Friday, August 13, 2010

Charles Handy

Charles Handy[5] (1985) popularized the 1972 work of Roger Harrison of looking at culture which some scholars have used to link organizational structure to organizational culture. He describes Harrison's four types thus:

a Power Culture which concentrates power among a few. Control radiates from the center like a web. Power and influence spread out from a central figure or group. Power desires from the top person and personal relationships with that individual matters more than any formal title of position. Power Cultures have few rules and little bureaucracy; swift decisions can ensue.

In a Role Culture, people have clearly delegated authorities within a highly defined structure. Typically, these organizations form hierarchical bureaucracies. Power derives from a person's position and little scope exists for expert power. Controlled by procedures, roles descriptions and authority definitions. Predictable and consistent systems and procedures are highly valued.

By contrast, in a Task Culture, teams are formed to solve particular problems. Power derives from expertise as long as a team requires expertise. These cultures often feature the multiple reporting lines of a matrix structure. It is all a small team approach, who are highly skilled and specialist in their own markets of experience.

A Person Culture exists where all individuals believe themselves superior to the organization. Survival can become difficult for such organizations, since the concept of an organization suggests that a group of like-minded individuals pursue the organizational goals. Some professional partnerships can operate as person cultures, because each partner brings a particular expertise and clientele to the firm

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