Skip to main content

Organizational Culture Types

Mapping those two dimensions of “competing values” you get four organizational culture types:

  • the dynamic, entrepreneurial Create Culture
  • the people-oriented, friendly Collaborate Culture
  • the process-oriented, structured Control Culture
  • the results-oriented, competitive Compete Culture

These organizational culture types are also known as Adhocracy culture, Clan culture, Hierarchy culture, and Market culture (Cameron & Quinn).

Create Culture (Adhocracy Culture)

This is a dynamic and creative working environment. Employees take risks. Leaders are seen as innovators and risk takers. Experiments and innovation are a way of bonding. Prominence is emphasized. The long-term goal is to grow and create new resources. The availability of new products or services is seen as a success. The organization promotes individual initiative and freedom.

  • Do new things: create, innovate, envision the future
  • Transformational Change
  • Handle discontinuity, change, and risk
  • Freedom of thought and action, rule-breaking
  • Thoughtful experimentation, learning from mistakes, failing fast
  • Roles like entrepreneurs and visionaries
  • Visionaries inclined toward risk, not afraid of uncertainty

Typical in sectors like technical start-ups, technology-driven industries (communications, sustainability), but also disruptive services like Airbnb, Uber.

Collaborate Culture (Clan Culture)

This working environment is friendly. People have a lot in common, and it feels like a large family. The leaders are seen as mentors or maybe even father figures. The organization is held together by loyalty and tradition. There is great involvement. They emphasize long-term Human Resource Development. Success is defined within the framework of addressing the needs of the clients and caring for the people. The organization promotes teamwork, participation, and consensus.

  • Do things together: build teams, people matter
  • Long-term Change
  • Commitment, empowerment, cohesion, engagement
  • Human development
  • Collective wisdom, long-lasting partnerships, and relationships
  • Roles like a mentor and a coach
  • Wary of conflict

Typical in sectors like health care, education, some government agencies, not-for-profits.

Control Culture (Hierarchy Culture)

This is a formalized and structured workplace. Procedures direct what people do. Leaders are proud of efficiency-based coordination and organization. Keeping the organization functioning smoothly is most crucial. Formal rules and policies keep the organization together. The long-term goals are stability and results, paired with an efficient and smooth execution of tasks. Reliable delivery, continuous planning, and low cost define success. The personnel management has to guarantee work and predictability.

  • Do things right: eliminate errors
  • Incremental Change
  • Attention to details, careful decisions, precise analysis
  • Increase consistency and reliability, well-informed experts
  • Better processes and efficiency, routines
  • Roles like organizers and administrators
  • Conservative, cautious, logical problem solvers

Typical in sectors like medicine, nuclear power, military, government, banking and insurance, transportation.

Compete Culture (Market Culture)

This is a results-based workplace that emphasizes targets, deadlines, and getting things done. People are competitive and focused on goals. Leaders are hard drivers, producers, and rivals. They can be tough with high expectations. The emphasis on winning keeps the organization together. Reputation and success are the most important. Long-term focus is on rival activities and reaching goals. Market dominance, achieving your goals, and great metrics are the definitions of success. Competitive prices and market leadership are important. The organizational style is based on competition.

  • Do things fast: compete, move fast, play to win
  • Fast Change
  • Customer satisfaction, attack competitors, shareholder value
  • Speed: results-right-now, getting things done, achieving goals
  • Acquire other firms, outsource selected processes,
  • Deliver results, make fast decisions, solve problems
  • Leaders are hard-driving, directive, commanding, demanding

Typical of sectors like consultancy, accountancy, sales and marketing, services, manufacturing.

Continue with the OCAI Assessment.