Typology, Functional And Evolution of Organisational Culture

Typology, Functional And Evolution of Organisational Culture

Organizational Culture Typology 

Students now that we have got an idea of what organizational culture is, today let us learn about the evolution of organizational culture ,also its function and Organizational Culture Typology  .
Harrison (1972) and (1991) have given the following four Organizational Culture Typology .

Power Culture :

Power culture can be observed in small organizations and large conglomerates where there is centralized power. In this culture ‗results‘ are the basis of assessment of effectiveness, sometimes to the satisfaction of the central authority figure. In this culture, ends justify the means. There are both positive and negative aspects of this culture. On the positive side, the culture can help an organization become strong, dynamic, fast to respond to external demands. On the flip side, it often leads to staff dissatisfaction, dependence on the ability and decision making of the centralized power figure, dysfunctional conflict, and power lobbying. Only those members succeed who have a political bent of mind, power orientation and manipulativeness, and low need for security. Personal equation with the center and control over resources make people powerful and influential. [ Organizational Culture Typology ]

Role Culture :

Based on logic and rationality, this culture is often referred to as bureaucracy. The appointment is done on the basis of the ability of the persons to carry out the functions satisfactorily. There is security for employees and career progressions are predictable. Coordination, however, takes place at the top. Departments are assigned specific functional roles and their work is governed by authority, structure, and a set of procedures. The departments follow certain mechanisms and rules for decision – making and resolving conflicts. There are both merits and demerits of this culture. In role culture, importance is given to consistency, predictability, and stability, consequently, such a culture contributes to the creation of stable environments. But the drawback is that it makes adaptation to change difficult. Also, innovations, new ways of solving problems, and product and process innovations are discouraged. Such a culture is slow to respond to competitive pressures. However, some private sector organizations like IBM, TISCO, and public sector undertakings and banks have responded to globalization pressures and have resorted to voluntary retirement schemes, decentralization, disinvestment, and downsizing, [ Organizational Culture Typology ]

Task (Project Team) Culture :

Task culture is a small team culture which exists in organizations in the form of network organization or project – oriented matrix organization. In this culture, power and authority are distributed to the right people at the appropriate level and the focus is on performance and results to be achieved. There is empowerment for decision – making with regard to the task. The team is formed on the basis of capability rather than seniority or status. The work in such a culture involves ambiguity and high risk; and organizational control is through resource allocation, project budget, target setting, and monitoring. Most of the staff in such a culture are specialists or technical people. The group works on synergy and harness members‘ expertise in the form of creativity and efficiency for optimum utilization of resources to complete the task efficiently. There is synchronization of personal and organizational goals. [ Organizational Culture Typology ]

Personal Culture :

As the indicates, the individual is the focal point, and examples of this culture could be found in voluntary groups like workers‘ cooperative and residents‘ associations where a number of individuals decide to form a group to do their own thing. The culture exists only for the people concerned and the group does not have any super – ordinate goals. There may be an office backup in the form of a secretary. This culture is probably the only form of organization acceptable to some voluntary groups. The nature of power is consent which is derived from the expertise and personal influence. [ Organizational Culture Typology ]

Organizational Culture Typology

Functions of Organisational Culture

Culture is like a genetic code of an organization and is significant from various perspectives. Indian organizations have evolved by being culturally embedded. There are organizations founded by Tata, Godrej, and others who have promoted and maintained a typical kind of culture over the decades. There are other organizations, which have evolved from being culturally embedded through being market driven. The organizations belonging to this category are Wipro, Ranbaxy, Sundaram Fasteners, and NIIT who have used organizational culture for business growth, market capitalization, and market leadership. It is observed that small organizations draw on organizational culture and achieve competitive advantage in a niche market. One can find an example of this in Southwest Airlines in the US which provided cheap air transportation for a number of years. However, big firms like IBM and Sony have penetrated the world market through various business strategies and culture of effective managerial practices. Thus organizational culture performs the following function :

Culture supplements rational management:

Creation of an appropriate work culture is a time – consuming process. Therefore, organization culture cannot suddenly change the behavior of people in an organization. A number of management tools are used to channelize the behavior of people in the desired way. No change can be effectively brought about without involving people. Culture communicates to people through symbols, values, physical settings, and language, and thereby supplementing the rational management tools such as technology and structure.

Culture facilities induction and socialization :

Induction is a process through which new entrants to an organization are socialized and indoctrinated in the expectation of the organization, it‘s cultural norms and undefined conduct. The newcomer imbibes the culture of the organization which may involve changing his/her attitudes and beliefs to achieving an internalized commitment to the organization. Different organizations follow different practices for induction. Gillette India has a system of online induction which enables an IT – savvy newcomer to pick and choose the areas where he/she needs more detailed information.

Evolution of Organization Culture

An organization‘s current customs, traditions, and general way of doing things largely on what it has done before and the degree of success it had achieved using that mode. The founders of an organization typically have a major impact on an organization‘s culture particularly during its initial days of existence. The founder members of the organization start the organization with a vision of their own. They start everything anew and are not bound by previous customs or ideologies as there is hardly any at that point of time.
More specifically, the process of culture occurs in three ways. First, founders only hire and keep employees who think and feel the way do.
Secondly, they indoctrinate and socialize these employees to their way of thinking and feeling.
And finally, the founders‘ own behavior acts as a role model that encourages employees to identify with them and thereby internalize their beliefs, values, and assumptions. When the organization succeeds, the founders‘ vision becomes recognized as the primary determinant of success. The founder‘s entire personality become embedded in the culture of the organization.

Sustaining Organizational Culture

Three important forces play a particularly important role in sustaining a culture. They are:


Even though he explicit goal of any selection process is to identify and hire individuals who have the required level of job-related knowledge, skills, and abilities, the often understated part of the selection process is to check whether there is the possibility of the candidate‘s acceptance of the organizational values and cultures. That is why we find a number of interviews to take place for an initially shortlisted candidate with organizational members at different levels.  

Top management: 

The role of top management has been discussed in the context of developing a culture. This is, however, crucial to sustaining the culture as well. This
becomes typically apparent during the changes in management.


This refers to the process that adapts employees to the organization‘s culture. Even when the organization selects its members carefully, it is always required to reorient them properly in order to imbibe the organizational culture.