Corporate Culture

Which of These 4 Types of Culture Suits Your Organization?

Every organization has its own culture, and it largely depends on the leader itself. A leader sets the tone and shapes the environment, which determines values, communication style, how employees interact with each other, work prioritization and what kind of behaviour is acceptable.

Here are the four types of culture according to Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron’s culture typology:

Clan Culture

Clan company cultures promote a family-like atmosphere where employees feel valued, connected, and motivated to work towards common goals. This workplace environment has strong bonds among employees due to its friendly working environment. Since this culture mainly focuses on people, it offers flexibility, mutual support, and honest communication. This can build trust among the team members.


With its people-focused nature, employees tend to feel a sense of belonging and support. This creates a higher level of employee engagement and loyalty to the organization. Employees are more likely to stay longer, improve morale and have greater job satisfaction. Not only that, but the open communication and presence in the atmosphere encourage employees to suggest creative ideas.


The downside of this close-knit culture is that, when both parties don’t set proper boundaries, there can be a blurry line between work and personal life. This can cause an invasion of privacy that can make the other party uncomfortable. Also, one significant issue is that, when someone proposes an idea, everyone tends to agree instead of evaluating it critically. As a result, the team may not be able to develop a more innovative idea that could produce a better outcome. This happens due to its importance in maintaining harmony and reducing conflict. Additionally, due to a lack of clear structure, people in the organization may be confused about their roles and responsibilities. This causes decision making that involves everyone, which slows down the working progress and actions, affecting productivity.

Clan culture, with its focus on collaboration, teamwork, and shared values, offers a supportive and engaging work environment. However, it also poses challenges like groupthink and unclear decision-making authority that organizations need to navigate effectively for sustained success.

Hierarchy Culture

A hierarchy-based company culture is structured with clear levels of authority. Decision-making is top-down, where directives flow from upper management to lower levels. Employees are aware of their rank and responsibilities within the organization. This type of culture promotes efficiency and accountability, with each level having its own set of tasks and goals.


In a company with a clearly defined hierarchy, employees know precisely who their immediate supervisor is, who their supervisor reports to, and so on up the chain of command. There is no confusion about who is responsible for the job and problems are also addressed in a prompt manner due to the streamline of communication. The structure also provides stability since everyone knows their own role, contrary to clan culture. This will gain their client’s confidence in the company due to the way they handle tasks efficiently.


Even though they have a clear structure, due to hierarchy, it requires approval from multiple levels of management, which can take longer. Other than that, there will be communication barriers that come from a lack of transparency at all levels. Employees at lower level may receive tasks without fully understanding why certain decision are made. This can cause confusion and misunderstandings, which will affect morale and productivity.

Market Culture

A market-driven corporate culture prioritizes flexibility. Workers are being encouraged to adapt quickly to changes in the market. This culture is all about being creative and making decisions quickly. Building an atmosphere at work that is dynamic and responsive requires collaboration and communication.


In a company where it is important to stay ahead of competitors and meet customer demands, employees are encouraged to think creatively, experiment with new ideas, and take calculated risks. When they collaborate closely in a team, they will be sharing insights and expertise, which can help in developing products and solving any arising issues. This innovation culture will help the company grow and create an environment where employees feel empowered to contribute their ideas to make it happen.


If the employees do not prioritize taking regular breaks and constantly working and chasing to improve performance, this can lead to burnout. Not only that, the environment can be too stressful to live in due to the business goal of meeting the target and outperforming other competitors. Burnout and high stress levels can have a big impact on employee well-being, which leads to a decrease in productivity. Although working for the company can be rewarding, the burnout effect can last for a long time, which can cause job dissatisfaction, which eventually leads them to leave the job.

Adhocracy culture

An adhocracy culture in organizations encourages adaptability and creativity. It motivates employees to take chances and use creativity when solving problems. Decentralized decision-making enables rapid response to changes. Individual initiative and flexibility are highly valued in this culture.


Adhocracy company culture is adaptable and fosters innovation. Employees in this company are allowed to experiment with different ideas, even unconventional ones. This is because that is their approach to solving problems. Also, their flexibility allows for quick responses to changing market conditions. This will help them produce high-quality work, even though they are working on tight deadlines. This culture creates a culture of trust, collaboration and learning since they are given resources and support to experiment with new ideas.


This culture has a lack of structure that may lead to confusion and inconsistency in decision-making processes. It is important to strike a balance between creativity and organization in an adhocracy culture to maximize its benefits. Similar to market culture, it also has a risk of burnout when employees are expected to constantly generate new ideas. It can be emotionally taxing, especially when they have tight deadlines to follow in addition to meeting customer expectations. As the company scales, it can be hard to maintain the culture. There will be difficulties in maintaining clear communications across teams and departments.

How to improve an organisation’s culture?

Not every company’s culture can be perfect. However, companies could bring inclusivity and collaboration as efforts to build a healthy culture within it. Here are ways that can improve a company’s culture based on the four cultures above:

  • Lead by example
  • Promote open communication
  • Balancing flexibility with structure
  • Encourage delivering opinions
  • Promote transparency (e.g., decision making, goals, and strategies)
  • Continuous learning and development
  • Maintain a focus on results
  • Give recognition and appreciation
  • Prioritize work-life balance


While certain industries may naturally gravitate towards one type of culture over others, it’s important to note that companies can adopt a mix of different cultures based on their values, leadership style, and organizational priorities. According to Deloitte, 88% of employees and 94% of executives think that a distinctive workplace culture is critical to the success of a company. A company’s culture may also evolve over time in response to internal and external factors such as leadership changes, market dynamics, and shifts in employee demographics.

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