Organizational culture of a company – Types of cultures

[June 2022 update] To understand and capture what organizational culture is today in a company, we must remember how the business world has changed over the last several years. We’ve moved from the industrial age to the information age, and we’ve come to understand that regardless of whether we’re running a business or working as an employee, our most important asset is our intellectual property and know-how. Focusing on development, and particularly on creating the right conditions for effective development, is crucial today for both organizations and individuals.


What is organizational culture? – definition

The culture of a company, also referred to as the culture of an organization, corporate culture, or corporate culture, is considered a basic tool for managing an organization.

Bogdan Nogalski (a prominent Polish economist and professor in the field of organizational management) defines organizational culture as social norms and a system of values that motivate employees.

Michael Armstrong (a global expert in human resources management) in his book “Managing Human Resources” wrote:

Organizational culture, also known as corporate culture, constitutes an established pattern of values, norms, beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions that shape the behavior of people and the ways in which tasks are performed. Values relate to what is considered important in the behavior of people and the organization. Norms are unwritten rules of behavior.

Organizational culture primarily builds ties within the organization and a group identity. As a result, it shapes the engagement and productivity of employees. (Cameron Kim S., Quinn Robert E., Organizational Culture – Diagnosis and Change, Krakow, 2003).

When talking about the culture of a company, it’s worth mentioning such business slogans as “well-being” or “work-life balance” (check out well-being in Motivizer). This is not a temporary trend. It should not surprise anyone, after all, each of us wants to treat our work as a positive part of life, a second home, not a unpleasant daily necessity. The biggest influence on what we feel and how we perceive our employer is the organizational culture of the company. It forms the basis for creating a successful business, in which not only the product, but also the employees have a huge impact on building the value of the enterprise (such a tool for building the culture of a company is a cafeteria system). Perhaps some are familiar with the OCAI questionnaire, created by Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn, which is used to evaluate organizational culture.

4 types of organizational cultures according to Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn – examples

Kim Sterling Cameron, a professor of management and organization at William Russell Kelly’s Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, together with Robert Quinn, identified four basic types of cultures, defined by two dimensions: “internal vs external orientation” and “flexibility vs stability”. They are as follows:

Clan culture

The clan culture is a work place that is friendly and reminiscent of a big family. Here, people in management positions take on the role of advisers, sometimes giving a sense of security similar to parents. Such an organization is characterized by dedication to tradition and a high level of employee loyalty. Employees feel that they benefit from being engaged because through this engagement, they gain personal development and support. Teamwork and human resource development are the most important here.

Adhocracy culture

Adhocracy culture – Long live creativity! Here, dynamics, lack of resistance to risk-taking and a desire for experimentation reigns. The organization is based on growth, offering unique solutions and services and being pioneers. The position of a leader, initiative and freedom of behavior are important.

Hierarchy culture

Hierarchy culture – here, strict hierarchy is important. Procedures and formalities are most important. Management positions are characterized by high levels of organization and coordination. Everything is consistent and transparent thanks to regulations and rules. This gives a sense of security and stability, because work becomes predictable. Employees adhere to schedules, so their work becomes highly efficient.

Market culture

Market culture – here, task accomplishment and results are the most important. Achieving KPI, ambition, and goal attainment are crucial. Employees must be oriented towards competitiveness and a desire to win, success is the most important for them. A measure of success is the company’s market share and its constant increase. In such an organization, fierce competition is promoted.


Which organizational culture is the most effective?

What is the key to success? Which of the cultures is the most effective? In fact, there are no clear answers to these questions. After all, there are no identical two companies, organizations, or teams that work in them. Therefore, comparing organizational cultures to each other makes no sense. Each company is different, each is characterized by different assumptions and has its unique DNA. However, it is crucial to extract the most important elements for a given organization.



Advantages of implementing an organizational culture

  • employees can understand the mission and strategy of the company and know what they should strive for
  • employees can easily integrate with each other, which helps in effective work
  • the team is more engaged
  • it is easier to evaluate work and create an attractive system of rewards and benefits
  • the language, tools, and “mood” of the organization are unified
  • norms and boundaries are established, and conflicts are regulated as a result
  • clear guidelines for internal feedback are created, regardless of whether it is at the level of manager -> employee or vice versa




“Culture is for recruitment what product is for marketing” – this is the culture code of HubSpot, which is an American developer and seller of software products for inbound marketing, sales and customer service. It is impossible not to agree with this. It is indeed the core on which you can build further development and success of a given organization. The most important thing is the decision – how do you want your organization and its culture to look like, and then you need to start building it.