What Are the Different Types of Organizational Culture?

An organizational chart.
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  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 16 March 2014
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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.

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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