Skip to main content
OCAI culture profile women

Ask me Anything: Best Culture for Men versus Women?

  • 16 November 2017
  • Posted by Marcella Bremer

Is there a difference between the culture profiles of men and women at work? Do they thrive in different cultures? Here’s an interesting question in response to my “Ask Me Anything on Culture” offer, so let’s take a look!

The database of OCAI Online contains the responses of thousands of people across the globe. (In my new book, I’ll share a culture profile of what most people desire at work compared to what they currently experience! Stay tuned! Expected publishing date in December). For now, let’s focus on the difference between men and women in the USA.

The profile graph above shows the current (in red) and preferred culture (in blue) according to more than 3,000 working women.

The profile graph below in this blog post depicts the culture that more than 3,100 men experience and what they’d prefer.

OCAI culture profile men

Here’s the power of the visual culture profiles that the OCAI yields. You can see the differences and similarities immediately. Men and women basically agree on what their workplace culture looks like - and what they’d wish for.

Attention for people

Women experience 30 points of the people-oriented, friendly Clan culture that values collaboration and participation. They’d prefer 8 points more in the future which shift represents a very strong wish in the OCAI methodology. The second most common culture type is the process-oriented, structured Hierarchy culture that values control, efficiency and stability. Currently at 27 points according to women, but it should be reduced with 6 points. Again, a firm statement.

The remaining culture types are at the right-hand side of the quadrant: the entrepreneurial Adhocracy culture (only 18 points now and hoping to increase by 4 points) and the results-oriented, competitive Market culture at 24,50 points that women wish to reduce with 6 points.

Men, too!

And what about the men? Do they experience the same as women? Yes, just a little less outspoken. There’s no huge difference between men and women. Men rate the people-oriented Clan culture at 29 points and hope for “only” a 6 points increase. But otherwise, they agree with their female colleagues:

More Clan culture, more entrepreneurial Adhocracy culture, less results-oriented Market culture and less control-oriented Hierarchy culture, please.

Men and women alike

I’d say that all people, men, and women, prefer a more attention for the human being at work. They aim for more trust, participation, doing things together, being engaged and included, being seen and valued as a whole person, being taken seriously….In general, the shift of the preferred culture profile is upward, with more flexibility and less being bound by procedures and targets, regulations and deadline pressure…

When trusted, we’ll thrive

To all organizations, my unsolicited advice is: let go of too tight control. Most people will positively surprise you when given all the information, resources and responsibility they need to do their jobs. They will engage and make it work. They’ll act reasonably. Moreover, they’ll probably go the extra mile and dazzle you.

What people don’t like is to be treated as cogs in a wheel, as human resources that need to be managed to deliver maximum output with minimum variation.

  • Where could you trust more?
  • Where could you let go of tight control?
  • Let go of your biggest fears regarding trust and control?
  • What degrees of freedom and discretion could you give to your people?
  • How could you engage and include them more?
  • How could you make more time and space for people, instead of solely driving for results and focusing on the task?

In many cases, this can be easier than you think. A little more personal attention will go a long way, even when you keep the hierarchy as it is and focus on improving results. Summarized: when trusted, we’ll thrive! More about this in my upcoming book: “Developing a positive culture where people and performance thrive”.

PS: Do my blog posts and my culture work bring you value? If so, please vote for me at Global Gurus. I'm included as an Organizational Culture Guru.

Scroll to the bottom and register to vote. A high ranking helps me to reach more people and develop more positive workplaces!

With gratitude, Marcella