Handy's Four Types of Cultures

Choosing the Best Culture for Your Organization

Handy's Four Types of Cultures - Choosing the Best Culture for Your Organization

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What type of corporate culture will give your organization the lift it needs?

Organizations are similar to countries: they each have a unique culture based on values, beliefs and common expectations. Each culture has its strengths and its weaknesses.

Many organizations resist changing their culture once it's developed. But organizations grow and change over time, just like a living thing, and the culture must grow and change as well for it to succeed in the long term.

The most successful organizations have the right culture in the place for what they're trying to do. When these elements don't align, productivity, morale and efficiency can all suffer.

In this article we'll look at Handy's Four Types of Culture, a model that describes four unique organizational cultures. We'll explore each culture in detail, and we'll discuss how you can try and move to one that best fits your organization's current needs.

About the Model

Charles Handy, a management consultant and professor at the London Business School, developed the Four Types of Culture and published them in his 1978 book "Gods of Management."

Handy's theory describes four distinct management styles, each with its own values. Over time, these values and expectations create a culture within the organization. The four cultures are: Club Culture, Role Culture, Task Culture, and Existentialist Culture....

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