Which Type of Organizational Culture Best Fits Your Creative Team?

organizational culture


Whether your company is a small startup or a massive corporation, every business has a type of organizational culture. Some of them focus on flexibility and discretion, while other workplace cultures fixate on stability and control. The culture of an organization can have an internal or external focus and may value integration or differentiation.

Though diverse in nature, there are only four types of organizational cultures: clan culture, an adhocracy, market culture, and hierarchical culture. If you have co-workers, you’ve probably been working for a combination of one or more of these throughout your career. To determine which type of organizational culture best fits the needs of your creative team, you have to understand how each culture functions. What are their mentalities, their pros and cons, and how do they fit in with your company vision? By learning this, you can discover which workplace culture is your most-favored working environment.


Clan Culture


Clan culture is very familial. This type of workplace culture has an internal focus and values flexibility over stability or control. Often, a company with a clan culture likes to mentor and nurture their employees. The business wants its employees to work with, support, and trust one another. There is a real sense of community, and employees will have a great deal of workplace motivation.

As an employee-focused culture, clan culture strives to instill cohesion through consensus, job satisfaction, and commitment through employee involvement. These cultures often devote a lot of resources to hiring and developing their staff and view customers as “partners.” Tom’s of Maine, which produces all-natural toothpaste, soaps, and other hygiene products found great success by having a clan culture.

Pros: A supportive team that collaborates well will have great communication. Odds are that the marketing and sales department will be much more in sync. Thus, the hand off of leads from the top to the middle of the marketing funnel will be relatively seamless. There will be less misinformation and make for an easier buyer’s journey.

Cons: Clan cultures exist in less-structured workplaces with fewer rules and policies. A communal workplace is at risk of having a group think mentality. With fewer regulations, there’s a risk that employees will work outside the scope of their roles and take advantage of their workplace culture’s flexibility. Clan cultures also run the risk of being too focused on shared values that it affects the behaviors of employees. Though intriguing in theory, this type of organizational culture can hurt a business.


An Adhocracy


An adhocratic culture is dynamic and entrepreneurial. Adhocracy cultures enjoy an external focus while also valuing flexibility. Creating new products and services is this culture’s strategic thrust, and they accomplish this by being adaptable, creative, and fast to respond to changes in the marketplace.

Adhocratic companies don’t rely on centralized power or authoritative relationships. Their employees are encouraged to take risks, think outside of the box, and experiment with new ways of getting things done.

Pros: A workplace culture that is innovative at its core can disrupt an industry. Shake Shack disrupted the fast food industry by becoming the “anti-chain chain.” GrubHub did the same of ordering in, and GoPro did the same with their high-endurance HD video cameras. With the right idea and savvy, an adhocratic culture can dominate its competition.

Cons: With risk, there is a chance for failure. GoPro took a considerable risk by depending so much on their charismatic founder, Nicholas Woodman, and it could have backfired on them. Being an innovative and flexible company allows for employees to explore their potential, but through the process of trial and error, research, and shortcomings, an adhocratic workplace culture can cost a company a lot of money.


Market Culture


Market cultures are all about getting the job done. They have a strong external focus and value stability and control. Competition is the strategic thrust of these organizations, and they have a desire to deliver results and accomplish goals. This type of workplace culture fixates more on the needs of customers than employee development and satisfaction. It is profit-centric and driven toward productivity.

Pros: A strong focus on results and customer satisfaction can generate a lot of revenue for a business with a market culture. This type of work mentality can foster a lot of leads, a strong and loyal customer base, and could potentially become an industry leader. Amazon, Apple, and Starbucks are great examples of companies with a market culture that have done just that.

Cons: Market cultures tend not to put enough value on employees or employee satisfaction. While this type of organization culture might garner a strong, loyal client base, there’s no focus on the company’s infrastructure. Without a well-trained creative team, there’s the risk of having poor communication. Information may be misplaced or misguided, and potential clients may be lost somewhere in the marketing funnel.


Hierarchical Culture


A culture with a hierarchy sees control as it’s strategic thrust. This culture has an internal focus, which produces a more formalized and structured work environment. Hierarchical cultures value stability and control over flexibility. Their orientation leads to the development of reliable internal processes, extensive measurement, and the implementation of multiple control mechanisms. A company with a hierarchical workplace culture likely assesses itself with measurements like safety, quality, time management, and efficiency.

Pros: Having a hierarchy in place means that there’s a focus on measuring the values of individuals, teams, and how things can be improved. By having objective performance measurements, it’s easy for a manager or an employee to see where they are excelling and how they can improve. With the right combination of personalities in a hierarchical culture, this type of working environment can dominate all the rest.

Cons: This type of organizational culture lacks flexibility and is sometimes too internal. It’s harder for a hierarchical culture to adapt to alterations, meaning that a company with this structure won’t be as fast to adhere to radical shifts or last-minute changes in their working environment. Though tangible an efficient, the hierarchical workplace culture can also get left behind.


Which Workplace Culture is Best?


It all depends on what structure you can best identify as one where you will excel. The very definition of culture is the characteristic features of everyday existence shared by people in a place or time. Not only do we all shared common traits, but we’re all different, too. You may gravitate towards a flexible, innovative work environment while someone else might enjoy stringent checks and balances.

Often, organizations can have more than just one type of culture. They’re more gray than definitive, utilizing the best aspects of various cultural qualities to find their toehold in the world. Each of the values that a workplace culture represents can be an excellent quality if utilized effectively. Ultimately, it’s up to the people that make up the working environment to play to their strengths and use their tools in the most efficient way possible.

What type of culture is your organization, and how has it affected your company? Leave us a comment below!

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