6 Examples of Organizational Culture to Consider for Your Company

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Allie Blackham

Marketing Content Manager

Understanding the importance and value of a strong organizational culture can help your company stand out. But it can be challenging to fully grasp what each type of organizational culture might look like. We’ve compiled seven examples of specific types of company cultures to better understand what each incorporates and how to implement a similar culture in your business.

What is Organizational Culture?

Company culture includes the observable and consistent patterns and behaviors of an organization’s employees and leaders. They may come naturally after observing how the leadership team responds to and reacts in various situations, or they may be more intentionally cultivated to create a supportive atmosphere. Failing to establish any type of culture can create a negative place to work, encouraging employees to look for jobs elsewhere.

Although the exact purpose behind company culture depends on each individual business leader, what really matters is establishing and adhering to a shared set of values. A strong organizational culture binds team members together, helping them to want to work toward shared goals and stick to the company values. By contrast, a weak culture (or lack thereof) often leads to disjointed teams, inconsistency in behaviors and actions, and general discontent.

6 Examples of Company Culture

Now that you have a better sense of what culture is and why it matters, you can decide what type of organizational culture you want to cultivate in your own business. The seven main types are outlined below, with examples of what each might look like in practice.

Adhocracy Culture

Adhocracy culture is typically known for risk-taking and innovation. It may also be referred to as innovation culture. Startups and companies on the cutting-edge of their respective industries often prefer this type of atmosphere, encouraging employees to explore new ideas and come up with the next big thing. Google has an adhocracy culture, promoting the exploration of novel solutions for problems faced by users. Its employees are also highly encouraged to ask for help, as all team members are working toward the same goal. Shared success is a key building block of this culture.

Startup Culture

Startup culture often shares similarities with adhocracy culture, although it’s more specific to new companies that are just starting out in various industries. In most cases, a business with startup culture has a flat hierarchy, or team members who are essentially equal to one another in title and responsibilities. The owner of the business may establish core values but the number of employees in a startup tends to be small. Therefore, the more formal business startup tasks may get pushed to the back burner to allow each team member to focus on their duties and grow the business.

Startup culture typically rejects traditional aspects of business management, such as slow development, rigid processes, and strict hierarchies with managers and subordinates. Tech companies in Silicon Valley or other locations across the U.S. may cultivate this type of culture, particularly when first starting out in the highly competitive industry.

Clan Culture

Clan culture is highly collaborative, encouraging the creation of a family-inspired structure among a team of employees. In this type of organizational culture, every employee is highly valued and has an important role to play. Additionally, companies that opt for this culture may incorporate mentorship programs, establishing more of a horizontal organizational structure that encourages employees of all levels to work together.

Chobani and Tom’s of Maine are two examples of businesses that have adapted clan culture. The employees of these organizations generally report feeling valued, which can boost engagement and establish pride in the brand.

Hierarchy Culture

Companies that take a more traditional approach to culture may adopt hierarchy culture, which focuses on structure and stability. Such an organization likely has a clear organizational hierarchy with tiers of leaders that separate the c-suite from other members of the workforce. This type of culture may also incorporate more formal policies, such as a strict dress code.

Although younger employees may push back on this type of culture, particularly those looking for flexibility and creativity, it does come with some advantages. Financial institutions, such as Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, tend to adhere to hierarchy culture to demonstrate stability and security. Those seeking clear paths for progression will also likely appreciate the defined opportunities established in this culture. You might also see hierarchy culture in well-established health insurance companies and those operating in the oil and gas industry.

Market Culture

Market culture, also referred to as a market-driven culture, focuses on results and competition. Businesses that adopt this type of organizational culture focus on getting services or products to the market as efficiently as possible. Accordingly, each organization likely has high expectations for every member of the team, encouraging individuals to be hard-working and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a shared goal.

Tesla is an example of a business with a market culture, as it was an early adopter of sustainable energy combined with luxury in the automotive world. Organizations that are seeking to bring something brand new in their respective industries tend to fall under this type of culture, at least in the early stages.

Growth Culture

Growth culture encourages the growth of each individual employee, with the goal of long-term retention and overall success. Organizations that proactively opt for this type of culture often seek to differentiate themselves from the volatility and competition-driven atmospheres of other businesses. People who prefer opportunities to grow and learn as much as possible tend to thrive in this type of workplace atmosphere, particularly those who aren’t as motivated by results or performance metrics.

In order to succeed with growth culture, an organization must be committed to the following principles:

  • Establishing a safe workplace for all members of the team, modeled by leadership that takes responsibility for shortcomings and demonstrates vulnerability
  • Providing ongoing feedback across the entire organization, focused on helping one another grow
  • Experimenting with new actions and behaviors to determine how to change the status quo
  • Offering ongoing opportunities to learning and development, often through curiosity and inquiry

Taking the time to establish and improve upon your organizational culture can make a significant difference in various ways. Recruiting and employee retention are easier when prospective and existing team members understand what to expect and what’s expected of them. Additionally, businesses that focus on culture can establish unique presences in their respective industries.

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