Handy on Corporate Culture

Handy on Corporate Culture

Culture is expressed by Handy as being: 'the way we do things around here'. This means the sum total of the belief, knowledge, attitudes, norms and customs that prevail in an organisation.

This page looks in more detail at Handy's ideas on corporate culture.

Handy's cultural types

Handy popularised four cultural types.

Power Culture

  • Power culture (denoted by the Greek god "Zeus") - Here there is one major source of power and influence.
  • For example, in a small owner-managed business the owner may strive to maintain absolute control over subordinates.
  • There may be few procedures and rules of a formal kind as staff take direction directly from the owner.

Role Culture

  • Role culture (denoted by the Greek god "Apollo") - In this version of culture, people describe their job by its duties, not by its purpose, so job descriptions dictate "the way we do things around here".
  • This would be seen in a bureaucratic organisation, where the structure determines the authority and responsibility of individuals and there is a strong emphasis on hierarchy and status.

Task Culture

  • Task culture (denoted by the Greek god "Athena") - The emphasis here is on achieving the particular task at hand and staff may need to be flexible to ensure deadlines are met.
  • People thus describe their positions in terms of the results they are achieving. Nothing is allowed to get in the way of task accomplishment.
  • This is best seen in projects teams that exists for a specific task.

Person Culture

  • Person culture (denoted by the Greek god "Dionysius") - This is characterised by the fact it exists to satisfy the requirements of the particular individual(s) involved in the organisation.
  • The person culture is to be found in a small, highly participatory organisation where individuals undertake all the duties themselves, for example, a barrister in chambers.

Other writers on culture

 Please click on the following for further details:

Created at 6/20/2012 3:47 PM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Last modified at 11/13/2012 2:18 PM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

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