S. Amir Kohan

What are Five Types of Corporate Culture?

Can you find one culture that describes your organization?

Team-first corporate culture. Team-oriented companies hire for culture fit
first, skills and experience second. A company with a team-first corporate culture
makes employee happiness its top priority. Frequent team outings, opportunities
to provide meaningful feedback, and flexibility to accommodate employee family
lives are common markers of a team-first culture. Netflix is a great example; its
recent decision to offer unlimited family leave gives employees the autonomy to
decide what’s right for them.

Elite corporate culture. Companies with elite cultures are often out to change
the world by untested means. An elite corporate culture hires only the best
because it’s always pushing the envelope and needs employees to not merely
keep up but lead the way (think Google). Innovative and sometimes daring,
companies with an elite culture hire confident, capable, competitive candidates.
The result? Fast growth and making big splashes in the market.

Horizontal corporate culture. Titles don’t mean much in horizontal cultures.
Horizontal corporate culture is common among startups because it makes for a
collaborative, everyone-pitch-in mind-set. These typically younger companies
have a product or service they’re striving to provide yet are more flexible and able
to change based on market research or customer feedback. Though a smaller
team size might limit their customer service capabilities, they do whatever they
can to keep the customer happy—their success depends on it.

Conventional corporate culture. Traditional companies have clearly defined
hierarchies and are still grappling with the learning curve for communicating
through new mediums. Companies, where a tie and/or slacks are expected, are, most
likely, of the conventional sort. In fact, any dress code at all is indicative of a more
traditional culture, as are a numbers-focused approach and risk-averse decision-
making. Your local bank or car dealership likely embodies these traits. The customer,
while crucial, is not necessarily always right—the bottom line takes precedence.

Progressive corporate culture. Uncertainty is the definitive trait of a transitional
culture because employees often don’t know what to expect next. Mergers,
acquisitions, or sudden changes in the market can all contribute to a progressive
culture. Uncertainty is the definitive trait of a progressive culture because
employees often don’t know what to expect next (see almost every newspaper
or magazine). “Customers” are often separate from the company’s audience
because these companies usually have investors or advertisers to answer to.

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