Episode 12: Jillian Grennan, Assistant Professor of Finance, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University (Part 2 of 2)

Jillian Grennan

Jillian Grennan is an academic with a specialty in corporate finance and she teaches at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She has produced some incredible work about looking at and measuring corporate culture without even being inside the firm. She has done a lot of research on culture to try and understand the value added by culture for firms and also has a strong corporate background that lends itself to her areas of expertise.

In this episode of The Culture Gap — the second of two episodes featuring Jillian — she explains more about some of the foundational ideas of her research and what some of her colleagues are working on in the same field. She also shares some insights about why so many CEOs see culture as important yet the gap between what they see and what they make happen is vast, and her thoughts on the Me Too Movement and its impact on corporate culture. Welcome to The Culture Gap.

Key Takeaways


[:43] Daniel introduces his guest for this episode — Jillian Grennan.

[1:26] Jillian explains more about the technology behind computational linguistics and how she applied it to bring data to life in her study of external culture measurement.

[4:09] Daniel and Jillian discuss the gap between the values of the company that are proclaimed and what employees are really seeing as the values in the company.

[7:01] Who are some of Jillian’s colleagues focused on this same area of study? How does their work tie in with hers?

[11:13] Why do some CEOs not believe that having a healthy corporate culture is important, particularly when the evidence points to great benefits companies will reap from it?

[14:50] You can study other cultures but you can’t import another culture into a firm.

[16:27] What is Jillian’s perspective on not hiring based on culture fit to avoid creating a monolithic organization that is essentially an echo chamber?

[19:34] What are Jillian’s thoughts on the Me Too Movement and how that plays into companies’ cultures?

[23:47] Are there alternative models to the hierarchical pyramid structure that most companies tend to adopt and seems to be the tyranny of business?

[27:29] If Jillian were asked to be the Chief Culture Officer at Nike, what would her advice be to the C-suite?

[29:40] What research is Jillian working on next?

[31:41] What advice would Jillian give her younger self, prior to starting her career?

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The Culture Gap Podcast

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Podfly Productions

Learn more about:

Jillian Grennan

Jillian Grennan on LinkedIn

Me Too Movement on Wikipedia

“The Economic Implications of Corporate Financial Reporting,” by John R. Graham,
Campbell R. Harvey, and Shiva Rajgopal

“Corporate Culture: Evidence from the Field,” John R. Graham, Campbell R. Harvey, Jillian Popadak, and Shiva Rajgopal

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, by Adam Grant

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