Understanding different types of company cultures; their pros and cons

88 per cent of employees believe that a distinct workplace culture is important.

A call centre/
A call centre/

Hubspot defines company culture as a shared set of values, behaviour and a shared vision of a particular workplace that contribute to the environment of an organization.

It's the company culture that outlines the values of a company and drives the company under a common vision.

A company's culture is its personality since it outlines shared behaviours and beliefs that govern the team's interactions and decision-making.

A Deloitte Survey found that 94 per cent of executives and 88 per cent of employees believe that a distinct workplace culture is important for business success.

The same survey also showed that 87 per cent of organizations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges.

Considering the work of business Professors Robert E. Quinn and Kim Cameron who did foundational research on company culture, there are four main types of corporate company cultures.

Kim Cameron explains that these corporate cultures are not made up, rather they emerged from empirical analysis of data from a large number of organizations.

The result of their research is that almost 90 per cent of organizations worldwide can be categorized as having one or more of these culture types dominate in their organization.

The difference in these culture types does not guarantee one is inherently better than the other since they all have their strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages.

The four major company cultures are clan culture, adhocracy culture, market culture and hierarchy culture as discussed below;

 Clan Culture

This culture can also be referred to as collaborative culture. Here co-workers relate to each other as family, an indication that they're working as a clan. A lot of emphasis is placed on teamwork and togetherness.

It is characterized by a friendly working environment where relationships, participation, morale and consensus take centre stage. Manager's here are looked to as mentors rather than figureheads who give out instructions and reprimands.

The strengths of this culture include having a happy team that genuinely enjoys working together translates into a happy and lively working environment.

Another benefit is improved communication due to the prevailing rapport between employees.                                             

The weakness of this culture is that too much closeness or unnecessary chatter can send productivity into a nose-dive.

Also, there can be difficulty in making tough decisions when other people's feelings are of high priority.

  Adhocracy Culture

This culture lives by the 'move fast and break things' philosophy that's popular among many start-ups and hence also referred to as the 'create culture'.

Quinn and Cameron explain that this type of culture fosters a very entrepreneurial type of work environment where employees are encouraged to aggressively pursue off-the-wall ideas and take risks.

Its strengths include a high level of psychological safety which gives employees a sense of security to try new things.

It also creates an environment for a huge amount of innovation and growth for the employees and the organization as a whole.                                      

On the bad side, there is a lack of stability resulting from so much being invested in new initiatives.

There is also a sense of intimidation for them that don't have the expertise to work quickly and aggressively.                                       

   Market Culture

This is also called the 'compete culture' because it lays its emphasis on results.

Here, people basically want to accomplish what they set out to do.

Employees are highly goal-oriented and leaders are demanding and tough in order to achieve the company's success metrics.

This can be a high-pressure environment but simultaneously a rewarding one when the hard work pays off with measurable results. 

On the positive side, this culture enables employees to be goal-driven and hence highly motivated.

It also creates an environment where everybody's relentless commitment to success improves the company's performance.               

On the negative side, the constant spirit of competition can result in a toxic working environment.

Additionally, employees can experience stress and even burnout from the constant pressure.                                       

  Hierarchy Culture

This is also known as a 'control culture' and applies to work environments that are more structured and process-oriented.

Here most activities and decisions are dictated by existing procedures, rather than free thinking and innovation.

Leaders are here to make sure their teams run smoothly as they place their focus on results, stability and reliable delivery.

A good number of government organizations subscribe to this culture because they face a lot of regulations and are often under a fair share of scrutiny.

This is mainly because they have to do things by the book, so to say.

Additionally, paths to advancement are also clearly outlined for employees.                                         

This culture creates clarity in communication and expectations since nearly everything is prescribed.

Besides, employees experience a greater sense of security and predictability. 

However, there is too much rigidity which can inhibit innovation and growth because people are afraid to venture outside the set boundaries.

This culture also creates an environment where procedures are prioritised over people.

These cultures shift depending on the teams on board and the project nature.

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