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Four Organization Cultures

We have identified four basic types of organizations.

The following model is useful when dealing with conflict, change, and/or learning how to communicate effectively and achieve goals within an organization. The basic characteristics for each type of organization are listed on the left. Consider what type of organization you are in now, or have experienced in the past.


Key Behavior
Payoff
Goal
Information
Decision Making
Leadership
TRADITIONAL
Following
Security
Continuity
Filtered
By Elites
By Position
CHALLENGING
Opposing
Uniqueness
Creativity
For Individual Needs
By Individuals
By Support

Key Behavior
Payoff
Goal
Information
Decision Making
Leadership
SYNCHRONOUS
Self-directed
Use Full Potential
Peak Performance
Self Contained
Intuitive
Internalized
OPEN
Initiating
Accomplishment
Results
Maximum for All
By the Affected
By Ability


These different organizations will view and manage change and conflict in their own way.

TRADITIONAL
Threat
Avoid it
Hide it
Escalate it
CHALLENGING
Stimulating
Surface issues
Debate it
Use it creatively
SYNCHRONOUS
Rarely a problem
Transcend it
Transform it
Use Intuition to Resolve
OPEN
Useful
Take Advantage of New Information
Resolve with Win-Win
Manage it


Which type of organization are you a part of now?

Which type of organization do you prefer?

Contact us for more information about this model, how to use it and how to align your needs with your organization.

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Copyright Bonnie Best 1997, adapted and used with permission of Patrick M. Williams, former Professor San Jose State University, author of Designing and Leading Open System Organizations.

Last updated January 11, 2011