Company Culture: Expectations vs. Reality

In their bookCompeting Values ​​Leadership, Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn, researchers at the University of Michigan, investigated thousands of multinationals, SMEs and start-ups to identify four main types of corporate cultures and analyze their underlying dynamics. Discover the essence of your corporate culture, as well as its daily challenges!

Clan Culture

Example: Google, Netflix, many tech start-ups

It is a collaborative and friendly environment, in which individuals come together around common values. Communication, as well as mentoring, are strongly encouraged and each individual is valued for their uniqueness. This type of culture is often associated with a flat structure and a great openness to change.  It is characterized by a high rate of employee engagement and excellent loyalty.

Challenges : With a flat structure, daily operations can lack direction. It is also difficult to maintain this type of environment when the company grows.

Adhocratic Culture

Example: Tesla, Genentech, Facebook

An adhocracy is a dynamic and innovative environment where risk-taking, creativity and agility are valued. The spirit of entrepreneurship is a common value. Employees remain motivated because the intellectual stimulation and professional development are undeniable.

Challenges : Adhocracy can foster competition among employees and constant pressure in the race for the best ideas.

The Culture of Hierarchy

Example: government institutions, Starbucks, Bombardier

More traditional, these organizations prioritize security and stability. Many chains of command separate management from employees. They often have to respect a dress code. Hierarchical cultures have a clear direction and there are well-defined processes that meet the organization’s primary goals.

Challenges : This type of environment leaves little room for creativity. The organization takes priority over the individual, which does not encouragefeedbackof employees, conditionsine qua noneto the competitiveness of the company.

Market Culture

Example: Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Apple under the reign of Steve Jobs

This type of culture is mainly focused on profit and conquering new market shares. Everything is valued based on the bottom line; each position has a purpose that fits directly into the business plan and there are often several degrees of separation between employees and management. There is a lot of competition, even between colleagues.

Issues: These companies emphasize external success rather than internal satisfaction, which makes the concrete commitment of resources more difficult.

After discerning the essence of your company’s culture and understanding its challenges, you will be able to understand the dynamics at work and combine the values ​​with the company’s objectives.

Are you still unsure about your company culture? Authors Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn have created a test that will help youunderstand the culture of your organization!


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