top of page

This Quick, Free Assessment Will Help You Understand and Articulate Your Current Company Culture

What do you say when asked about your company culture? Do you have the words to describe it or are you left at a loss? If you fall into the second category, you're not alone.

As I've mentioned before, culture is often this really intangible thing that's hard to describe to others. Given this difficultly, I'm so excited to share a framework that will help you better understand and articulate your current culture!

The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) is a validated research method used to assess organizational culture. Basically, that's just a fancy way of saying that this isn't some silly Buzzfeed quiz -- there's hard science behind their findings!

The tool was created by Professors Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn and is based on their Competing Values Framework. Through their research, Cameron and Quinn determined that effective companies fall into one of four quadrants based on two sets of opposite values:

Internal Focus and Integration - OR - External Focus and Differentiation Stability and Control - OR - Flexibility and Discretion

Cameron and Quinn plotted these two competing values on a matrix, the four resulting quadrants representing significantly different organizational cultures: Clan, Adhocracy, Hierarchy, and Market.

While the above chart gives you a clear representation of the four different quadrants, very few companies fall completely in one quadrant.

Instead, most results look something like this:

As you see above, your results will give you both the current state of your culture and what they call your "preferred future." This will allow you to compare and contrast different aspects of your culture that you may want to start changing.

All this said, I'm sure you're dying to know what the four different cultures look like!

Here's how the OCAI website classifies each type.


Clan Culture

This working environment is a friendly one. People have a lot in common, and it’s similar to a large family. The leaders or the executives are seen as mentors or maybe even as father figures. The organization is held together by loyalty and tradition. There is great involvement. The organization emphasizes long-term Human Resource development and bonds colleagues by morals. Success is defined within the framework of addressing the needs of the clients and caring for the people. The organization promotes teamwork, participation, and consensus.

Leader Type: facilitator, mentor, team builder Value Drivers: Commitment, communication, development Theory of Effectiveness: HR development and participation are effective Quality Improvement Strategy: Empowerment, team building, employee involvement, Human Resource development, open communication


Adhocracy Culture This is a dynamic and creative working environment. Employees take risks. Leaders are seen as innovators and risk takers. Experiments and innovation are the bonding materials within the organization. Prominence is emphasized. The long-term goal is to grow and create new resources. The availability of new products or services is seen as success. The organization promotes individual initiative and freedom.

Leader Type: Innovator, entrepreneur, visionary Value Drivers: Innovative outputs, transformation, agility Theory of Effectiveness: Innovativeness, vision and new resources are effective Quality Improvement Strategy: Surprise and delight, creating new standards, anticipating needs, continuous improvement, finding creative solutions


Market Culture This is a results-based organization that emphasizes finishing work and getting things done. People are competitive and focused on goals. Leaders are hard drivers, producers, and rivals at the same time. They are tough and have high expectations. The emphasis on winning keeps the organization together. Reputation and success are the most important. Long-term focus is on rival activities and reaching goals. Market penetration and stock are the definitions of success. Competitive prices and market leadership are important. The organizational style is based on competition.

Leader Type: Hard driver, competitor, producer Value Drivers: Market share, goal achievement, profitability Theory of Effectiveness: Aggressively competing and customer focus are effective Quality Improvement Strategy: Measuring client preferences, improving productivity, creating external partnerships, enhancing competitiveness, involving customers and suppliers


Hierarchy Culture This is a formalized and structured work environment. Procedures decide what people do. Leaders are proud of their efficiency-based coordination and organization. Keeping the organization functioning smoothly is most crucial. Formal rules and policy keep the organization together. The long-term goals are stability and results, paired with efficient and smooth execution of tasks. Trustful delivery, smooth planning, and low costs define success. The personnel management has to guarantee work and predictability.

Leader Type: Coordinator, monitor, organizer Value Drivers: Efficiency, timeliness, consistency, and uniformity Theory of Effectiveness: Control and efficiency with capable processes are effective Quality Improvement Strategy: Error detection, measurement, process control, systematic problem solving, quality tools


Cool, yes?!

While these descriptions are generalized and most companies are a mix of some or all of the four types, I find it really resonates with companies who are struggling to articulate what their current or ideal culture looks like.

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to OCAI's website now and take the free assessment. It's a great way to start or continue your culture journey.

If you'd like to chat about your particular results, feel free to schedule a free call with me here. I would love to hear about what you discovered and share some additional insight!

To Happier Employees,


P.S. Are you a company whose looking to have all your employees collectively take the survey, so you can get the most accurate results? I'm happy to walk you through their Pro and Enterprise options - just choose the time you'd like to connect.


Is being a great place to work a priority for you? Scroll down to sign up for our weekly newsletter and receive a new blog post in your inbox every Tuesday!