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Company vs. Corporate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 14, 2023
A company is an organization engaged in business or commercial activities, while corporate refers to anything related to a corporation, typically large businesses with specific legal structures.

Key Differences

A company is an entity formed to conduct business and can range from a small business to a large multinational. Corporate refers to the attributes or characteristics related to such companies, especially larger ones, implying a certain level of formality and structure.
Companies can be of various types, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, each with different legal implications. The term corporate, however, is usually associated specifically with large businesses that have a complex hierarchy and global reach.
The operations of a company may vary widely, from local businesses to international enterprises, each with its unique mission and scope. In contrast, corporate often describes practices or policies that are typical of large, established companies, like corporate governance or corporate social responsibility.
Companies are often defined by their industry, size, and ownership structure. The adjective corporate is used to describe things pertaining to or characteristic of corporations, such as corporate culture or corporate strategy.
The leadership within a company can range from a single owner to a diverse board of directors. The term corporate frequently refers to environments where a board of directors and executive officers govern the strategic decisions.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech


Usage in Sentences

Used to denote a business entity
Used to describe characteristics of corporations

Types and Variations

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations
Corporate governance, corporate culture

Contextual Use

Refers to the entire business organization
Refers to aspects or attributes of corporations

Association with Size

Can refer to businesses of any size
Often associated with larger, more formal business structures

Company and Corporate Definitions


A company can be a group of people assembled for a particular purpose.
The theater company received rave reviews for their latest production.


Corporate refers to something related to a large business or corporation.
He works in the corporate office of a multinational company.


A company is a legal entity formed to conduct business.
She started her own company specializing in eco-friendly products.


Corporate can describe activities or characteristics typical of a corporation.
Their corporate strategy focuses on sustainability and innovation.


A company refers to companionship or association with someone.
He enjoyed the company of his friends during the holiday.


Corporate culture refers to the shared values and practices of a corporation's employees.
The company is known for its inclusive and progressive corporate culture.


A company can also mean being with another person.
She appreciated the company on her long journey.


Corporate social responsibility is a corporation's commitment to ethical and sustainable practices.
Their corporate social responsibility program includes environmental initiatives.


In a military context, a company is a unit of soldiers.
The company was deployed overseas for a peacekeeping mission.


Corporate governance involves the rules and practices that govern a corporation.
Good corporate governance is essential for maintaining investor trust.


A group of persons
A company of scientists.


Formed into a corporation; incorporated
The corporate companies of industrial America.


One's companions or associates
Moved in fast company.
Is known by the company she keeps.


Of or relating to a corporation
Corporate assets.
Corporate culture.


What is a company?

A company is a legal entity engaged in business activities, ranging from small businesses to large corporations.

What does corporate mean?

Corporate refers to characteristics or activities associated with or typical of corporations, often large business entities.

What are the types of companies?

Types of companies include sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations.

Can corporate also mean relating to a corporate body?

Yes, corporate can refer to anything related to a corporate body, including its practices, culture, and governance.

What is the role of a company's board of directors?

A company's board of directors oversees the company's management, ensuring it acts in the best interest of the shareholders.

Does corporate always imply a large size?

Corporate often implies larger size and formal structure, but it can apply to corporate aspects of smaller companies as well.

Is corporate culture only in large companies?

While often associated with large companies, corporate culture can exist in businesses of any size.

Can a small business be a company?

Yes, a small business can be a company, as the term 'company' covers businesses of all sizes.

What is corporate governance?

Corporate governance refers to the system of rules, practices, and processes by which a corporation is directed and controlled.

Can a company operate internationally?

Yes, many companies, especially corporations, operate on an international scale.

Does a company have to be registered?

In most cases, companies need to be legally registered to operate.

What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a corporation's initiative to assess and take responsibility for its effects on environmental and social wellbeing.

What is a corporate merger?

A corporate merger is the combining of two or more companies into a single corporate entity, often to expand business operations or market reach.

What is a corporate strategy?

A corporate strategy is a business plan or policy designed at the corporate level, often focusing on overall goals and initiatives.

What is a company's mission statement?

A company's mission statement is a formal summary of its aims and values.

Can a nonprofit be a company?

Yes, a nonprofit can be a type of company, focused on social, educational, or charitable activities rather than profit-making.

How does a company benefit the economy?

Companies contribute to the economy by creating jobs, providing services, and generating tax revenue.

What are corporate taxes?

Corporate taxes are taxes imposed on the profits earned by corporations.

Do all companies have a corporate culture?

Most companies develop a corporate culture, which encompasses the values, behaviors, and beliefs shared by their employees.

What is the difference between a company and a corporation?

A corporation is a specific type of company with a particular legal structure, offering limited liability and other features.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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