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Workplace Culture

Workplace Culture Examples: Definition, Types, Differences!


Culture is a difficult subject to elaborate on and even more difficult to understand its dynamics in the workplace. Workplace culture is characterized by a set of values and assumptions shared by all individuals at a workplace. This culture set forth by the mission of a company is the catalyst to amplify work production if it is positive, ultimately, leading to the success of the organization. But what is positive workplace culture? What if the workplace culture is not positive? Let us explore workplace culture examples to see its impact on the well-being of individuals and organizations.

Key Takeaways

  • Workplace culture shapes organizational success and employee well-being.
  • Different types of workplace cultures include market, hierarchy, adhocracy, and clan.
  • Examples of companies with positive workplace cultures include Costco, Etsy, and Twitter.
  • A positive workplace culture involves optimism, psychological safety, and emotional resilience.
  • Toxic workplace cultures result from poor management and discrimination, leading to negative outcomes.

Workplace culture and diversity

Globalization has diversified workplaces. Companies are obliged to hire employees across the globe to benefit from their expertise and experiences. A diverse workforce is also a compulsion because of the awareness the general public has and the demands for equality they make. Therefore, workplaces usually hire workers from different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, etc. to move with the world. So such diverse workplaces need a workplace culture that should cater to the demands of the entire workforce. Discriminatory behavior will not be considered acceptable here. Also, workplace abuse will not be tolerated against any particular racial group, and doing this might lead to a distorted workplace culture. So, workplace culture and diversity are co-related and one has a profound impact on the other.

Types of Workplace Culture

Types of workplace culture

Workplace culture is not a static concept instead it is subjective in nature appearing in a wide range of dimensions and forms. Competing Values Framework (CVF) was a concept introduced in 1983 by John Rohrbaugh and Robert Quinn to pinpoint structural differences in workplace cultures. According to CVF, there can be 4 types of workplace cultures and the characteristics of a company define its category. We will discuss these four types in the following paragraphs:

  1. Market Culture

This workplace culture is result-driven. Companies opt for market culture in order to stay on top of the industry. These workplaces have only one goal in mind and that is competition with competitors. Overall, the market culture gives the least importance to the internal processes while focusing highly on the outside market.

This workplace culture is usually common in customer service industries. It comes with many pros but some cons as well. Since the organization wants to stay ahead of the curve, so the entire team including leaders is under high pressure to generate innovative ideas every day. This can become a cause of workplace burnout stressing employees continuously.

  1. Hierarchy Culture

Hierarchal culture is based on the levels of authority and structure of an organization, as suggested by its name. It is characterized by clearly defined goals of the company, roles and responsibilities of the employees, and types of working models. This model of workplace culture operates on well-organized power structures within an organization. This division of power helps in the efficient completion of tasks that ensure the stability of an organization.

Every other organization prefers to have a hierarchal workplace culture. It is widely popular and is commonly appropriate to manage large corporate workplaces. The problem with hierarchal workplace culture is that it impedes adaptability and nimbleness. The adoption of this model even for big corporate giants is risky. So before opting for this model, it is important to consider the business needs and the rest of the industry.

  1. Adhocracy Culture

Adhocracy is an amalgamation of two widely used terms: Ad hoc and bureaucracy. This means that this culture has an easy escape from the rules and regulations of bureaucratic complexities. This implies that adhocracy culture is usually characterized by modernization, swiftness, and flexibility.

This type of workplace culture is usually found in technology businesses or start-ups, for instance, Samsung, Google, etc. Since tech companies are obsessed with top-level positions they have to continuously come up with new ideas in the world of consistently changing trends. So, such a workplace has no place for procrastination as it has to keep moving fast with market demands.

The issue with an adhocracy culture is that the companies can lose track of substantial growth and may not be able to conform to business and legal practices. So, to escape from this complication a simple solution is to opt for adhocracy culture in certain departments rather than for the entire organization.

  1. Clan Culture

In a clan culture at the workplace, the employees enjoy a close-knit, horizontal connection with each other. It is characterized by one-on-one employee training, apprenticeship, workplace parity, and teamwork. This fosters a communicative workplace environment which paves the way for enhanced employee engagement. Overall, we can say that clan culture has more orientation towards people.

This type of workplace culture is usually found in family-owned businesses or companies running on a small scale. However, this workplace culture only suits at a small level but as businesses grow and relationships become wide, complications begin and clan culture is not able to maintain them.

The Workplace Culture

Workplace culture examples

Workplace culture is a top priority for any organization as 78 percent of executives in a study claimed workplace culture to be among the foremost five factors to enhance a company’s value. However, the workplace culture needs to be improved as claimed by 84 percent of managers. Let us see some of the top companies as workplace culture examples to examine how they run their internal environments.

  1. Costco Workplace Culture

Costco has a relaxed workplace culture where everyone is encouraged to chip in the discussion at the forefront and feel a sense of belonging. It fosters a culture where all employees feel that they have a voice and are being heard. It takes suggestions from them and involves them in decision-making processes. Costco is known for being generous with its employees as compared to its competitors because it provides profits and reimbursements to them. Overall, sets an example of a positive workplace culture.

  1. Etsy Workplace Culture

Etsy gives a sense of individuality to the employees. This is an online retail platform with a positive workplace culture as it not only encourages its employees to be who they are but also gives them credit worth fifty dollars to decorate their workplace according to their nature. Not only this but it also helps employees in maintaining work-life balance. It provides a parental leave consisting of 26 weeks not only for mothers but also for fathers. Etsy offers a learning and engagement program that employees can join to develop their professional skills. So, Etsy supports its workers to grow and they feel valued this way and this acts as a stimulus to produce effective results.

  1. Twitter Workplace Culture

Employees at Twitter find a workplace where they all are united to work for the betterment of a common goal rather than competing with each other within the company. These employees give high value to their work and have faith in what they do. They believe in the mission of the company and work towards achieving this rather than individual goals. Twitter has an all-inclusive and diverse workplace that is not characterized by perks and privileges but by the loyalty of employees.

Future Trends in Workplace Culture

What makes a positive workplace culture?

What comes to mind when someone says good workplace culture? You must think that they get ample awards and other perks at their office but in actual workplace culture is not about material things. Instead, it is defined by the behaviors, environment, and attitudes of colleagues and management. If the management has created a supportive workplace culture, then the employees will be motivated to work and yield better results.

So, a positive workplace culture can vary from one workplace to the other but a few attributes are common which are discussed next:

  1. Optimism and Appreciativeness: An optimistic attitude is an instigator to help employees move forward though you can’t see this but it has an influential impact. A Workhuman Live put it: “There are four elements that are really important for business and work, right? They’re hope, confidence – sometimes called self-efficacy – resilience, and optimism. If you want people to feel really good at work, these are the four things to focus on.”
  2. Psychological safety and workplace compassion: Psychological safety is a prime mover in achieving one’s goals as emotional and physical exhaustion is diminished and the team works with satisfaction.
  3. Emotional resilience to avoid burnout: Employers and employees need to have balanced emotional health to create a positive workplace culture. It helps in fostering a culture of openness and trust in your team.
  4. Human-centric work environment: Humans need to be given enough space at workplaces and their differences of needs and wants should be given due importance.

What is toxic workplace culture?

Contrary to a positive workplace culture is a toxic workplace culture where enough importance has never been given to the improvement of employee’s surroundings. The lack of this thoughtful cultivation brings major corollaries for organizations and individuals. According to a study conducted in Sweden, employees serving under “poor” management are at a 25 percent higher risk of facing heart troubles. These emotionally and physically drained employees will get more sick leaves, thereby growing absenteeism and eventually decreasing job applications and increasing turnover rates. So a toxic workplace culture will destabilize a company.

A toxic workplace culture is defined as biased creating poles in the organization by discriminatory practices. Another word to define a toxic workplace culture is cliquey where some employees have to face isolation as people do not want to work with them in teams. A disengaged workplace culture also breeds toxicity where there is a lack of sense of belonging of the employees with their workplace resulting in low morale and poor performance. Some hyper-competitive workplace cultures support hostility with a lack of empathy and emphasis on criticism. Such toxic workplace cultures often produce rifts between organizations and employees or among employees.


Workplace culture significantly influences both individual well-being and organizational success. A positive workplace culture, characterized by inclusivity, psychological safety, and a focus on employee well-being, fosters high performance and satisfaction. In contrast, toxic workplace cultures can lead to high turnover rates, low morale, and decreased productivity. Organizations must actively cultivate a positive workplace environment to thrive in a diverse and globalized market.

Frequently Asked Questions About Workplace Culture Examples

  1. What is workplace culture?

Workplace culture is the set of shared values, beliefs, and assumptions that shape how work is done and how people interact in an organization.

  1. What makes a good workplace culture?

Supportive management, psychological safety, emotional resilience, and a human-centric environment.

  1. How can organizations improve workplace culture?

By promoting inclusivity, support, psychological safety, and addressing toxic behaviors.

  1. What defines a toxic workplace culture?

Discriminatory practices, lack of inclusivity, poor management, and a hostile work environment.

  1. What is psychological safety?

The feeling of being able to express oneself without fear of negative consequences.

  1. How does diversity impact workplace culture?

Diversity enriches the workplace with varied perspectives and experiences, fostering innovation and equality.

  1. What role does communication play in workplace culture?

Open and transparent communication fosters trust, collaboration, and a positive work environment.

  1. How does leadership impact workplace culture?

Effective leadership sets the tone for the culture, influencing behavior and organizational norms.

  1. Why is employee engagement important?

Engaged employees are more productive, committed, and contribute to a positive workplace culture.

  1. What are the effects of a toxic workplace culture?

Increased absenteeism, high turnover rates, low morale, and reduced productivity.



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