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What Are the Different Types of Organizational Culture?

Geri Terzo
Geri Terzo

Organizational culture reflects the tone of an entity more than it does any policies or procedures. Nonetheless, there are different types of organizational culture that are prevalent throughout corporations and small businesses. Companies adopt a particular style based on the needs and expectations of that business. Some of the prominent types of organizational culture include a controlled approach, a competing nature, a collaborative environment, and a creative style, all according to a report issued by Haworth Inc. The less formal that any organizational structure is, the more effective it is likely to be.

A controlled approach is included among the types of organizational culture. In this style, the company looks at the resources within the organization to succeed, and at the very least, there are often middle as well as upper-management teams. This approach is highly efficient and systematic, and employees in this type of setting can expect that work performance will be measured on a regular basis. A controlled approach can influence productivity in a positive way, although managers might need to be wary of becoming overly involved in the staff's day-to-day responsibilities. This is because of the controlling tendencies associated with this organizational structure.

Companies adopt a particular style of organizational culture based on the needs and expectations of their specific business.
Companies adopt a particular style of organizational culture based on the needs and expectations of their specific business.

Other types of organizational culture take a somewhat different approach. A competitive style looks to industry rivals and attempts to constantly remain ahead of the market. This is a highly intense type of culture where the employees are pushed to remain on top.

The competition remains focused on other businesses, and this benefits clients of an organization. Roots of a competitive culture are in outsourcing as companies are forced to remain relevant even as less expensive business services become available in overseas nations. According to the Haworth report, the competitive and controlled organizational structure types both share the characteristics of a stable and controlled workplace.

Companies that adopt a collaborative work environment are relying on a less formal and structured workplace in favor of a team effort. This approach differs from other types of organizational culture styles because of its tendency to thrive in a more nimble environment. Instead of micromanagement, the threat here might be a chance that the work environment becomes too relaxed. Employees are aware of the value they bring, and this could lead to greater job retention, which is a benefit of the collaborative approach.

In a creative organizational culture, an employee is rewarded for having an entrepreneurial spirit. This spirit of independence can propel a company toward higher growth. Companies in this niche are not immune to taking chances on new technology and other emerging trends.

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Discussion Comments


There are different types of organization culture, but I don't think that one type is necessarily better or superior than the others. I think that different organizations have different needs. One type of organizational culture that works for one organization may not work for another.

I think that organizations' leadership must determine the best organizational culture and structure the institution according to that. If employees dislike the culture of the organization that they are working at, then they're at the wrong place. It means that the organizational culture is not matching those employees' working styles and expectations. They should work somewhere else.


@candyquilt-- I think that many organizations have noticed the issues with organizational culture based on hierarchies. That's why new, inventive organizations prefer an ad hoc culture. This type of organizational culture encourages its employees to be creative and to work together. For example, a junior employee can easily discuss an issue or idea with a senior employee.


As an employee, I'm not fond of organizations with very strict organization cultures where there are lots of rules and procedures, and everything is formal. Having this type of organizational culture means that rules are sometimes more important than efficiency and creativity. And I think that it makes people work for the sake of fulfilling their duties, rather than being innovative or more productive.

In simple terms, it's a strict environment and there is more pressure placed on employees. There are more barriers for work and people start doing their job just for the paycheck at the end of the month.

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    • Companies adopt a particular style of organizational culture based on the needs and expectations of their specific business.
      By: Rido
      Companies adopt a particular style of organizational culture based on the needs and expectations of their specific business.