to him. Then a manager told Ngan that he did not care about this thing; solving problems were Ngan’s tasks, not him. Since then, Ngan knew that she could not make any excuse to him and she had to figure out solutions for her problem.

In conclusion, after an interview with Ms. Ngan, I had more knowledge about organizational culture between businesses in reality. I think that organizational culture is the crucial step in term of establishing, maintaining and developing relationship with clients. This also helps an agency to avoid uncommitted circumstances within the corporate time.


Word count: 972




Florentina, P & Georgiana, R 2012, ‘Organizational culture and its way of expression within the organization’, Economic Science Series, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 371- 376.

Iriana, R & Buttle, F 2006, ‘Customer relationship management (CRM)- System implementations’, The International Journal of knowledge, culture and change management, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 138- 147.

Jarratt, D & O’ Neill, G 2002, ‘The effect of organizational culture on Business- to- Business Relationship Management Practice and Performance’, Australia Marketing Journal, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 21- 39.

Madu, BC 2011, ‘Organizational culture as driver of competitive advantage’, Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1- 9.

Wanto, HS & Suryasaputra, R 2012, ‘The effect of organizational culture and organizational learning towards the Competitive Strategy and Company Performance (Case Study of East Java SMEs in Indonesia: Food and Beverage Industry)’, ‘Information Management and Business Review’, vol. 4, no. 9, pp. 467- 576.

The journey of a farmer into business

Mr. Hung might be no one in a broad and busy Vietnamese business environment, and seems to be a wrong choice for interviewer. But do not be mistaken! Lessons do not always come from big names and famous brands. They also start from small and simple things.

A seemingly farmers look, Mr. Nguyen Huu Hung, can hardly come across as a successful owner of Tan Phat sewing workshop and as an example of effective client relationship management (CRM).  After several minutes into conversation, under the common appearance, Mr. Hung appears as a deep well of wisdom, experience, passion and professional knowledge.

The current success of this small workshop has to do a lot with the organizational culture, because it glues everything together and predetermines many decisions and courses of action. In my interviewee’s case, there is a so-called “Power Culture”, where all the decisions come from the owner himself. There can be many debates, as to the effectiveness of this organizational culture type, but for a small business, it proved to be rather effective. With eighteen employees, it is not difficult to control the operations and the workflow. In the Vietnamese economic environment, a strong leader means a lot; Mr. Hung became such a leader and support for his employees and the workshop in general and hold people together. Furthermore, he has other methods to maintain his business, and that will be explained by his story life.

Photo by Tram N 2013

Photo by Tram N 2013

Mr. Hung was born in Nha Be province, a poor and backward place in 1970s. He quitted his study at Secondary school and started to work as a farmer for living. Then he left the countryside to Ho Chi Minh City with empty hands, worked as masonry, watchman, waiter and so on. He stated that the moment changed his life goal is when he was in a job interview for a famous restaurant. He remembers that the boss came and asked him why he wanted to work there. He answered honestly that because of the uniform, he wanted to wear good outfit but never had a chance to. The boss said that one of the elements that made his restaurant different from others is that he invested to customers’ satisfaction such as uniform. He required Mr. Hung to please him with small tests and then agree to give him a job. “That was my first lesson from the boss, pleasing people in order to get the goals”, said Mr. Hung. He worked there for 7 years, became a senior manager, learned his own experience from managing employees, controlling the workload and especially dealing with customers. During that time, he read many books about business and enterprise fields, self-study English and realized that he wants to run his own career.

In 2005, he went back to hometown and bought a sewing machine to process clothes from local workshops. Small workshops usually postponed and refuse the payment, so he analyzed which is the bad debt that could not take back and ask for a half of payment only. Most of them accepted because they only see temporary profit, but lost long-term trust from partners. Thus, instead of asking for nothing, Mr. Hung gave up a half of it to keep relationship, reputation and trust to clients in the market. In the discussion paper, Kundisch (2010) explained the vitality of building trust besides customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is stated, “Companies – regardless of the industry they are operating in – should proactively invest in trust building activities.” (Kundisch 2010) Also, this is a win-win situation he achieved. Indeed, strive for mutual benefit is one of the inescapable points of reference for a wise CRM. Understanding this simple rule can be the golden standard for many businessmen.

In 2008, he run his own sewing workshop and received order from factories. At first, he had eight sewing machines with ten employees. Recently, he owns fifteen sewing machines and employs eighteen workers with stable income. The average income of his business is 50 million dongs per month, which greatly exceeds the national average around two million dongs (General Statistics Office of Vietnam 2013). Due to economic crisis, factories cut down many partners, but they still keep his workshop. He used CRM that is one of the crucial elements for any company that is oriented towards the long-term result. The ideas of continuous client acquisition and retention require a lot of hard work on behalf of the company. In theory, CRM includes four steps: acquisition, profiling and segmentation, personal offers, and tracking. These steps can help the firm to compile a solid customer database and to maintain lasting relationship. In reality, though, the process does not always unfold exactly according to those steps. Mr. Hung managed to build a successful practice in cooperation with factories. CRM is clearly visible in this relationship, because it shows the importance of long and trusting cooperation.

Photo by Tram N 2013

Photo by Tram N 2013

Kumar (2010) in the book Customer Relationship Management discusses the importance of a one-to-one relationship with the client. Kumar also suggests the use of many marketing strategies for retention of the customers and gaining new ones. As for Mr. Hung, do not be wrong that the major part of his success seems to rely on the already-established relationship, which does not require from him a lot of marketing. He mentioned that in the business, the key importance is to make the clients stick with us, and do not depend on them. Therefore, he keeps looking for new customer attraction. He revealed that he is aiming to cooperate with a foreign investment factory, and he is confident with his English in communication with new client.

Thinking about this issue, it became clear that with the right approach, the given business could become even more successful. For instance, as Woody Driggs (2013) suggested that the company would be more successful with the use of customer analysis. It is important to study the needs of the people one works with, and to make sure that those needs get satisfied. So, the suggested five steps in the article look like a rather logical and sound way to improve operations. To take one example, Mr. Hung could gain profound insights into his customer’s preferences, and then create a detailed action plan to provide for those needs. Payne (2006) reported that 60% of organization was failed when apply CRM plan into business, so that Mr. Hung’s workshop is a good example of success for small family-run business. In times of economic hardships, this small firm still manages to develop and to earn profit, as well as to give jobs to the people around.

Word count: 1099

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