The 4 Types of Organisational Culture 


The following types of cultures are present in an organisation:

  1. Mechanistic and Organic Culture
  2. Authoritarian and Participative Culture
  3. Strong, Weak, and Unhealthy Culture
  4. Dominant and Sub-Culture


1) Mechanistic and Organic Culture: Mechanistic organisational culture displays values of governance and feudalism. In this kind of culture, working in an organisation is based on narrow specialisation and people view their careers within those specific areas only. Authority believes to follow a downward flow direction and communication flow through specified channels. 

Strong department loyalty and inter-department rivalry can be seen among the employees. It is also named the ‘we’ versus ‘they’ concept. This kind of culture does not promote change and development.


Organic culture is totally opposite to the Here, all the rules and regulations followed by the mechanistic culture are absent. It puts great stress on the accomplishment of work, and teamwork and gives freedom to communicate. When troubleshooting is needed, the person who specialized in the area of problem exercises more authority than the employer.



2) Authoritarian and Participative Culture 

In authoritarian culture, authority lies with the leader only and emphasis that subordinates should obey his orders and maintain discipline. If this does not happen, the culprit is punished to set an example for others. It is believed that the leader knows what he is best for the organisation and thus acts accordingly.

The participative culture believes in the fact that people are generally ready to accept these decisions that are made with their consent rather than those which are forced on them Further when a problem is solved in a group better decisions can be made as numerous innovative ideas occur and are shared between people Participative culture is found in organisations where most of the employees are intellectually and professionally equal and find rules for every individual

Related Article: Product Life Cycle

3) Strong, Weak and Unhealthy Cultures 

A strong culture has a positive impact on the employee in lower turnover rate reduced absenteeism, enhanced bonding and positive behaviour This is because employees strongly believe in the organisation Thus, there is a high degree of behavioural control in the organisational culture.

Weak culture consists of several sub-cultures having few common values, behavioural norms and holy customs. In such organisations, there is no unity among the employees and the top management also does not share any work- culture with the subordinates.

Apart from this, some organisations have an unhealthy culture. In these organisations, there is an internal political environment that permits managers to practice dominance and oppose changes that are necessary to the organisation. 

In politically dominated organisations many problems are solved by strong verbal backing or opposition by strong executives. Individual lobbying by key executives and alliances between departments with common benefits also help in resolving various issues. Thus, the organisation’s well-being loses its priority.


4) Dominant and Sub-Culture 

Dominant culture means the central values which are acceptable by most of the employees. It is the macro-cultural outlook that displays an organisation’s traits.

Sub-culture is present in departments, divisions and geographical areas and reveals the basic issues and experiences of employees who belong to that area. It may contain the basic values of the dominant culture and those values which are unique to a particular department or area.


Dominant Culture

A dominant culture is that such culture which is most powerful, widespread, or influential within a social or political entity in which multiple cultures are present. Dominance can be achieved through many different means, including economic power force or the threat of force, or through more subtle processes of subordination and dominance. The culture that is dominant within a particular geopolitical region can change over time in response to internal or external factors, but one is usually very resilient and able to reproduce itself effectively from generation to generation.

Economic power often determine which culture is dominant in a given region. On the one hand, the wealthy have a great deal of power in most societies, and their cultural values are backed by that 
power and wealth. The views of a billionaire opera fan carry more weight than those of a sincere and gifted, but desperately poor, punk musician.

One school of thought, championed by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, contends that this dominance of elite culture usually becomes more intensely ingrained than simple finance could explain. He argues that elite culture gradually comes to be seen as superior by both the elite and ordinary people. 

Those born into the elite, therefore, have an easier time remaining powerful and wealthy, as they have an innate understanding of the cultural practices that everyone in society associates with being wealthy and powerful.

Modem societies are very complicated, and often produce rebellious cultures that protest against a dominant one. Subcultures, attempt to challenge the established society. Sociologists greatly agree that these challenges are usually doomed to fail, although in some cases, subcultures carve out niches for themselves. In other cases, the dominant culture absorbs some of its habits or ideas, but rarely do subcultures move up to become dominant in a society.



Strong Culture versus Weak Culture

Organisational culture can be labelled as strong or weak based on the level of sharing of the core values among organisational members and the degree of commitment the members have to these core values. 

The higher the level of sharing and commitment, the stronger the culture increases the possibility of behaviour consistency amongst its members, while, a weak culture opens avenues for each one of the members to show concerns special to themselves. 

The difference between strong and weak cultures is shown in the table.

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