Zoom meetings and virtual team-building activities have quickly reserved their spots in any organization’s weekly calendar.

Whether it’s fun games, virtual team lunches or cocktail hour, we now have the chance to interact with our colleagues even when we’re unable to meet them in person.

But, are these video meetings effective and does everyone enjoy spending an additional hour on a video call?

The way organizations chose to deal with the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic reflects their organizational culture. Some gladly moved to remote working, while others struggled to strike a balance. Even if a few employees found virtual team activities taxing, they were required to adapt for the sake of collaboration. Understanding your organization’s culture helps you accept the practices you need to follow and how.

Learn more about finding your culture fit and types of organizational cultures if you want to work for people who think like you!

  1. What Is Organizational Culture?

  2. Types Of Organizational Cultures

  3. Finding Your Culture Fit

  4. Examples Of Organizational Cultures

What Is Organizational Culture?

The meaning of organizational culture is the values, processes and practices followed by an organization and its people. There are several factors that determine organizational culture—from communication to code of conduct. If you want to enjoy a fulfilling work life, it’s important to find your culture fit.

Do you appreciate the organization’s values? Are you happy working beyond normal office hours? Can you work in a team or do you prefer working alone?

Ask yourself these questions the next time you’re looking for a job. While we scour the web for job vacancies, we focus solely on the job description—and if we meet the requirements. But another important aspect is the kind of culture you’ll find in the organization.

There are three aspects of organizational culture:

  1. Values

Values are the basic ethical practices that organizations follow. They comprise the code of conduct, confidentiality or how you interact with senior management. Values also determine the way organizations engage with external stakeholders like clients, vendors or customers. Some of the elements that define values include open communication, commitment to quality and teamwork.

  1. Processes

Processes are formal procedures that are part of an organization’s growth strategy. They comprise employee training and development to help you learn the ropes. Another important process defined by organizations is the evaluation system such as performance appraisals. Processes like status update meetings, payroll cycles and other regular procedures.

  1. Practices

Practices are informal norms followed by organizations that develop over time. These aren’t set in stone but adapted by employees, depending on how they engage with each other within the organization. For instance, it may be normal to work weekends in your organization while some organizations are normalizing four-day workweeks.

Organizational culture varies from place to place, no one size fits all. It’s about finding the right fit for you!

Types Of Organizational Cultures

The Competing Values Framework (CVF) is a model that determines the type of organizational culture. It was developed by professors Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron. According to the framework, there are four types of cultures based on two dimensions—internal and external; flexibility and stability.

Let’s understand these two dimensions before we look at different organizational cultures.

  1. Internal Vs External

An organization where the focus is on internal growth and development as opposed to market competition is said to have an internal orientation. Internal cultures encourage collaboration and team-building to boost employee morale and performance. External cultures strategize according to the market and competing businesses. Their culture is driven by external rather than internal stakeholders.

  1. Flexibility Vs Stability

An organization where the focus is on a flexible work style, transferable skills and adaptability as opposed to the structure is said to have a flexible orientation. Flexibility defines how employees interact with seniors, peers and juniors. It also focuses on adapting to changes without losing sight of organizational goals. Stability, on the other hand, defines structure, planning and interdependence.

Organizations work along the intersection of these two dimensions to form four types of cultures:

  1. Clan Culture

A clan culture or a family culture lies at the intersection of ‘Internal’ and ‘Flexibility’. It encourages open communication and collaboration. It’s a friendly work culture where decision-making is a shared responsibility. People are at the heart of clan culture. Here, you’ll be expected to display excellent communication skills and interpersonal skills. Building rapport with your teammates and coworkers is essential for workplace impact. If you enjoy working with others and achieve results as a team, you will enjoy a clan culture.

  1. Adhocracy Culture

Adhocracy promotes risk-taking, creativity and innovation. Leaders in an adhocracy encourage their employees to take initiative and be proactive. It’s driven by external factors and flexibility, making it ideal for fields like design, publishing and marketing. Developing new products or offering niche services also fall under adhocracy. The modern workplace strives to promote this kind of culture within their organizations. Employees in an adhocracy find it easier to be their best selves, step out of their comfort zone and come up with new ideas.

  1. Market Culture

Market culture is all about competition and it works within the parameters of stability and external orientation. This is where employees have to work efficiently to keep up with market changes and competitors. Achieving sales and marketing targets are part of a market culture. Leaders in this type of organizational culture are demanding, settling for nothing but excellence.

  1. Hierarchical Culture

Hierarchical organizations have an internal orientation with a focus on stability. This kind of culture works on structure and control. It’s about doing things right the first time, which means you have to be highly-skilled at your job. There are formal rules, processes and planning in place for effective results. It follows a top-down approach where employees are well-versed about their roles and responsibilities. With minimal room for error, this is a high-performing, high-stakes organizational culture.

Before joining an organization, you should make it a practice to assess its culture—values, processes and practices. This way you’ll avoid any setbacks and potential burnout that may creep up on you.

Finding Your Culture Fit

Your culture fit defines which organizational culture will work for your skills, values and expectations. If you’re creative, you may enjoy an adhocracy more than a hierarchy. Identifying where you’ll thrive as an employee can help you realize your full potential in the workplace. Let’s see how you can find your culture fit.

With the Harappa Culture Fit Tool, answering a few questions will help you determine what’s important to you and your organization. Some of these questions include:

  • Does your organization give more importance to employees’ needs than processes?

  • How important is employee satisfaction than market competition?

  • Does the leadership take out time to listen to their employees and address their needs?

  • Is creativity supported and encouraged in your workplace?

  • Are team-building, cooperation and collaboration important in your organization?

Addressing these will help you figure out where you want to work.

Here’s are some ways to find the answers to these questions:

  1. Asking about the organization’s values and practices during a job interview is a great way to show that you’re eager to learn more about where you may be working. You can either get a grasp of how things work with the way the interview is being conducted or simply ask your interviewer.

  2. Reaching out to current employees or ex-employees is another effective way to understand the organization’s culture. They can tell you exactly how things work and things like whether you get your weekends off.

  3. The simplest way is to read up about the organization online. Their websites will have a lot of information about their culture and behavior.

Identifying your culture fit doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to find the shoe that fits. It’s discovering a place where you can see yourself grow and learn. Even if it doesn’t seem perfect right now, it may just be what you need moving forward. As long as you see potential, it may be worth a shot!

Examples Of Organizational Cultures

Some organizations are more popular than others because of their open and friendly work cultures. These include Adobe, known for its team events, employee benefits and diverse workforce. Adobe has created a wholesome and meaningful environment for its employees where they can not only build lasting relationships but are also recognized for their efforts.

What do you envision for yourself as a professional? You may just aspire to start your own business in the future. Whatever the case may be, if you’re working with other people, you will most likely follow an organizational culture. Learn more about CVF and finding your culture fit with Harappa’s Navigating Workplaces course. Discover ways to explore an organization’s culture with examples from our expert faculty.


Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics related to the COLLABORATE Habit such as What is Organizational StructureTypes of Organizational StructureDelegation of Authority & Organizational Behavior to understand organizational culture and needs.

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