These days, cultivating the right company culture is crucial. Organizational culture has a significant impact on your employees' engagement levels, performance, and overall job satisfaction. So what is organizational culture anyways? It is defined as the underlying beliefs, assumptions, values and ways of interacting that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of a business or organization. There are 4 primary types of organizational cultures that can be applied across all types of work environments, regardless of industry, status, or job duty.
For manual labor jobs, organizational culture is often overlooked. Although industrial workers may not have the same goals as those working office jobs, it is still important to engage these workers to ensure they feel motivated and respected. Why? Because these employees are the foundation of many businesses. From construction to agriculture, working class employees play an instrumental role that significantly impacts the overall success of many corporations. Having a strong team of industrial workers will not only enhance the company’s productivity, but also its efficiency in the long run.
Your company’s culture determines what type of job applicants will be attracted to your company, so it is important you are fostering a positive culture among all employees within your organization to attract the best talent possible. So how do you establish a strong company culture? You must first understand what the dimensions of company culture are, as well as the 4 types of organizational cultures seen most often in today’s world.
The Dimensions of Company Culture
To better understand the dimensions of company culture it is helpful to reference
Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, which compares and contrasts the variants in cultures seen across over 50 countries. Based on this framework, company cultures are influenced by these six cultural dimensions:
Power Distance – This dimension measures the difference in rank and authority within organizations. The greater the power distance, the more prevalent hierarchies are in the workplace. The less power distance, the more management will consult and interact with employees, which often serves as a competitive advantage for many.
Collectivism vs Individualism – This dimension examines how much a culture feels an obligation to the group. Individualist cultures expect individuals to take care of themselves, whereas collectivist cultures embody greater loyalty and responsibility to the group as a whole.
Uncertainty Avoidance – This dimension measures how tolerant a company is to risk, ambiguity, and uncertainty. High uncertainty avoidance results in stricter rules and regulations, in an attempt to reduce risk and assert control. Low uncertainty avoidance allows for more relaxed rules and encourages some level of risk-taking.
Femininity vs Masculinity – Feminine cultures are nurturing, cooperative, modest, and focus on the quality of life of their team members. On the other hand, masculine cultures pride themselves on demonstrating behavior that is assertive, competitive, and achievement-driven.
Short-Term vs Long-Term Orientation – This dimension involves the time frame that a culture is concerned with. Short-term orientation focuses on the immediate future and will pursue quick results to secure its success. Long-term orientation pragmatically delays short-term results in pursuit of long-term gains.
Restraint vs Indulgence – This dimension looks at a culture’s perspective on gratifying desires and having fun. Cultures that show greater restraint often do so through stricter, more suppressive social norms. Indulgent cultures allow people to gratify their desires freely and value having fun.
With these dimensions in mind, you can analyze the following company cultures accordingly to determine what type of organizational culture your business falls within. Remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” within these dimensions. They simply point to the different underlying values within an organization.
4 Types of Organizational Culture
Based on research done by Robert Quinn and Kim Cameron at the University of Michigan, there are four basic types of organizational culture. Each of these cultures have competing values and unique attributes, resulting in different benefits and drawbacks.
Let’s explore these types and learn how you can implement the one that’s right for your company.
Promote Collaboration with a Clan Culture
The first type of culture is called “clan culture.” Clans are defined as close-knit groups of families. Consequently, clan culture is the most family-like in the way it values teamwork, mentorship, and collaboration. There is less distance between higher-ups and employees, allowing each employee's contribution to be heard and valued. It’s also known for its flexibility.
Here are the pros and cons of clan culture:
Pros: This type of work culture results in high employee engagement, as each person is encouraged to contribute ideas, regardless of their rank. Next, this culture’s flexibility helps it effectively adapt to changing market conditions.
Cons: Clan culture is less compatible with larger companies, where a vertical management strategy is required to ensure proper organization. Next, some applicants won’t like the family-oriented style of clan culture if they prefer to keep their professional life on the formal side.
Clan Organizational Culture Examples:
You’ll often find clan cultures in smaller companies, especially startups. Tom’s of Maine is a clan culture company that’s found lasting success while maintaining their values of collaboration, compassion, and a positive work environment. An understanding of how to create a positive work environment is essential to clan cultures, as these employees rely on the support of their leaders and fellow team members.
How To Implement a Clan Culture
If you’re managing a startup or small company, this type of culture may appeal to you. To implement a clan culture, simply start by encouraging communication with your employees. Allow them to contribute their ideas and feedback. Emphasize team building activities and make sure each employee feels valued and empowered in the company.
Get Creative with an Adhocracy Culture
Innovation is the defining feature of adhocracy cultures. Through risk-taking and creativity, adhocracy cultures operate on the cutting-edge. Employees are encouraged to cultivate their creativity in a variety of ways to fuel further innovation. Succeeding in the market is of paramount importance, so these types of companies are always closely monitoring market trends and patterns to strengthen their decision-making processes.
Here are the pros and cons of this work culture:
Pros: Companies with an adhocracy culture often enjoy greater profit margins and fame, since they’re always one step ahead of the competition. They’re highly adaptable to change, due to their innovative nature. They keep creative employees highly engaged and encourage their professional development.
Cons: Adhocracy cultures aren’t for everyone. Risky ventures always involve the possibility of failure. Also, adhocracy cultures can promote excessive competition amongst employees, as they each strive to contribute the most innovative idea.
Adhocracy Organizational Culture Examples:
Some famous adhocracy style companies are leading tech innovators, like Google and Facebook. Any company that must consistently innovate to stay in business is a good fit for an adhocracy culture.
How To Implement an Adhocracy Culture
If you are an entrepreneurial type, this culture may be perfect for your business. To promote an adhocracy culture in your company, start with the following steps:
Develop a forum for sharing new ideas.
Hire innovative people.
Compete to Win With a Market Culture
Market culture is ruthlessly results-oriented. In turn, it’s the most aggressive of the four types. Market culture companies are characterized by a greater distance between management and employees. Employees are rewarded or punished based on their performance and compete to win. While all industries can follow any type of organizational culture, industrial workers usually fall within the competitive culture category. In these types of jobs, there is a clear distinction between the different levels of management and employees are expected to have a certain level of performance on a daily basis. Even though this style of organizational culture is more rigid than the rest, employers are still expected to create a positive working environment that encourages all employees to work towards a common goal.
Here are the pros and cons of this competitive culture:
Pros: Market cultures often produce stable business growth and enjoy great success. Driven employees can expect a prosperous career path with job security. The emphasis on external results may also help ambitious employees focus their efforts.
Cons: Since market culture companies are so results-oriented, job satisfaction among employees can fall by the wayside. Employees won’t enjoy as much individual attention or flexible benefits within this framework. They may be more prone to burnout, chronic stress, and be forced to endure toxic work environments.
Market Organizational Culture Examples:
You can spot a market culture company by its hyperfocus on achievement benchmarks. For example, quotas and KPIs are commonly used in these companies to measure success. Due to the emphasis on achievement, market culture companies often become industry powerhouses, like Amazon and General Electric.
How To Implement a Market Culture
To promote a market culture, start by defining your company's goals and setting benchmarks to achieve them. Incentivize your employees to reach their numbers. Promote an attitude that you’re competing in the market to win and hire people who share this same level of ambition.
Establish Control and Stability With a Hierarchy Culture
Hierarchy culture values efficiency, stability, and control. As its name suggests, the hierarchy of leadership is respected in this culture. Management is clearly defined. These companies focus on doing things the “right way,” resulting in formalized procedures and protocols. In turn, they are characterized by predictability, uniformity, and consistency.
The pros and cons of this culture are:
Pros: Hierarchy cultures are very well organized and efficient. They enjoy lasting stability. They function well due to their close monitoring of processes and protocols, rules and regulations. Their employees have clear expectations placed upon them.
Cons: Hierarchy culture’s rigidity is both a blessing and a curse. With such an emphasis on formality and order, creativity and flexibility take a back seat. As a result, these companies are less adaptable to change, which can harm their success and ability to meet long-term goals. They also leave little room for employee feedback.
Hierarchy Organizational Culture Examples:
Traditional bureaucratic organizations usually use a hierarchy structure. Government agencies, like the Department of Motor Vehicles and the military, are great examples.
How To Implement a Hierarchy Culture
To establish a hierarchy culture at your company, start by clearly defining the hierarchy of leadership. Next, dial in your day-to-day processes and norms. Be detail-oriented and define specific protocols that must be adhered to. Focus on efficiency. Hire people who are willing to respect the chain of command and value stability themselves.
Enhance Your Organizational Culture Today
As you can see, company cultures can differ drastically. All types of organizational cultures have strengths, but the right culture for your company depends on your goals and core values. Cultivating your company culture takes time and won’t happen overnight. However, with a vision and consistent implementation effort, organizational change is totally possible.
Regardless of which overall organizational structure your company fits into, one cohesive factor is that companies need to value their employees. One study found that 78% of workers quit because of lack of engagement, career advancement, or other factors that are considered regrettable turnover. Now this isn’t just for office workers, this goes for everyone. These results show that regardless of what organizational culture you choose to follow, the important thing to do is to make sure your employees feel valued above all else. Once you are able to establish a healthy, supportive, and positive working environment, you can then tailor your vision to focus on specific goals and your organizational structure. But remember, every company is different, which means you have to find what works best for you and your team.
When revamping your organizational culture, think about the offerings that your employees will benefit most from. Should you implement incentives? Do you value innovative and creative thinkers? Whether you’re employees are working on an assembly line or are in an office building, it’s important that you are meeting their needs so they can perform their job to the best of their abilities.
A great way to bolster company culture for industrial workers is by showing you prioritize their health and safety. Boot World’s Corporate Footwear Program is a great example of a program that does just that. This program ensures superior protection for your employees’ feet by providing industry leading safety-toe and non-slip shoes. When you consider that 75% of all foot injuries at work happened because workers wore improper footwear, you realize the important role footwear plays in many industrial jobs. By proactively keeping your employees safe you are not only avoiding unnecessary costs associated with workers compensation, but you are ensuring your employees feel valued and are contributing towards a strong company culture.
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