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Management: perspective and practice
Management: perspective and practice

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3.5 Types of organisational culture

Over the last few decades there have been numerous attempts made by researchers to identify predominant types of organisational culture. The idea of culture, as the discussion thus far shows, is extremely complex, but this has not deterred writers from offering their perspectives. Looking at these models offers another way of understanding culture by distinguishing it according to recurring types. You must remember that all models are simplifications, and many of the more popular models of culture are extreme simplifications designed to be neatly placed within a particular type. Some focus on one or more dimensions of the idea of culture, others identify a small number of differing cultures and label and describe these. Two ways of categorising organisational cultures, and one approach to categorising national cultures, will be examined below. Before proceeding to these models, however, it is perhaps worth considering some of the perceived benefits of classifying cultures. For Gabriel (1999):

The first of these is that by being able to classify culture, a relationship or connection to other crucial organizational variables such as leadership style, structure and performance could be found which could be beneficial to you as a manager. Secondly, this might enable you to make a number of generalizations about the work experiences of those working in each type of culture, such as job satisfaction, career prospects or prevalent emotions.

(Source: Gabriel, 1999, p. 203)