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Most Common Types of Workplace Cultures

What are the common types of company culture? Below we outline the most frequently seen types of workplace culture. Your organization might have something completely different or be a combination of several types of cultures.


Adhocracy culture

The name of this type of culture comes from the word “ad-hoc”, which describes this culture type’s tendency to take risks in order to innovate and move quickly. Most start-up and tech companies have this type of culture so they can create without too many barriers and be the first to market. This type of culture is usually high-energy and agile. Silicon Valley companies like Facebook, Google, etc. tend to have Adhocracy cultures.


Clan culture

Think new, young companies or small, family-owned companies. The name “clan culture” comes from the “clan” mentality of these cultures, where everyone thinks and feels similarly, and are working toward a common goal. Employees are a top priority, and there’s a large focus on collaboration and teamwork. Clan cultures foster fierce loyalty and a strong company identity. They are likely to use open and informal communication. What you won’t find here is a high number of management levels, as employees are seen as peers and family. Tom’s of Maine, Chobani, and Redmond (Real Salt) have clan cultures.


Customer-focused culture

Southwest, Zappos, Nordstrom. Customer-focused cultures put customers first and empower their employees to do the same. These types of cultures often make the news for their exceptional customer service and loyalty.


Hierarchy culture

Hierarchy cultures are the traditional, paternalistic types of cultures. As the name suggests, leadership hierarchy, power, and processes are important. These types of cultures can be risk-adverse and focus on preventing mistakes, sticking to rules and tradition, and managing failure. High-risk organizations like those in the oil and gas, finance, healthcare, and government industries often have hierarchy cultures.


Market-driven culture

A market-driven culture is focused on getting to market. This type of culture is results-oriented, hard-working, demanding, and highly competitive. Companies with market-driven cultures may focus less on employee experience and satisfaction, and more on performance and results. Tesla, Amazon, and Apple have this type of culture.


Purpose-Driven Culture

These cultures are driven by, you guessed it, a strong purpose. Their culture is built on a defined, shared reason for being, and they attract employees, customers, and partners who share those ideals. These types of cultures tend to be more community-focused, collaborative, and charitable. Whole Foods, REI, and TOMS shoes are classic examples.

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