I got a comment from my friend Heather referencing this excellent article
by Laurie Ruettimann. My resposne was long enough, I decided to post it here:
That's pretty cynical (even for someone like me). I think she's arguing semantics mostly. I also think she's wrong. There are companies with good products that fall apart because the workplace becomes toxic. There are companies with mediocre products that win because the team works together well too. I don't think that's a zero sum game. It's hard to find a manager who would back such an extreme view.
That being said "cultural fit" and all that rubbish is annoying, so I get the tone. When I think of culture, it's more about agreed shared values. They do exist. Yes, it can be a lot of buzzwords, but certain attributes are more effective for certain types of companies / growth stages. If those attributes are idealized, people will move towards them, or leave. If you have no "flavour" to how you work, then people are generally at odds and directionless. It matters less what the "flavour" is, but that it has broad support and self-policing.