What are the Types of Organizational Culture in KSA?

Organizational culture represents the values, beliefs, and behavior of organizational operations in Saudi Arabia. The backbone of success in business hangs on a good foundational corporate culture. The different types of organizational culture influence many aspects of an organization, like decision-making, work environment, and employee interaction. Understanding their differences will help you know which one fits your workplace.

What is Organizational Culture?

Fundamentally, organizational culture personifies the organization’s shared values, attitudes, and practices. It significantly shapes employee contentment and engagement. Building a healthy culture proves pivotal, drawing suitable employees and sustaining them in the organization.

According to a SHRM report, 95% of employees who rate their organizational culture as poor have thought about leaving their organization. Nowadays, along with packages, the employees asses the organization’s work environment before even applying for them.

Organizational culture represents the organization’s core values, vision, and mission. So, it takes time and dedication to create a powerful corporate culture. With the company’s growth, the type of organizational culture changes but will always represent its core values and goals.

Types of Organizational Cultures

There are four distinctive organizational culture types in Saudi Arabia. These cultures vary in their emphasis on collaboration, innovation, competitiveness, and structural framework.

1. Clan Culture

Clan culture, or collaborative culture, is based on teamwork and inclusivity. It gives you a feel of a family. It has an adaptable environment focused on communication and mutual respect, thus giving you a positive work culture. Additionally, employees’ voices are considered here, promising engagement, commitment, and teamwork decisions.

The key traits of Clan culture are- teamwork, development, empowerment, communication, and engagement.


  • Family-like relaxed environment due to stronger relationships among coworkers.
  • High employee engagement due to open channels for feedback and action
  • High market growth possibility due to shared company goals.


  • Challenges in taking charge and making tough decisions.
  • Potential productivity hindrances due to excessive collaboration.
  • The familial setting becomes challenging as the company expands.

Organizations that follow Clan Culture

Organizations that embrace clan culture often prioritize employee development, open communication, and a sense of belonging. They encourage employees to participate in decision-making processes and value long-term employee relationships actively. The organization’s culture is built on trust, flexibility, and collaboration, fostering a sense of ownership among employees.

The organizations that incorporate clan culture are Google, Toyota, Airbnb, Tom’s of Maine, and Zappos which encourage a sense of community among their employees and emphasize a work-life balance.

2. Adhocracy Culture

The Adhocracy has a creative culture with room for constant innovation and experimentation. This culture gives an adaptable and risk-taking environment to constantly push you to come up with out-of-the-box ideas.

The key traits are – creativity, risk-taking, and adaptability


  • Constant innovation and adaptability.
  • Flexibility and versatility in work dynamics.
  • Prioritization of employee professional growth.


  • Impersonal work environment leading to lower employee satisfaction.
  • Limited focus on employee development, contributing to high turnover.
  • Constant innovation might evoke competitive pressures among employees.

Organizations that follow Adhocracy Culture

Organizations with an adhocracy culture tend to be dynamic, creative, and open to experimentation. They encourage a fast-paced work environment, where employees are expected to be adaptable, take risks, and be open to experimentation. The organizations value experimentation, learning from failures, and adapting quickly to changing market conditions.

Some of the organizations that follow the adhocracy culture are Apple, Spotify, Facebook, Tesla, Barclays, and WL Gore.

3. Market Culture

Market culture or competitive culture prioritizes financial success and goal attainment. It urges its employees to align with the company’s objectives and external accomplishments. Out of all types of organizational culture, this encompasses a competitive environment and focuses on results-driven actions.

The key traits are – achievement, competition, and aggressiveness.


  • Rewards hard work with bonuses and promotions.
  • Encourages innovation to outpace competition.
  • Driven by results, fostering high productivity.


  • Creates a competitive and potentially toxic work environment.
  • Increase in stress and burnout risks due to high competition.
  • Employee turnover due to demanding workplaces.

Organizations that follow Market Culture

Organizations with a market culture tend to be customer-oriented, responsive to market changes, and focused on achieving measurable outcomes. They emphasize data-driven decision-making, continuous improvement, and a customer-centric approach to business. The market culture focuses on efficiency, performance, and competitiveness.

Organizations like Amazon, Bluecore, Warby Parker, and General Electric have a market-type organizational culture.

4. Hierarchy Culture

In stark contrast to clan culture, hierarchy culture embraces vertical leadership structures and clear chains of command. This culture prioritizes stability through well-defined hierarchical systems and a focus on protocol adherence. This approach is prevalent in industries necessitating strict oversight for productivity, yet it might stifle innovation and flexibility.

The key traits are – structure, efficiency, and stability.


  • Organized and efficient work environment.
  • Clear authority and boundaries streamline communication.
  • Provides a sense of workplace security.


  • Restrictive nature hinders creativity and flexibility.
  • Impersonal work environment leading to lower employee satisfaction.
  • Limited focus on employee development, contributing to high turnover.

Organizations that follow Hierarchy Culture

Organizations with a hierarchical organizational culture tend to be characterized by clear lines of authority, structured processes, and a focus on efficiency and stability. In this culture authority is clearly defined and decision-making is typically followed by a top-down approach, with well-defined roles and responsibilities. It ensures compliance, risk management, and adherence to regulatory requirements.

Some of the organizations that are commonly associated with the Hierarchy Culture are military organizations, government agencies, large Corporations with traditional structures, Financial Institutions, Academic Institutions, and Manufacturing Companies.

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Other Types of Organizational Culture

Apart from the four main types of organizational cultures discussed above, there are also other types to acknowledge in Saudi Arabia.

Purpose Culture

The driving force in a purpose culture is the organization’s core values and mission. Companies embodying this culture aspire to bring about positive transformations in their industry or community. This involves the employees and leaders sharing benevolent beliefs coming together, aiming to make a meaningful impact on the world, and advocating for the equitable distribution of global resources, especially for those residing on the margins.

Learning Culture

The main focus of the organization’s encompassing learning culture is continuous learning, adaptation, and innovation. In this culture, organizations prioritize the development of knowledge, skills, and capabilities among their employees. There is a strong focus on collaboration, communication, and creating a supportive environment that fosters individual and collective learning.

The key features include a willingness to experiment, openness to new ideas, a commitment to sharing knowledge, and encouragement of ongoing professional development.

Accountability Culture

The strong emphasis of accountability culture is on responsibility, ownership, and answerability for one’s actions and outcomes within the organization. In this culture, everyone from executives to the CEO is expected to take ownership of their tasks and decisions, and there is a clear framework for tracking and measuring performance.

The key features include clear expectations, transparent communications, consequences for actions, performance metrics, a focus on continuous improvement, and leadership setting an example of responsibility and accountability.

Coaching Culture

The strong focus of a coaching culture is on mentoring, guidance, and development of employees within the organization. In this type of culture, there is an emphasis on fostering the growth and potential of employees through coaching and feedback.

The key features include mentorship and guidance, continuous feedback, employee empowerment, skill enhancement, open communication, goal alignment, and leadership as coaches. The overall objective is to nurture a supportive environment where employees feel motivated to learn, grow, and excel with the guidance of mentors or coaches.

Safety Culture

In a safety culture, there is a risk aversion approach and leaders emphasize safety by carefully planning, taking calculated risks, and adhering to proven practices that have been effective in the past. The key features include proactive risk management, planning and preparedness, precedent-based decision-making, and continuous improvement.

What is the role of HR in developing Organizational Culture?

role of hr in developing organizational culture

We know by now that organizational culture plays an important role in the success of any organization. A positive workplace culture can have a significant impact on staff morale, performance, retention, and productivity.

The role of Human Resources (HR) manager in developing organizational culture is crucial and multifaceted. HR managers significantly influence and shape the culture of an organization through various responsibilities and initiatives.

The different ways in which HR can develop a healthy organizational structure are-

1. Establish Pay Structure and Compensation

HR plays a pivotal role in establishing clear, competitive, and well-designed compensation structures. A well-drafted compensation policy positively impacts employee motivation, and satisfaction, and contributes to a healthy work culture.

2. Manage Performance

HR is instrumental in structuring and managing performance management systems. A fair performance management system fosters employee assimilation, collaboration, and a cooperative work environment.

3. Conduct Training and Development

HR managers initiate and oversee training and development programs. These programs contribute to a dynamic business culture, focusing on skill advancement, communication, teamwork, and aligning with company values.

4. Leadership Role

HR managers serve as influential workplace leaders, delegating responsibilities, setting guidelines, and supervising employee performance. Their conduct and interactions with employees significantly impact morale, productivity, and engagement.

4. Maintain Employee Relations

HR acts as a bridge, fostering healthy relations between employees and management. Proactive resolution of workplace issues and transparent communication positively contribute to organizational culture.

5. Ensure Workplace Safety

HR is responsible for ensuring a safe and hazard-free work environment. Training, policies, and communication regarding workplace safety contribute to employee well-being and reflect the organization’s commitment to a positive culture.

6. Culture Endorsers

HR managers actively assess, understand, and endorse the organization’s culture. They align employees with company values, develop strategic culture plans, and contribute to creating a cohesive work environment.

6. Diversity and Inclusion

HR shapes diversity and inclusion through hiring policies, selection processes, and addressing employee concerns. Embracing diversity leads to greater employee competence, improved work culture, heightened engagement, and superior organizational performance.

In summary, HR managers serve as architects of organizational culture by influencing various aspects such as compensation, performance management, training, leadership, employee relations, safety, cultural endorsement, and promoting diversity and inclusion. Their proactive approach in these areas contributes to creating a positive and thriving work culture within the organization.

How to Identify Which Culture Fits Your Workplace?

Organizational culture plays a pivotal role in shaping a company’s identity and influencing team dynamics. Identifying the organizational culture is essential to meet the company’s values and aspirations. The type that will fit your company culture depends upon several factors, including the industry type, your business model, your goal, and especially your current stage of development.

The great way to do this is by clearly defining what values are important to your organization’s mission and vision as your organizational culture should be a reflection of your core values. Once your core values are set next you can compare them with the traits of different types of organizational cultures.

Assess the advantages and disadvantages of potential cultures, aiming for a balance that brings more benefits than drawbacks from your organization’s perspective. Employee feedback is also a very useful way to ensure a culture that resonates with and supports their needs.

Regularly assess your progress toward organizational culture goals and ensure ongoing alignment with your company’s mission and values. It is important to note that organizational culture evolves and keeps changing as per the expansion rate and needs of the organization. Additionally, some organizations may exhibit a mix of cultural characteristics rather than aligning with a single type.


Organizational culture significantly shapes the workplace environment, creating distinct employee and customer experiences. All types of organizational culture in Saudi Arabia have different traits and priorities, which help the company’s overall development. Understanding the various external factors, business goals, and employee preferences will help you easily access the type suitable for your workplace and gain the most out of it. As you by now how important role HR plays in improving organizational culture, thus the fundamental thing is to improve your managerial hierarchy.

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Clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy cultures differ based on collaboration, innovation, competitiveness, and structure.

Apart from the primary four, there are other cultures like purpose, learning, accountability, coaching, and safety.

Indicators like decision-making processes, rewarded behaviors, risk tolerance, and workplace ambiance, alongside surveys, reveal cultural the type of culture.

No definitive best culture exists. Each has pros and cons, aligning with diverse organizational needs, and should be guided by industry specifics, business goals, and employee inclinations.

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