The Bertelsmann Essentials convey the goals and basic values of our company’s employees, executives and shareholders and build on the Corporate Constitution. It is the responsibility of our executives to spread and epitomize these values and to serve as role models. The Bertelsmann Essentials reflect the common understanding of our corporate culture and are subject to constant review, revision and improvement.
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company. We provide information, entertainment and media services to inspire people’s daily lives. We aspire to make a valuable contribution to society. We strive to be leaders in our markets and achieve returns on capital employed that guarantee growth and continuity of our corporation. Our joint efforts focus on creative content and customer relations. We seek to provide working conditions that are equitable and motivating for our employees. We commit ourselves to ensuring the continuity and ongoing progress of our corporation.
We provide a home for artists, authors and creative talent in all of our fields of business, promoting their creative development and commercial success. We strive for the protection of intellectual property on a worldwide basis. We promote artistic freedom and freedom of thought, the protection of democracy and human rights, and the respect of traditions and cultural values. Consequently, the content we provide reflects a wide range of viewpoints and opinions. Continuous innovation and improvement, guided by customer needs and interests, are the cornerstones of our success.
The principle of decentralization is at the heart of Bertelsmann’s management philosophy. It enables our employees to act with flexibility, responsibility, efficiency and entrepreneurial freedom. Our operating businesses are run by managers who act as entrepreneurs: They enjoy considerable independence and bear full responsibility for the performance of their companies. Our executives act not only in the best interests of their individual businesses, but are also committed to the interests of the Group as a whole.
Our corporate culture is based on a mutually beneficial partnership between our employees and the company. Motivated individuals who identify with the company and its values are the driving force behind quality, efficiency, innovation and growth within our corporation. The hallmarks of our participatory leadership approach are mutual trust and respect as well as the principle of delegation of responsibilities. Our employees enjoy autonomy to the greatest extent possible. They receive comprehensive information and participate in decision-making and our financial success. We are committed to the professional development of our employees and seek to provide long-term employment.
The continuity and development of Bertelsmann as an independent entity is ensured by the Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft’s (Bertelsmann Management Company) control of the majority of voting rights. In the view of our shareholders, the possession of property creates an obligation to the community. They believe that, in a market economy, a corporation derives its legitimacy from making a valuable contribution to society. The work of the Bertelsmann Stiftung – to which the majority of Bertelsmann shares has been contributed – is also guided by this principle. Our businesses are managed in accordance with the spirit and the letter of the law. They maintain high standards of ethical conduct and act responsibly toward society and the environment.
We expect everyone at Bertelsmann to adhere to this mission and these core values.