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The 8 Types of Workplace Cultures

Most adults who have full-time jobs spend a lot of their time at work. In fact, it’s estimated that one-third of an adult’s life is spent at work. That’s a long time, so it’s important to make sure the type of workplace culture you’re apart of is right for you.

Forbes defines workplace culture as “the shared values, belief systems, attitudes and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share.” What has made you evaluate your workplace culture or your workplace cultures in the past? The toxic workplace environment has become a more recent topic of discussion in light of The Great Resignation and as more jobs have shifted to become remote or more flexible.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, there are eight common types of workplace environments, according to O.C. Tanner, a software company that focuses on cultures at work. There’s clan culture, hierarchy culture, and purpose-driven culture. There’s adhocracy culture, market-driven culture, and innovative culture. There’s customer-focused culture and creative culture. And while there’s a possibility that some jobs could just not be right for you, your own success and comfort at a job could depend on the culture category type it falls under—and how well it suits your needs.

Clan culture

Clan culture refers to a small, tight-knit company. Think family-owned businesses. There are not many employees are the managerial level and the communication styles are informal.

Hierarchy culture

Hierarchy cultures make up the majority of workplaces. They rely on structure—with managers, supervisors, and employees who are aware of their ranking. Think finance and healthcare.

Purpose-driven culture

Purpose-driven cultures are made up of employees who feel called to the mission of the business. Think TOMS Shoes. Employees are community-focused.

Adhocracy culture

Adhocracy culture is innovative and not afraid to take risks. Think start-ups and tech companies. The employees are typically high-energy and flexible to change.

Market-driven culture

Market-driven cultures are highly competitive cultures, relying on results and direct data. Companies such as these usually put results before employee culture. Think Amazon.

Innovative culture

Innovative cultures are—you guessed it—always innovating. They’re in favor of new ideas. Think Pixar.

Customer-focused culture

Customer-focused cultures heavily focus on the customers’ needs. Think businesses such as REI, Whole Foods, and Southwest. The employees work to build a positive relationship with their client, so the culture is positive in return.

Creative culture

Creative cultures are focused on the end product(s) of their company’s mission and collaborate to bring it into existence. Think major film companies like Warner Bros. and HBO. Employees who work in these environments are less motivated by individual goals and instead are eager to accomplish goals as a team.

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