There are four main corporate culture models: bureaucratic, military, adhocracy and clan. We define the bureaucratic culture as a strictly controlled organizational structure with clear rules and procedures. Military culture is based on hierarchical leadership and following orders. Adhocracy is the exact opposite, where the workforce organizes into self-directed teams that complete tasks as they see fit. Clan culture is founded on shared bonds of trust between members and leaders.

We can loosely define a clan as people unified by shared membership in a group principally organized based on kinship. We can see this kind of culture in organizations that are not limited to family, but where members share values and act as a close-knit community.

Clan culture examples can be found in organizations like fraternities, sororities and clubs. Some businesses have adopted a clan culture too. 

Let’s take a closer look at clan organizational culture.


  1. Clan Culture Meaning

  2. Advantages Of Clan Culture

  3. Clan Culture Disadvantages



Clan Culture Meaning


Clan culture leads to a cohesive, closely connected group where members feel like they belong and look out for each other. Characteristics of clan culture in the workplace include:

  • Group members have a strong sense of belonging and being part of something bigger than themselves. This means a strong emotional connection, a willingness to work harder for the group and a greater sense of loyalty to the group than to an individual member within clan organizational culture
  • Group members spend much time together. Even outside work hours, the bonds persist, as seen in clan culture examples
  • Organizations with clan cultures are described as making employees feel like they all belong together. There’s greater loyalty to each other than to outsiders
  • The tight interconnections make it easier to work as a unit. This leads to a group that functions well together, but might be difficult to integrate with other groups or adapt to changes in the environment

In business, clan culture can be effective, but only in certain circumstances. Now that we know the characteristics of clan culture, let’s look at the pros and cons of clan culture.


Advantages Of Clan Culture


Like every business environment, clan culture too has its strengths. Here are some advantages of clan culture:

1. Strong Ties

In clan culture examples, people look out for each other. It creates strong networks within the organization. This means members can rely on one another in times of need.

2. Strong Teamwork

Clan culture can also lead to a positive environment where everyone works together for the good of the organization. It can make it easier to make decisions together. People come together to decide what is best for the group.

3. High Loyalty

This type of culture instills a sense of loyalty within its members. Members will do anything they can to defend the organization and make sure that it’s doing well. People are less likely to leave. They feel comfortable and secure within their group and don’t have the desire to look for a new environment.

4. Sense Of Pride

More and more, employees are looking for something beyond a paycheck from their jobs. In a clan organizational culture, people are often proud to be members of the group. This can lead to a very strong group identity.

5. Less Formal

It lends itself to a relaxed working environment, which can make it an ideal place to work for many people.

These are some strengths of clan culture. Now to turn to its weaknesses.


Clan Culture Disadvantages


Clan culture is an organizational structure that isn’t for everyone. There are several clan culture disadvantages to consider: 

1. Highly Exclusive

People feel clan culture organizations are cliquey and exclusionary because members don’t want outsiders in their group. They rely on each other too much rather than branching out and using a variety of skills from other people in the organization. This can cause it to seem insular. 


2. Hard For Outsiders

Because of this exclusivity, problems can arise with relationships between employees, especially when they’re not integrated into the clan. When working relationships are based on kinship or similar bonds, it’s difficult for people who don’t know each other to get along well in work situations. This is not a positive for organizations looking to expand or include new talent into their groups.


3. Hard To Collaborate

This environment can often lead to less collaboration, infighting within the clan, limiting trust between groups and ignoring problems outside the clan. It can lead to a very closed-off environment where people are unwilling to take advice from those outside their own network. This can also make it hard for new ideas or strategies to be introduced into the organization.


4. Hierarchies Can Dominate

Clan culture can also be detrimental to effective management. Management may become entirely top-down. In such cases, clan culture can be seen as a stumbling block that inhibits morale and cooperation within the workplace.

In understanding clan culture meaning, as well as the pros and cons of clan culture, you’ll be able to make your way through your organization better. With Harappa’s Navigating Workplaces course, you’ll decode the way your office and teams function. The insights into conflict resolution will allow you to thrive within existing power structures and teams to put your best foot forward no matter what the challenges ahead.