Corporate Culture, Charles Handy and Roger Harrison (1976)

Corporate culture refers to the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and practices that shape the behavior and mindset of individuals within an organization. It encompasses the unwritten rules, norms, and social patterns that influence how employees interact with one another, make decisions, and approach their work. Corporate culture plays a crucial role in shaping the identity and overall functioning of an organization.

In 1976, Charles Handy and Roger Harrison proposed a model known as the “Handy-Harrison Model” to describe the different types of corporate cultures that exist within organizations. Their model outlined four main types:

  • Power Culture: In a power culture, power is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals or a central figure within the organization. Decision-making is centralized, and there is often a strong emphasis on personal influence and authority. Power cultures can be seen in small, entrepreneurial organizations or those led by a dominant leader.
  • Role Culture: A role culture is characterized by clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and hierarchies within the organization. Formal systems and procedures govern operations, and individuals are expected to adhere to their specific roles. Bureaucratic organizations with a focus on stability and consistency often exhibit a role culture.
  • Task Culture: Task culture places importance on projects, teams, and expertise. The organization is structured around teams or project groups, and individuals are chosen based on their skills and knowledge. Task cultures emphasize collaboration, problem-solving, and flexibility to accomplish specific objectives.
  • Person Culture: Person culture refers to an organization where individuals have a high degree of autonomy and freedom. Employees see themselves as individuals first and may work together on common goals, but their personal interests and values take precedence over the organization. Person cultures are typically found in professional associations or organizations where members have specialized expertise.

The Handy-Harrison Model provides a framework for understanding and analyzing different corporate cultures. It helps leaders and managers recognize the dominant culture within their organization and understand how it affects employee behavior, decision-making processes, and overall organizational performance. By understanding their corporate culture, organizations can align their values, practices, and strategies to create a positive and productive work environment.