Culture theory – Handy
Charles Handy’s theory of culture identifies four different types of culture that can exist within organizations: power, role, task, and person. These cultures are characterized by different values and behaviors and can have a significant impact on the way that an organization functions.
- Power culture: In a power culture, the organization is driven by a small group of powerful individuals who make all of the decisions. This type of culture is often characterized by a hierarchical structure, strong leadership, and a focus on achieving results. An example of a power culture might be a smaller corporation with a CEO who holds a significant amount of decision-making authority.
- Role culture: In a role culture, the organization is driven by rules and procedures. This type of culture is characterized by a strong emphasis on following established protocols and a focus on maintaining stability and predictability. An example of a role culture might be a government agency with strict guidelines and procedures for how work is to be completed.
- Task culture: In a task culture, the organization is driven by the completion of specific projects or tasks. This type of culture is characterized by a focus on teamwork, collaboration, and the ability to adapt to change. An example of a task culture might be a consulting firm that works on a variety of short-term projects for different clients.
- Person culture: In a person culture, the organization is driven by the needs and values of the individual employees. This type of culture is characterized by a focus on personal development, creativity, and individual autonomy. An example of a person culture might be a startup company that values employee creativity and encourages innovation.
Handy linked these four types of culture to Greek gods, with the power culture being associated with Zeus (the king of the gods), the role culture being associated with Apollo (the god of order and reason), the task culture being associated with Athena (the goddess of wisdom and strategy), and the person culture being associated with Dionysus (the god of pleasure and celebration).