Types of organizational culture

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Types of organizational culture
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Companies develop culture as they evolve and this culture is often influenced by the location and society in which the company is located. In recent times the difference in organizational culture is narrowing mainly because of technology. Widely observed organizational cultures are[1]:

  1. Clan Culture – It is a family-like or tribe-like type of corporate environment that emphasizes consensus and commonality of goals and values. They are the most collaborative and the least competitive of the four models.
  2. Adhocracy culture – It is a flexible, adaptable and informal form of organization that is defined by a lack of formal structure. It operates in an opposite fashion to a bureaucracy.
  3. Market Culture - It is a type of corporate culture that emphasizes competitiveness not only between the organization and its market competitors but also between employees. The market model is the most aggressive and capitalistic of the four.
  4. Hierarchy Culture – It is an organizational model based on clearly defined corporate levels and structures. In this items are ranked according to their levels of importance.

What is organizational culture?

Organizational culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, customs, practices, and social behaviors of an organization. It is the underlying characteristics that shape the way people think, feel, and behave within an organization. Organizational culture encompasses a wide range of elements, including:

  • Values: The fundamental beliefs and principles that guide an organization's actions and decision-making.
  • Norms: The unwritten rules and expectations that govern behavior within an organization.
  • Symbols: The visual and tangible elements that represent an organization's culture, such as logos, uniforms, and office design.
  • Language: The words, phrases, and jargon that are used within an organization to communicate and convey meaning.
  • Assumptions: The underlying assumptions and beliefs that shape the way people think and behave within an organization.
  • Rituals: The practices and ceremonies that are repeated regularly and serve to reinforce the culture of an organization.
  • Heroes: The individuals or groups that are held up as examples of the organization's culture and values.
  • Stories: The narratives that are told within an organization to convey its history, values, and culture.

Organizational culture is important because it shapes the way people think, feel, and behave within an organization, and it can have a significant impact on an organization's performance, productivity, and overall success. A strong, positive culture can lead to improved employee engagement, increased innovation, and better decision-making, while a weak or negative culture can lead to low morale, high turnover, and poor performance.


  1. "Types of organisational culture" (1999) by Maurice B. Line, published by: MCB UP Ltd.