The four types of organizational culture

A Clan Culture is a culture that has an internal focus and values flexibility rather than stability and control. It is similar to a family-type organization in which effectiveness is achieved by encouraging collaboration between employees. This type of culture is very employee-focused and strives to cohesion through consensus and job satisfaction and commitment through employee involvement. Clan organizations devote considerable resources to hiring and developing their employees and they view customers as partners (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2010, p. 72).

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Cisco exhibits many of the attributes of a clan culture. Its main thrust is collaboration through teamwork. There is cohesion, participation, communication and empowerment. Cisco values its employees and strives to create an inclusive, balanced, and collaborative environment that enables employees to develop and utilize their talents, give back to their communities, and advance their careers. Cisco is committed to embedding a collaborative working culture, providing a safe and healthy work environment, promoting employees’ physical and mental well- being, engaging their employees, promoting diversity and inclusion for its employees as well as providing employees with opportunities through training and development ( All of these attributes point to a clan culture.

An Adhocracy Culture has an external focus and values flexibility. This type of culture fosters the creation of innovative products and services by being adaptable, creative, and fast to respond to changes in the marketplace. Adhocracy cultures do not rely on the type of centralized power and authority relationships that are part of market and hierarchical cultures. They encourage employees to take risks, think outside the box and experiment with new ways of getting things done. This type of culture is well suited for start-up companies, those in industries undergoing constant change, and those in industries that are in need of innovation to enhance growth (Kreitner ; Kinicki, 2010, p. 72).

Cisco also exhibits attributes of an adhocracy culture. Innovation and learning are values that permeate the company. Individuals are encouraged to think and respond in ways they consider appropriate and consistent with the company’s values. They are encouraged to take risks and think outside the box – to look for new ways of doing things to achieve Cisco’s strategic objectives. Micromanagement is rare and decentralization is encouraged. Because Cisco operates in an industry where technology is constantly changing and competition is brutal; innovation, creativity and adaptability are a must (

A Market culture has a strong external focus and values stability and control. Organizations with this culture are driven by competition and a strong desire to deliver results and accomplish goals. Because this type of culture is focused on the external environment, customers and profits take precedence over employee development and satisfaction. The major goal of managers is to drive toward productivity, profits, and customer satisfaction. Employees are expected to react fast, work hard, and deliver quality work on time. Organizations with this type of culture tend to reward people who deliver results (Kreitner ; Kinicki, 2010, p. 73).

At Cisco, customer satisfaction is a core value. Customer satisfaction drives the entire organization. It is a central part of Cisco’s culture and is tied to the bonus plan. Although market share, profitability, and goal achievement are an end product for Cisco, the means by which it gets there isn’t exclusively through customer focus, productivity, and enhancing competition. Its main focus remains collaboration (

A Hierarchy Culture has an internal focus which produces a more formalized and structure work environment and values stability and control over flexibility. This orientation leads to the development of reliable internal processes, extensive measurement, and the implementation of a variety of control mechanisms. Companies with a hierarchy culture are more likely to use total quality management programs. Effectiveness in a company with this type of culture is likely to be assessed with measures of efficiency, timeliness, and reliability of producing and delivering products and services (Kreitner ; Kinicki, 2010, p. 73).

I don’t believe that Cisco has is a hierarchy culture. According to Kreitner & Kinicki, CEO Chambers realized that Cisco’s hierarchical structure precluded it from moving quickly into new markets so it began to group executives into cross-functional teams (p.89). This leads one to believe that Cisco once had this type of culture but doesn’t anymore. Its main thrust is not control and its end is not efficiency, timeliness and smooth functioning. It values flexibility over control and is collaborative and innovative.

If I had to choose only one type of culture that Cisco is, I would have to say it is a clan culture as its main focus is collaboration through teamwork. However, Cisco also exhibits many of the attributes of an adhocracy culture and some of the attributes of a market culture. Cisco website indicates that it has a culture that promotes cohesion, participation, communication, empowerment, inclusion, teamwork, innovation, and compensation based on the results of the teamwork (

Begin by looking up Cisco’s mission or visions statement on the company’s website. Now answer the following question: To what extent is the culture type you identified in question 2 consistent with the accomplishment of this mission or vision? Explain. According to Cisco’s website, their mission is to “Shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors, and ecosystem partners”. Their vision is “Changing the Way We Work, Live, Play, and Learn” (

A culture that is exclusively clan may have some difficulty accomplishing the goals of the mission/vision statements. Cisco places emphasis on collaboration, customers, employees and community which indicates to me that it is more than a clan culture. Cisco is collaborative but also innovative and competitive. While they value employees and emphasize getting work done through teamwork, they also must be innovative to address the ever changing environment in their industry. They also have a strong customer focus that significantly contributed to their market share, profitability and goal achievement. Although they possess more of the attributes of a clan culture than other cultures, they still possess some very important attributes of an adhocracy culture (innovation, creativity and agility) and a market culture (customer focus).