Workplace culture

  • Employers
  • Published on 06/03/2024

Culture in the workplace

There are four main types of cultures in the workplace:

  1. Clan
  2. Adhocracy
  3. Market 
  4. Hierarchy

Each of these is distinct from the others, and there might only be a single ‘right’ type that leads you to feel happy and fulfilled in your workplace. Whether you want to promote a positive culture in your existing workplace or you’re trying to find the right culture fit for you someplace new, it’s important to be able to tell these styles apart to make the right decisions. 

Clan culture

You may have heard companies who say, “We’re like a family.” This is often an example of clan culture. Companies with a clan culture are promoting a close-knit work environment where they want employees to have strong interpersonal bonds and commit to a shared vision. 

Positive clan culture encourages employees to all feel equal. You should feel like you’re part of a supportive team, can comfortably share your opinion or ideas, and that you’re working towards a common goal. If this culture style is fostered correctly, with a balance of accountability, efficiency and opportunities for growth, it can help you enjoy the time you spend at work. 

Adhocracy culture

Adhocracy emphasise flexibility and informality. At a company with an ad-hoc culture, employees make their own decisions, rather than following a centralised leader or system. This allows for more rapid change and growth, and is commonly seen in start-ups and technology companies.

For a company to thrive in an adhocracy culture, it needs to encourage communication, collaboration and flexible leadership, so that eployees feel nurtured and supported. If you’re interviewing with or working for a company with an adhocracy culture, it’s important that you’re comfortable with change, experimentation and non-traditional work structures. 

Market culture

Market culture is designed to drive results for a company, so it’s often used in sales environments. It encourages competition and high performance, and when it’s done in a positive way, celebrates wins with rewards and incentives. 

For example, a positive market culture can motivate employees to achieve targets by offering bonuses, trips and other rewards. Within a market culture, it’s very important that there are leaders to offer support and guidance so you can be successful while avoiding burnout.

Hierarchy culture

A workplace with hierarchy culture is highly structured, with clear job titles, roles and levels within the business. The military is often used as an example of hierarchy structure, with clearly defined ranks and tasks within those ranks. 

While hierarchy culture can give employees a sense of confidence in having clearly defined chains of command and progression, these workplaces can be slow to evolve or make decisions. If you’re looking for a traditional workplace, with an outline of your progression plan and what you’ll do each day, joining a company with a hierarchy culture may be ideal for you.