Business executives see a clearly defined business strategy as being somewhat more important to a company’s success than corporate culture. But employees see the two as being near-equal determinants of success.

That dichotomy is found in a new survey on corporate culture from consulting firm Deloitte, called Culture in the Workplace.

Corporate Culture Affect Employees

Both executives and employees, according to the survey, overwhelmingly feel that a “distinct workplace culture” is important to business success, and that having “engaged and motivated employees” is the top factor.

Not surprisingly, the survey also found that most employees who say their company has a “clearly articulated and lived culture” report that they are “happy at work” and feel “valued.” The correlation is very strong -- of those who say their company has a distinct culture, 84 percent report being happy at work and 86 percent say they are valued.

Comparable percentages of those reporting they are happy and valued were found among employees who say “senior leadership regularly communicates my company’s core values and beliefs” and “senior leadership acts in accordance with the company’s core values and beliefs.”

The only fall-off in the correspondence is for those who say that “my boss speaks to me often about our company’s culture.” For those employees, 57 percent report being happy at work and 63 percent say they are valued.

Execs May Not Get It

Executives appear to be using social media internally, in an attempt to build corporate culture and to appear accessible, but the impact may not be as much as they think it is. Forty-five percent of executives believe that social media has a positive impact on workplace culture, but only 27 percent of employees do.

Similarly, executives have what the report described an “an inflated sense” of workplace culture, compared to employees’. For instance, 67 percent of employees think that “senior leadership regularly communicates my company’s core values,” while 83 percent of executives do. Eighty-one percent of executives believe that “senior leadership acts in accordance with the company’s core values and beliefs,” but only 69 percent of employees do.

In order to accomplish culture-building, the report advises, companies should focus more on the intangible. Executives see the tangibles, such as financial performance or competitive compensation, as the most important factors, while employees favor intangibles -- regular and candid communications, employee recognition and access to management/leadership.

The survey, conducted for Deloitte by Harris Interactive, questioned 1308 individuals in the U.S., including 303 executives.