Competing Values Framework (CVF), Robert Quinn and Kim Cameron (1981)

The Competing Values Framework (CVF) is a model developed by Robert Quinn and Kim Cameron in 1981 to assess and understand different perspectives on organizational effectiveness. It provides a framework for understanding and managing the competing values that exist within organizations.

Robert Quinn and Kim Cameron identified two sets of competing values that organizations often face:

Internal Focus vs. External Focus:

  • Internal Focus emphasizes stability, control, and efficiency within the organization.
  • External Focus emphasizes flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness to external demands and changes.

Stability vs. Flexibility:

  • Stability focuses on order, consistency, and predictability within the organization.
  • Flexibility focuses on innovation, change, and adaptation to external and internal dynamics.

The CVF organizes these competing values into four quadrants, each representing a different organizational perspective:

  • Clan Culture: This perspective emphasizes collaboration, teamwork, and employee development. Organizations with a clan culture tend to have a strong internal focus and value stability. They prioritize cohesion, employee empowerment, and long-term relationships.
  • Adhocracy Culture: This perspective emphasizes innovation, creativity, and adaptability. Organizations with an adhocracy culture have an external focus and value flexibility. They prioritize entrepreneurship, experimentation, and staying ahead of the competition.
  • Market Culture: This perspective emphasizes competition, achievement, and results. Organizations with a market culture have an external focus and value stability. They prioritize market share, customer satisfaction, and delivering high-quality products or services.
  • Hierarchy Culture: This perspective emphasizes control, efficiency, and stability. Organizations with a hierarchy culture have an internal focus and value stability. They prioritize structure, rules, and processes to ensure efficiency and clear lines of authority.

The CVF acknowledges that all four perspectives have their strengths and weaknesses and can be appropriate in different organizational contexts. However, it also suggests that organizations often have a dominant culture that influences decision-making, communication, and overall functioning.

By understanding the competing values and the dominant culture within an organization, leaders can better align strategies, structures, and processes to enhance organizational effectiveness. The CVF has been widely used in organizational development, leadership, and change management to assess organizational culture, identify areas for improvement, and guide interventions that support organizational success.

It is important to note that the CVF is a conceptual model and should be used as a tool for reflection and analysis rather than as a prescriptive framework. It helps stimulate discussions and understanding of different perspectives and can guide organizations towards a more balanced and adaptable approach.