What company culture is the best?
In the traditional literature on management and business administration from the end of the 20th century, there are mentioned the factors distinguishing successful companies from those less successful. The following were considered as the most important:
- High barrier to market entry by competitors
- Unmistakable own product
- High market share
- Weak negotiating position of buyers
- Weak negotiating position of suppliers
- Great mutual rivalry between competitors
It sounds logical and it is clear that these factors increase the chances of success on a market. However, when analysing the results of companies operating in the US at the beginning of this century, none of the 5 most successful had any of the advantages mentioned above.
What these companies had in common was a strong organizational culture. What does this concept mean? It is a set of values, standards and attitudes that are specific to each organization; they are shaped over time through mutual interactions between people and are widely shared by the company’s employees. What is meant by a strong culture is a culture where there is a high degree of sharing.
Today, it is proven that the organization culture has a direct impact on a company’s performance, employees’ motivation and engagement, fluctuation rate, morbidity and even the objective health status of people within the company. Therefore, it is a topic that is a key to success for a company in the globalized world where maintaining product uniqueness is increasingly difficult, and it can be expected that the importance of culture for company success will continue to grow.
Which culture is the right one? Can the culture of a successful advertising agency be the same as the culture of a good law firm? Does it make sense to use the same benchmarks for an industrial enterprise and a bank? Should be the company culture of a chain of luxury jeweller’s shops be the same as the company culture of a discount store? The answer is obvious; an optimal company culture must respect the specifics of a given product and the specifics of the market environment where the company operates.
Company culture, unlike economic indicators, is difficult to measure. It is much easier to assess it subjectively on the basis of knowledge of the environment or interviews with employees. However, this is time-consuming and lacking in objectivity. A certain option is to focus on shared values and, based on them, to classify different types of organizational culture.
Depending on the degree of openness to a market environment and the freedom of decision-making by employees within an organization, we can classify 4 basic types of organizational culture:
- Clannish with a high level of inner freedom and little openness
- Informal with a high level of freedom and great openness
- Competitive with a low level of freedom and great openness
- Hierarchical with a low level of freedom and little openness
Then, each type matches a certain group of preferred values.
Most organizations have more than one culture type. This creates a profile that is characteristic of each company. Within a company, the culture may not be the same in all its parts. Some companies are very homogeneous in terms of the culture, in others, the culture varies widely in different organizational parts. Both models have their advantages and disadvantages.
So what is the best company culture? Employee engagement is a criterion. A culture encouraging successful market operation and creating an optimal internal social environment affects the emotional state of people, resulting in the degree of their engagement. Comparing engagement with the team culture in different teams, as Peoplix can measure it, is a good indicator of a culture type that should be developed and supported in the organization.