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6 Types of Corporate Culture (And Why They Work)



Whether they know it or not, every company has a culture. There are many different types of corporate culture. Some evolve naturally and some are intentional, but all of them fit the same definition. When we look at culture, we are looking at the sum-total of the behaviors of all employees; culture is defined by what the people of the organization do.  Culture is not to be confused with your company mission, vision, and values. The mission of the company sets the direction, whereas culture describes environment around how the mission is achieved, and values define what the culture will be.


So, why do you need to identify your corporate culture? There are a few important reasons:

  • Operate with intention – Understanding both the type of culture you want and the type of culture you currently have will allow you to forge a path to get from Point A to Point B.
  • Uncover gaps – When you evaluate your company culture, it allows you to identify areas that could be improved so you know where and how to take action.
  • Identify opportunities – Similarly, taking the time for self-reflection can potentially highlight opportunities that you might be missing out on.

Examples of Corporate Culture

Just as people from across the globe live in different cultures, so do companies; and in some cases, even divisions within a company can have their own culture. Listed below are a few common corporate cultures you may wish to create at your organization.

1. Empowered Culture

The epitome of an empowered culture is when every individual in your organization feel fully engaged and actively participates in the success of the business. People initiate new activities that will benefit your company, take ownership of their work, and are willingly responsible for the outcomes.

People that thrive in an empowered corporate culture are those that are not afraid to take initiative and exhibit confidence in their decisions. Some of the benefits of fostering this type of culture include:

  • Potential issues are identified and addressed before they become problems
  • Employees feel comfortable coming to superiors with new ideas
  • Individuals are engaged in making the organization better
  • People feel accountable for their actions and take ownership of their ideas

2. Culture of Innovation

In some industries, innovation is highly valued and necessary for the ongoing success of the organization. A culture of innovation focuses not just on coming up with new ideas, but also on following a rigorous process to bring those ideas to fruition.

In a culture of innovation, having a diverse set of personalities will enable ideas to percolate more readily. While some people may be better at the creative elements of innovation, others may be more adept at implementing the processes to bring them to life. The benefits of developing this type of culture in an organization include:

  • A unified commitment to innovation among all members of the organization
  • Competitive advantage in the marketplace through ongoing innovation
  • An environment where everybody feels comfortable communicating their ideas

3. Sales Culture

Creating a sales culture at your organization may signal that there is an underlying impetus to support the activities that generate revenue for your company. For companies with a large sales force, undergoing a culture transformation to focus on sales within that group can make them better able to promote new products and services, approach new markets, develop a sales process that is in line with your company’s values, and use the tools that will help them maximize sales.

The individuals who thrive in a sales culture tend to be focused on delivering the product or service that best meets customers’ needs. Implementing a sales culture at your organization can provide the following benefits:

  • A salesforce that is fully informed about every product and service the company provides
  • A commitment from all teams to support the salesforce as needed
  • Accountability in committing to targets and trying to exceed those expectations

4. Customer-Centric Culture

A customer-centric culture is all about the consumers who buy your company’s products or services. This type of culture permeates your entire organization, including those who have no interactions with customers at all. Employees in a culture of customer centricity are empowered to see everything through the eyes of the customer and to make appropriate decisions based on their observations The benefits of a customer-centric culture include:

  • Company-wide accountability in all aspects of work
  • An increase in customer satisfaction
  • A workforce committed to delivering an exceptional customer experience every time

5. Culture of Leadership Excellence

In a culture of leadership excellence, individuals at every level have confidence that company leaders are committed to continuous improvement. In turn, leaders demonstrate their commitment by participating in ongoing training, leadership development programs, mentoring, and coaching.

In this type of culture, individuals who have natural leadership tendencies will readily rise to the top. Perhaps more importantly, those individuals who have inherent leadership skills but are not aware of them will be recognized and nurtured to fill their natural role. A culture of leadership excellence benefits from:

  • A robust leadership pipeline
  • Better employee retention through internal employee development
  • Strong leaders in every area of the organization

6. Culture of Safety

In industries that involve physical labor, heavy machinery, or hazardous materials, having a culture of safety means that you are committed to protecting the health and well-being of every individual. This includes having certain safety procedures in place, requiring specific behaviors, and ongoing training to ensure that everybody has all the necessary information to perform their job safely.

In a culture of safety, employees inherently protect not just themselves, but also their colleagues. The benefits of a culture of safety include:

  • Fewer incidents and associated cost savings
  • A universal feeling that employee safety is valued by the organization
  • A proactive approach to safety and compliance

It is important to note that each of these types of corporate culture does not necessarily have to stand alone; there can be crossover. For example, you can have an empowered culture that is also committed to customer centricity.

Which type of culture best fits your company? Which culture do you want for your organization? If these two answers don’t align, it’s time to start planning your transformation. Culture transformation is challenging, but it is possible. When done right, you can achieve lasting behavioral changes that will propagate for the life of the company. Are you ready for a change?


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