Organizational Cultures Must be Viewed in a Holistic Way

Cultures are complex. That’s why there are so many models to help us understand our organizational culture. But there are 4 basic components of culture that we need to understand fully before we can apply any of those models.



1. Intended culture. The culture that you are attempting to create through policy and communication of expectations.

2. Permitted culture. The cultures that exist because the behaviors and attitudes expressed are allowed to continue.

3. Macroculture. The overarching culture comprised of the various microcultures and culture experiences throughout the organization.

4. Microcultures. The cultures that exist within the organization, regardless of their alignment with the intended and macroculture.


Microcultures exist within all macrocultures and the differences between them can be extremely beneficial to organization as whole. When microcultures align in healthy ways the macroculture thrives. Having the ability to measure the culture values and alignments of the microcultures is necessary if you are to align them with the intended culture and ensure that they coexist in healthy ways with the other microcultures in your organization.

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