It is likely that more than once you have heard the term organisational culture and that it is very relevant in a company. But what does this term refer to? Corporate organisational culture – or also known as corporate culture, business culture or institutional culture – represents the set of values, beliefs, habits, traditions, norms, attitudes and experiences of an organisation and its members.
It is a value in itself, highly valued by job seekers. And so it is, according to studies such as the one conducted by Job Seeker Nation, which found that 46% of job seekers say that organisational culture is very important in their choice of a job.
Why is this so important? Because organisational culture is the “personality” of a company, as it encompasses all those characteristics that give it its identity, define it and differentiate it from other organisations. And, with this, it determines the behaviour, conduct, way of being and also the way of doing of those who make up a company.
This does not mean that it will be the employees who define this organisational culture, but rather that it must be previously defined by the company so that the workers can then live it and transmit it.
Within this concept there are different types of organisational culture. Do you want to know them? Here we talk about them, give examples, help you choose the best one for your company and how to apply it.
How many types of organisational culture are there?
There are quite a few types of culture in an organisation, and here we highlight some of them. Take note:
- Power orientation. Power-oriented organisations tend to have total control over processes, context and subordinates, with a strong competitive character. Here authority is emphasised and the structure of the organisation itself may be modified according to circumstances. Employees who are part of companies with these characteristics, and above all because of the competitiveness and demands involved, must always live up to what is expected of them.
- Orientation towards the person. Unlike the previous one, the focus is on understanding the needs of employees. Therefore, valuing members is fundamental to building the company. As authority and power are not at stake, it is important that employees follow the examples set by the company; in this respect, the company’s internal communication can be very useful.
- Rule orientation. Here rules take centre stage, which must be implemented in order to fulfil the company’s strategies. In order for this to happen, it is important to plan meticulously and to be aware that there is not much room for flexibility, regardless of the situation.
- Problem-solving orientation. In this type of organisational culture, planning and data prevail, and this implies dealing with situations with strategic decisions. For this to be possible, members must have a close relationship with the organisation, know that responses can be slow but effective, and that the structure must be flexible and variable.
- Apathetic culture. This is an undesirable type of corporate organisational culture because it is indifferent to its members. Leaders do not perform as they should, there is little concern for performance and for their employees, and there is job insecurity because there is no job stability.
- Careful culture. This is the opposite of the previous case, because here employees are taken into account and there is concern for them, all in order to keep them happy and create a good working environment. It is possible, however, to fall into paternalism and to give more than employees might need (which can affect performance).
- Demanding culture. Here the focus is on results and excellent performance, but little importance is given to the personal well-being of employees. Although this type of organisation tends to offer good salaries, the turnover rate is high.
- Collaborative culture. The focus is on maximising the diverse skills and competencies of employees through team collaboration. Members from different departments or areas are encouraged to contribute and share their ideas and knowledge to achieve a common goal.
- Integrative culture. In this type, people and performance are put on an equal footing. The focus is on teams and the success of the company as a whole, rather than individually. They tend to attract and retain talent, salaries are usually attractive and high performance is expected.
Examples of organisational culture
Because everything is better understood when we take it to concrete cases, let’s review some examples of types of organisational culture in specific, successful companies.
One of them is Adobe. This well-known software firm puts creativity at the centre, encouraging its employees to put it into practice in order to face new challenges. Their leaders are more like coaches who help their teams to set their own goals. If there is a mistake, this is not penalised, but serves to learn and improve on the next attempt. Every achievement is recognised, both for those who have generated it and for the leaders who have brought it about.
Another example is IKEA, the famous Scandinavian shop founded by Ingvar Kamprad and dedicated to furniture and home decoration. Its aim is none other than to create a community of professionals (called “coworkers”) who constantly develop their skills through, for example, continuous training and incentives as rewards (in the form of benefits). They are committed to team spirit and teamwork (multicultural) and have a promotion policy based on merit. Importantly, managers are trained in the company’s organisational culture through the “IKEA Way”.
How do you understand which type of organisational culture is best for your company?
We regret to tell you that there is no single answer or a foolproof formula for success in choosing one among all types of organisational culture in a company. But there are certain considerations to take into account.
In this sense, what you must consider is that the type of corporate organisational culture that is best for your company will depend on how much it serves your employees, your customers and your business.
This means integrating employee attitudes and commitment, respect, ethics and professionalism. All of this leads to competitive results and to the organisation’s positioning in the medium and long term.
How to apply organisational culture in the company?
Here are some tips on how to apply organisational culture in your organisation:
- Carry out a general evaluation of the company, considering the different variables that make it up, weighing up the profile it has and what you want to achieve.
- Detect the pillars of the organisation, such as mission, vision and values.
- Define the company’s objectives when implementing the organisational culture.
- Establish clear rules for all members of the organisation.
- Communicate the organisational culture to all members.
- Have employees who share the same organisational culture, so that everyone is rowing together with the same focus. This may include adjusting recruitment processes.
- Promote actions that bring the team together and engage them with each other.
Corporate organisational culture defines the DNA of a company, which is why so many eyes are on it and it is vitally important in determining what kind of organisation you are, how you project that to the outside world and, most importantly, internally, to your own members. If you would like to know more about this and have an expert collaborator from our team, do not hesitate to contact us.