U05: TOMS – A Business with a Giving Culture

Blake Mycoskie, owner and founder of TOMS shoes, had a dream in 2006 when visiting Argentina and it was to provide shoes to children in need (TOMS, 2016). Since 2006 they have given 60 million pairs of shoes to children, eyewear to 400,000 since 2011, their coffee company have provided 335,000 weeks of safe water since their launching in 2014, and they have helped 25,000 mothers have safe births since the beginning of this year (TOMS, 2016). This is no small feat for a company.

TOMS has a successful business culture because they recognize a cause and do everything within their power to work with those in need to better their lives. TOMS’ core values were rated within the top 100 at YFS Magazine. Their core values are:

  1. Give Sustainably. Give Responsibly.
  2. Giving Partnerships
  3. Identify Communities That Need Shoes
  4. Give Shoes That Fit
  5. Help Our Shoes Have a Bigger Impact
  6. Give Children Shoes As They Grow
  7. Welcome Feedback and Help Us Improve (Staff, 2016).

TOMS works with other countries and cultures every day. They have employees and teams that help find causes and people in need. This brings into light that of globalism and multiculturalism because these members have to be open to learning and understanding what is important in other cultures. What is valued here in the United States, does not mean that’s what others value. Globalism “is the connection of countries from around the world in many different domains such as economics, government, culture, and any other human idea or product” (Global Policy Forum, 2015). The key goal here is to exchange ideas from one region of the world to another and to incorporate social movements that eliminate dilemmas and crises such as no dirty drinking water,  giving mothers safety during birth, and not allowing children to go without shoes. Globalism leads to multiculturalism by making people from different cultures and countries feel connected and with the internet, contact and awareness is available like never before (Penn State, n.d.).

TOMS is an excellent example of a multicultural company that tries to rid the world of a few of it’s dilemmas and crises. They have a strong set of core values and open mindsets to accept other cultures and beliefs, so that they can overcome these issues and help people in need. This is the core of multiculturalism; working together to create solutions to help people in need and the countries to progress (Penn State, n.d.). They ensure that their standards are met even after they have incorporated changes, they take care of their employees by offering a wide range of benefits, and they strive to never stop growing, incorporating new ideas, and working with other countries to help find solutions to some of their dilemmas.



Global Policy Forum. (2015). Globalization. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from https://www.globalpolicy.org/globalization.html

Penn State University. (n.d.). Lesson 12: Globalism/multicultural issues. Lecture at Pennsylvania State University, PSY: 533 Ethics and Leadership in World Campus Fall Semester 2016

Staff Contributors. (2013, February 01). Company culture: An inside look at 100 core values from 15 winning companies. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://yfsmagazine.com/2013/02/01/company-culture-an-inside-look-at-100-core-values-from-15-winning-companies/

TOMS. (2016). TOMS Corporate Responsibility. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.toms.com/corporate-responsibility/


  1. Amber Scott November 30, 2016 at 9:07 PM #


    I think you did a wonderful job in showing how TOMS relates to globalism and multiculturalism. When I hear TOMS i think of shoes and I knew that with each pair another was donated but I was unaware of how TOMS also donated eye wear, glasses, water, and helped mother have safe births. Just as the lesson stated. Just as stated in the lesson TOMS is a great example on how inter connectivity is being increased by the interaction from one culture to the other. Social Responsibility is clearly the ethical climate of TOMS. Their acts of kindness simply by the act of giving shows a desire to do good to to others fits the criteria for this type of climate.

    I am in hopes that more organizations like this continue to be developed and/or discovered throughout the world. It can only create a better place.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Shannon Kathleen McCombie November 20, 2016 at 7:19 PM #

    Erika, your post was a great post to connect globalism and multi-culturalism with the work of TOMS. Your post does a great job at reminding us that even charity and good-natured work can be affected by the challenges of working in various cultures.

    In efforts to help this, Mr. Mycoskie, and those in leadership positions at TOMS, should ensure that the mission is clear – what is the specific task orientation, or what problem are they solving. Clearly, the goal is to use retail to help others, but defining more specifically what that means and the various verticals involved is important. Further, the leaders should ensure that the group is democratic by focusing on ensuring proper means of communication with their counterparts in each country for a variety of reasons to include rapport-building (The Pennsylvania State University, 2016).

    An ethical environment must be maintained and this may need extra attention given that the work is in various countries. For example, varying power distance, uncertainty avoidance, variation in individualism versus collectivism, long-term/short-term orientation and variation in indulgence/restraint will vary between countries and will be important to assure it is tended to in order for the work to be successful to the TOMS mission (The Pennsylvania State University, 2016).

    One’s personal values are affected by his or her cultural values. As TOMS enters each country to do work and to give good deeds, it will be important for the teams to intimately understand these cultural values in order to be successful (The Pennsylvania State University, 2016). I suspect that TOMS is already attune to these various factors given their great success to date. Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post!


    Penn State University (n.d.). Ethical Leadership [Lecture notes]. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1791578

  3. Heather Herring Casey November 20, 2016 at 4:42 PM #

    Erika – What a great example of a positively ethical company! I happen to have the TOMS book on my bookshelf, as I have been intrigued with their business model. Another item that I made note of as I was reading your post, was how definitive the ethical climate of Tom’s is. I have struggled in several situations to identify a clear and distinct ethical climate for some organizations. Tom’s is a very clear example of a Social Responsibility ethical climate based on Victor and Cullen’s definition of ethical climate (Penn State, n.d.). Their criterion of moral reasoning is driven by benevolence, while their perspective of judgment is truly at the largest cosmopolitan level, the world. I would go out on a limb to say that this ethical climate will most certainly drive ethical, versus unethical decisions.

    Thank you for this refreshing example of a company whose values and mission drives a strong ethical climate to make the world a better place.


    Penn State University (n.d.). Ethical Leadership [Lecture notes]. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1791578

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