AUG 30

COMPANY CULTURE: CATEGORIZATION

Manuka Myrtle: the New Zealand native plant is known for its ability to thrive in low nutrient soils. Its hardiness and diversity of use represents a system that favors a resilient and unique culture and exhibits a strong ability to face adversity well-prepared.

In the first post I made about company culture, I briefly mentioned the different types of company cultures without ever really giving any specific examples.

It just so happens that any attempt to break down the concept of “company culture” into any number of factions is a pretty facetious attempt, especially because categorizing company cultures suggests that there are swaths of companies that basically have the same (or similar) culture. This is simply not true.

But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just group companies under four general categories anyway.


The Collaborate Culture.

The collaborate culture generally values teamwork, participation, and general consensus above all else. The leaders within a collaborative company are more often than not considered to be mentors, or even parental in some regards. Having a human resources department within a collaborative culture is seen as a necessity, not a luxury. There is a heavy emphasis placed on unity and solidarity over solitude and personalization.

The Create Culture.

The create culture generally values leadership, individual initiative, and personal freedom and agency above all else. The leaders within a creative culture value innovation and risk taking among their co-workers and employees. There is definitely a commitment to experimentation, quick pivoting when problems arise, and shortcuts when necessary. The create culture heavily emphasizes growth at any cost, by any means. Success in a create culture does not mean milking every last drop out of a money machine, but actually generating more machines that contain the potential of producing more milk.

The Control Culture.

The control culture generally values a team that executes dependably and smoothly and operates with maximum security. The control culture typically involves a hierarchical company model that is highly structured and often fairly formal. Rules and procedures are the law of the land, and leaders must be efficient, good coordinators. Fluidity within the company and maximum efficiency using the least amount of resources is what makes or breaks this kind of culture. Leaders enjoy focusing on stability, performance, and ultimate efficiency when operating underneath a control culture.

The Compete Culture.

The compete culture generally values competitive action and tangible, hard results. The compete culture involve leaders that are demanding, highly productive. Leaders must also be competitive. There is more of an emphasis on winning and a lesser emphasis on the process to which someone wins. More often than not, a person’s achievements are quantitative values, rather than qualitative values. Success means penetration into a market share, or tangible expansion within a market, or a new partnership.


So even though company cultures can be categorized, albeit somewhat, into four pools of “behaviors,” it seems that company cultures can also take on certain attributes that come in singles or even doubles.

These attributes are often referred to as “spokes” of companies, as they keep the company rolling and turning toward success.

These four spokes each consist of three related concepts. Here they are:

  1. Flexibility, Discretion, and Dynamism.
  2. Stability, Order, and Control.
  3. External Focus, Differentiation, and Rivalry.
  4. Internal Focus, Integration, and Unity.

And so in this case, I think I’ll wrap up my spiel on categorizing company cultures. Really, cultures shouldn’t be pigeonholed in this way. I mean come on, people would throw a fit if someone just said that all there was to Chinese culture consisted of strict moms and the color red. And even then, those two things aren’t even legitimate core attributes to Chinese culture.

It’s nice, however, to know what kind of attributes a company takes on. Especially if that company is your creation. And in that way, I think categorization is a neat little tool to have.


A second post on company culture.

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