Charles Handy Model of Organization Culture

What is an organization ?

An organization is a setup where individuals (employees) come together to work for a common goal. It is essential for the employees to work in close coordination, deliver their level bests and achieve the targets within the stipulated time frame for the smooth functioning of the organization.

Every organization has certain values and follows some policies and guidelines which differentiate it from others. The principles and beliefs of any organization form its culture. The organization culture decides the way employees interact amongst themselves as well as external parties. No two organizations can have the same culture and it is essential for the employees to adjust well in their organization’s culture to enjoy their work and stay stress-free.

Several models have been proposed till date explaining the organization culture, one of them being the Charles Handy model.

Who is Charles Handy ?

Charles Handy born in 1932 in Ireland is a well-known philosopher who has specialized in organization culture.

According to Charles Handy’s model, there are four types of culture which the organizations follow:

Let us understand them in detail:

  1. Power

    There are some organizations where the power remains in the hands of only few people and only they are authorized to take decisions. They are the ones who enjoy special privileges at the workplace. They are the most important people at the workplace and are the major decision makers. These individuals further delegate responsibilities to the other employees. In such a culture the subordinates have no option but to strictly follow their superior’s instructions. The employees do not have the liberty to express their views or share their ideas on an open forum and have to follow what their superior says. The managers in such a type of culture sometimes can be partial to someone or the other leading to major unrest among others.

  2. Task Culture

    Organizations where teams are formed to achieve the targets or solve critical problems follow the task culture. In such organizations individuals with common interests and specializations come together to form a team. There are generally four to five members in each team. In such a culture every team member has to contribute equally and accomplish tasks in the most innovative way.

  3. Person Culture

    There are certain organizations where the employees feel that they are more important than their organization. Such organizations follow a culture known as person culture. In a person culture, individuals are more concerned about their own self rather than the organization. The organization in such a culture takes a back seat and eventually suffers. Employees just come to the office for the sake of money and never get attached to it. They are seldom loyal towards the management and never decide in favour of the organization. One should always remember that organization comes first and everything else later.

  4. Role culture

    Role culture is a culture where every employee is delegated roles and responsibilities according to his specialization, educational qualification and interest to extract the best out of him. In such a culture employees decide what best they can do and willingly accept the challenge. Every individual is accountable for something or the other and has to take ownership of the work assigned to him. Power comes with responsibility in such a work culture.


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