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What's My Organizational Culture?

05/19/2013 Adrienne N. Hester

Organizational CultureIf you want your company to be successful, you must have a good understanding of your organizational culture. Culture is the common values, beliefs and most importantly the behaviors within your company. Culture is how your employees interact with one another, what they feel is important at work, or how effective your employees are at getting tasks completed. Generally, there are four categories of culture: networked, mercenary, fragmented, and communal. Different forms of organizational culture are for different environments and different types of companies. Understanding which culture best defines your organization will give insight into if your company is being the most effective it can be. A company's culture can be buried, hidden and hard to examine but here are the definitions of each type of culture.

  1. The networked culture values friendships, relationships and helping your coworkers when they need it. In this type of environment, people like and care about each other, they display empathy and are informal with one another. Conversations around the water cooler and break rooms are common and meetings typically start with asking how everyone is doing. Job responsibilities can get a bit blurry in this type of environment because everyone helps everyone, team meetings and decisions are important and no one likes to say no to their friend. Leaders thrive on being liked and appreciated and so often times the downside to a networking culture can be lack of productivity or lack of accountability.
  2. The Mercenary culture is the opposite of a networked culture. In this type of environment, individuals are focused, determined and highly motivated to complete job tasks. A common driver within this environment is increasing revenue. These organizations expect more than 40-hour weeks, making things happen no matter what, hitting goals and work is about work. Often individuals who thrive within this environment are those who see networking as a way to obtain information, advice, or insight but not as a friendship. A highly positive aspect of this type of environment is the types of goals that are set. For example, the manager might set the goal to increase new memberships by 30 percent by a certain date. Goals are defined, clearly outlined and expectations are set in the beginning.
  3. The Fragmented culture is both low on the networking scale and the mercenary scale. People aren't typically friends with their co-workers but often don't have a drive to increase the company's bottom dollar either. They work at a company but for themselves. In some instances, this type of environment, employees feel like they have freedom, flexibility and fairness. Common beliefs within this type of culture are to make you valuable and judging on the quality of work. Often companies with this type of culture are law firms, reporters, or academics.
  4. The Communal culture is the culture that is most appealing to most managers but is one of the most challenging cultures to maintain. It's a networked and a mercenary culture combined. Employees are friends but also want to be driven and successful. In this type of environment, friendships are abundant and so is productivity. Often in start-up companies this type of culture is prevalent because they're small and they hire their friends who they know will work hard. Employees love working for the company and love their coworkers but they also are passionate about increasing company earnings and making things happen. Communal leaders tend to be inspirational, visionary and have a lot of charisma.

There are several different characteristics that are used to examine your culture including how the office spaces are set up, how people communicate with one another, how effectively time is used and how people express themselves at work. There are several different tests that we can use to help you identify what culture your company is working within. Once you identify what type of culture your organization is, you get a better understanding of how to market and communicate your product and your services. Contact us today to have a cultural analysis completed.