Skip to main content
quadrant roles and personality

Competing Values Leadership: quadrant roles and personality

  • 04 February 2011
  • Posted by Marcella Bremer

After doing the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (developed by Cameron & Quinn), people sometimes wonder how they personally fit into the current and preferred organizational culture types. Should they change their work style or leadership style to facilitate the desired culture change? The answer is yes: organizational culture change requires the personal change of a critical mass of organization members.

Interesting enough, the Competing Values Framework (CVF) that's the basis of the OCAI tool, can be related to the "Big Five" personality traits and the MBTI and the four psychological types discovered by Carl Gustav Jung. The eight leadership roles that Robert Quinn defines in each quadrant of the CVF (see his book "Becoming a Master Manager") also correspond with these four/five traits. Let's take a look!

OCAI culture types and Jung / MBTI

Jung discerned some basic types of human personality, based on polarities:

  • introvert versus extravert: a preference for attention to the inner or the outer world
  • thinking as opposed to feeling: a preference for decision making in a rational, detached, logical manner or in a more subjective, feeling committed personal manner.
  • Also, people seem to have a preference for either sensing or intuition: taking in information with their separate senses or as a whole, as a Gestalt, with their intuition.

This psychological typology forms the basis of the well-known personality traits assessment: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI was adapted by Myers and Briggs from this Jung typology, but you can still see the similarity.

Let's take a look at the Competing Values Framework. If you take Jung's typology, you can argue that flexibility versus stability (upper and lower part of the CVF-quadrant) relate to feeling versus thinking. The axis with internal versus external focus (left and right-hand side of the CVF-quadrant) looks like introvert versus extravert. This is how Insights® Discovery uses both models. Insights® provides a method to assess personal workstyles based on Jung and the CVF.

In short, you'd have these connections between culture type and psychological type:

Clan Culture = introvert + feeling
Adhocracy Culture = extravert + feeling
Market Culture = extravert + thinking
Hierarchy Culture = introvert + thinking

Next tho this subdivision, all psychological types can prefer either sensing or intuition.

OCAI and the Big Five of personality

Another interesting typology, developed by American psychologists, is the Big Five or the Five Factor Model of personality: they found five personality traits that make people different.

  1. Openness (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
  2. Conscientiousness– (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
  3. Extraversion– (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
  4. Agreeableness– (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind)
  5. Neuroticism– (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident).

You can remember these five traits with OCEAN or CANOE.

Research suggests that if someone is emotionally stable (with a low score on Neuroticism), the four traits above are the best qualities that a change manager or effective leader could possess. This means: being open to new information and experiences, working cautiously and conscientious, being easy to collaborate with as well as an extravert and assertive if necessary. So the most effective leaders are those who keep learning and developing, that are accountable, with a positive, outgoing attitude towards other people, and who stand up for their team or organization if needed.

Above all, the researchers (Alan Basen & Nancy Frank) found that the first four traits of the Big Five correspond with the CVF-OCAI quadrant.

Clan Culture = Agreeableness
Adhocracy Culture = Openness
Market Culture = Extraversion
Hierarchy Culture = Conscientiousness

OCAI and Quinn's management roles

Robert Quinn elaborates on the eight competing roles that managers play in their organization, to be effective. These are related to the CVF:

Clan Culture = Collaborate!
Roles: Facilitator and Mentor

Adhocracy Culture = Create!
Roles: Innovator and Broker

Market Culture = Compete!
Roles: Director and Producer

Hierarchy Culture = Control!
Roles: Monitor and Coordinator

We will discuss these roles in another blog post. For now, this gives an overview of how leadership roles and personal behavior are related to organizational behavior and culture.

OCAI and Personal Profiles

Conclusion: if you want to get more grip on where you stand and what you might need to change to enhance the preferred culture, you could check out these personality assessments that are related to the Competing Values Framework. It's great that there's a validated basis to do so. Knowing yourself better is the first step to self-management and change. A better understanding of others is your next step to influencing and persuading, leading and guiding sustainable (culture) change in organizations.

© Marcella Bremer

Literature: Competing Values Leadership: quadrant roles and personality traits by Alan Belasen and Nancy Frank in Leadership and Organization Development Journal Vol. 29 No. 2, 2008 pp. 127-143.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.