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I am a huge advocate of employee engagement. It has been proven that a more engaged workforce is a happier, more productive one.

But, before you can focus on employee engagement, your organization has to come to terms with the current company culture and the culture you want to develop for future success, as not doing so can be very detrimental to your business.

Corporate culture is a term we hear more and more these days. It describes the climate within an organization and refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize the members of an organization and define its nature. Corporate culture is rooted in an organization’s goals, strategies, structure, and approaches to labor, customers, investors, and the greater community.

Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn at the University of Michigan developed a validated research method to assess organizational culture, called the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI). This instrument uses what it calls the Competing Values Framework to help illustrate and define four distinct types of corporate cultures.

Clan Culture

Clan cultures are friendly and collaborative and can be compared to a large family where people have many things in common. Strong bonds of loyalty and tradition generally occur. Examples of companies that may have a clan culture include Google, and Zappos.

Adhocracy Culture 

An adhocracy culture is a dynamic and innovative environment where employees are willing to take chances and leaders are typically seen as inspirational innovators willing to challenge assumptions and take risks. Core values reflect change and agility. Perseverance and a relentless effort to “figure it out” are what drive the employees. Think Facebook and many other tech companies that must stay nimble and innovative to remain competitive.

Market Culture

The goal of a market culture is to get down to business, get work done, and achieve results.  The environment is competitive, even internally among fellow workers.  The goal of companies with this culture is to make as much profit and capture as much market share as possible. Amazon is this type of company, and Jeff Bezos is known as being very demanding.

Hierarchy Culture

A hierarchy culture is one driven by rules. Leaders are there to ensure adherence to tried and true ways of doing business, and costs and mistakes are kept low by following these procedures. Government organizations are good examples of this type of culture, as are organizations where safety is a primary concern, such as health care and aviation.

Generally, executives agree that organizational culture directly impacts profits, but don’t do what is needed to create and preserve a strong culture, according to the results of a survey released Dec. 5.

So, what type of culture does your company have?   You may have silos within your organization, in which some areas of your company reflect different cultures based on leadership.   My suggestion is that you break down these silos and work on having your entire organization operate within the same culture. While corporate culture is very difficult to change, it’s not something that should be overlooked.



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