Some people under estimate the importance of choosing the right company culture for you. Yet I’ve seen many very bright individuals “not fitting in”, ultimately resulting in their careers made stagnant, or worse still, damaged and short-lived.

John Kotter (best selling author) defined culture in his book Leading Change as “….norm of behaviours and shared values among a group of people.” So even with all the right skills, if your values and behaviours do not fit in with the majority of the people in a company, you are probably going to have a difficult time progressing within the organisation.

So what should you be looking out for when assessing a company’s culture?

quinn & cameron




According to Robert Quinn and Kim Cameron at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, there are four types of organizational culture: Clan, Adhocracy, Market, and Hierarchy.

  • Clan oriented cultures are family-like, with a focus on mentoring, nurturing, and “doing things together.”
  • Adhocracy oriented cultures are dynamic and entrepreneurial, with a focus on risk-taking, innovation, and “doing things first.”
  • Market oriented cultures are results oriented, with a focus on competition, achievement, and “getting the job done.”
  • Hierarchy oriented cultures are structured and controlled, with a focus on efficiency, stability and “doing things right.”

What culture is present your organisation, and which one would you prefer to be in?



Posted by Derek Toh

Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB.CO. He was part of the pioneer batch for the Stanford-MaGIC Entrepreneurship Program, and is also a mentor for McKinsey & Company's Youth Leadership Academy. Derek is on a mission to revolutionise work culture in Asia. He cares about initiatives that improve education and the talent market. Derek is also a big fan of superhero movies, and has been told that he drinks too much coffee during the day.

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  1. […] out our other article on the types of company cultures […]

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