What is hierarchical corporate culture? - Definition from WhatIs.com


hierarchical corporate culture

Part of the Project management glossary:

A hierarchical corporate culture is an organizational model based on clearly defined corporate levels and structures. 

Hierarchy is a type of organizational structure in which items are ranked according to levels of importance. In a corporate environment, hierarchies depend upon structure, rules and top-down control to guide business practices and activities. An adherence to identified best practices, controlled processes and considerable oversight are considered essential to productivity and success. 

Critics of hierarchical corporate culture, on the other hand, argue that the control and rigidity of the model stifle creativity and employee initiative. 

Other types of corporate culture models include: 

  • Adhocracies, which emphasize the ability to adapt quickly to changing conditions.
  • Clan cultures, which are a family-like environment that value consensus and commonality of values and goals.
  • Market cultures, which are corporate environments that emphasize competition.


This was last updated in February 2014
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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