7 Types of Corporate Cultures in Business Workplaces

With employee morale falling to all-time lows, businesses are trying to balance a fine line between increasing productivity, boosting morale, and padding the bottom line. For some of the world’s most successful businesses, employing new and innovative management techniques has generated billions in revenues and profits. For other prosperous enterprises, maintaining the status quo but with the crème de la crème in their respective industry has also led to billions in revenues and profits.

So, what is the solution? Well, the answer to that question really depends on the type of workplace you employ today and the results that you see. Do you have a more laidback and close office environment but not a lot of work is getting done? The two could be connected. Or, if you have an in-your-face, hierarchical atmosphere but a high turnover rate, then, once again, there might be a correlation.

Whether it is time to shake things up or conduct an internal probe, perhaps you need to take another look at the company culture. This begins by determining what these environments are like.

Here are seven types of corporate cultures in today’s workplace:

1. Hierarchy (or Traditionalist) Corporate Cultures

It is safe to say that most businesses operate on the hierarchical model, otherwise known as the conventional/traditional office. This is when managers manage, supervisors supervise, interns intern, and workers work. You do not have co-working or co-sharing or co-spacing – or any other neoteric term that is meant to suggest you are on hopping on some latest bandwagon.

Essentially, this office is run like out of an episode of “Mad Men.” Sure, these types of corporate cultures might seem outdated compared to some of the more modern corporate cultures, but it is one that has worked for more than a century.

Example: Berkshire Hathaway

2. Adhocracy Corporate Cultures

Adhocracy is an interesting concept because it promotes dynamism and innovation at every level of the command chain. If you are willing to take a gamble on something or you want to risk something, then you are encouraged. Ultimately, the motto of these work environments is, “We tried that already, and it didn’t work – so let’s take another approach!”

The core business model for these companies reflects adaptation, agility, and anticipation. Implementation consultants are often brought in to facilitate these types of corporate cultures.

Example: Facebook

3. Market Corporate Cultures

If you have ever seen Glengarry Glen Ross, then you might understand what AIDA means. For the uninitiated, this means:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Decision
  • Action

Simply put, the workplace abides by the market culture model. This is when the business gets down to – well – business. It gets work done, it remains competitive, and the goal is to make as much profit and capture as much market share as possible.
You would like some puppies in the workplace? You feel stressed? You think you’re overworked? Too bad: take it on the chin or walk away.

Example: Amazon

4. Tightknit Group Corporate Cultures

The office has become a family. The small business owner is our mom or dad. Your colleagues are like siblings. The vice presidents, supervisors, or human resources are your uncles and aunts.

In other words, your corporate culture is one that is tightknit, close, and friendly. You go out for lunch together or head to the local pub after work. You share intimate details of your life. Everyone is really chummy and willing to be that second family member.

These types of corporate cultures have its pros and cons. The positive effect is that it creates a teamwork environment where everyone is working towards a common goal. The negative consequence, however, is that if there is a falling out between a couple of employees, then there will be bad feelings.

For management, they fear that this will cause everyone to talk more than they work.

Example: The Huffington Post

5. Laid Back Corporate Cultures

Did Sally Sue come late into work again? Is Johnny spending a bit more time on Facebook than on his assignments? It looks like Billy and Susie are wearing their beach attire again!

Unfortunately, there are many offices that are lackadaisical and willing to let this behaviour reign supreme. For some, this is a working model. For others, this is a work in progress. Indeed, there is some leeway you can instill in the business, but everyone still needs boundaries and guidance.

If you’re a company that has been able to strike a fine line between being laid back and maintaining high levels of productivity, then you need to share with the rest of the world your secret!

Example: LinkedIn

6. The Elite Corporate Cultures

Is your company the U.S. Marines of the private sector? Is your office maintaining the best and brightest in the industry? Is everyone pretty much a machine that can burn the midnight oil at high-quality levels?

Silicon Valley became a trillion-dollar corner of the United States by employing this corporate culture. A wide variety of tech juggernauts don’t hire mediocrity, only highly effective and intelligent human beings can be located at these well-known brands.

Example: Google (Alphabet)

7. Progressive Corporate Cultures

Cubicles are gone in favour of open environments. Flexible work schedules are allowed; the days of rigid 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours are thrown out. Unlimited vacation time is an experiment, not just two weeks a year. Work from home is more common than the wasteful daily and hour-long meeting.

Many executives, owners, and managers are testing out a diverse array of modern-day concepts for establishing a corporate culture. In a bid to attract millennials and generation Zers, many of whom are indifferent to paycheques and prefer more meaning and a less soul-sucking experience, businesses are throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.

Example: Netflix

Employee morale is low. Turnover rate is high. Competition is fierce. There are many reasons why certain corporate cultures work and why others are doomed to failure. How come a progressive workplace produced billions in revenues for an online streaming brand but not for Al’s shoe store down the street? Why is the age-old hierarchical model failing for John’s Toothpicks, but working for a firm like Berkshire Hathaway? Remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

Ronald Ryan

I'm a self-proclaimed science geek and all-around nerd. Useless fun trivia seems to be my forte. If you ever need to hear a good dad joke, I'm your guy!

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