Corporate Culture: 4 types of company cultures

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Having a strong corporate culture is necessary for the success of the company.

Indeed, not only does the company culture bring a sense of unity and belonging to the team, but it also helps the workers know what the company stands for and make sound decisions in line with the company’s values. It has many other advantages including increasing the revenue and attracting talents.

It is safe to say that investing in company culture design is worth it and, to be honest, unavoidable.

Even if you invest in the company culture, you have to invest in the right way to confirm that the culture you are building (1) is strong enough to resist time and growth and (2) fitting with what the company stands for.

Types of Corporate Cultures

The first step in designing a company culture is to lay the foundations. What kind of culture do you want to build? There exist four different broad families of corporation cultures.

Clan Culture

Referred to as Collaborate Culture is basically putting the relationships between the individuals at the forefront of the company’s culture.

In Clan culture, the employees’ well-being, the work environment, the relationships, and cooperation are the main keywords forming the culture.

Managers, rather than the authority who has the last word and makes decisions, are mentors.

You will often see employees working in such companies talking about how their coworkers are like their family.



For who?

This kind of culture fits small companies but might be strenuous to maintain as the company grows, although it is not impossible.

Zappos, the shoe and clothing giant, is the prime example of appreciable clan culture.

Adhocracy Culture

Known as Create Culture is the culture of all risks. Adhocracy, deriving from ad hoc, promotes a fast-moving, boundaries-breaking type of culture more than having a clear plan for the future.

The company pushes the employees to innovate, take risks, and think beyond the box to break through.



For who?

Startups in fast-growing markets, tech, and high Research-&-Development-markets companies are well-suited for this corporate culture.

Successful examples of adhocracy include Amazon and NASA.

Hierarchy Culture

Also known as Control Culture is the corporate culture of structure and order. It is the culture closest to the “traditional” corporation-style culture. The main characteristics are that this culture uses a top-down approach, which means that ideas and new policies flow from the top of the company – namely, the CEO, the COO, etc. – to the bottom – the front-line workers.

The corporation favours structure, order, and the functioning of a well-organized machine over freethinking and innovation.



For who?

Still, this kind of corporate culture is suited for work environments where procedures and stability are required. A prime example is the typical governmental bureaucracy. In such an environment, it is crucial to follow the rules and procedures; a hierarchical culture is suitable.

Market Culture

Commonly known as Compete Culture is the culture of results. This model emphasizes competitiveness in the market but also among the employees.

Employees, and the company, are goal-focused, customer-focused, and results-oriented. They bring results in whatever they undertake.

The goals set for each employee are challenging. Their performance is closely monitored. It is not rare for them to get rewarded or punished.

It is the most aggressive corporate culture and the total opposite of clan culture. Indeed, whereas clan culture puts individuals first, results are the drivers of the market culture.



For who?

Big corporations in highly competitive markets fit best this kind of culture.

These companies must have a leader that is always hungry for success and pushes their employees to the best of their capacity. One of the most famous instances is Steve Jobs with Apple.


The company management can adapt the four types of culture to their business. Those are the foundations you want to use to build your corporate culture.


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