Understanding Adhocracy Culture

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The organization culture that you adopt within your company is going to play an incredibly important role in the overall performance of your employees and how it affects their morale. Adopting the right organizational culture in your company could make a world of difference.

The commercial world is changing, and conventional hierarchical structures are fast going out of fashion. The hierarchy culture, which used to be widely adopted before, is now being phased out in favor of more approachable and better options. Adhocracy is one of them. Here are a few things that you should know about this type of culture, and the role that it plays.

Why Is Organizational Culture So Important?

The culture at your organization simply means the set of shared values, beliefs, and attitudes adopted by the employees. When a new employee joins the organization, it doesn’t take them very long to come to terms with how work is done at the place. Essentially, the organizational culture you adopt defines the identity of your business.

It is how people are going to remember your business. For instance, some companies adopt a “team-oriented” culture, making horizontal reach accessible and allowing employees to integrate and assimilate without having to worry too much about job roles.

The culture you adopt in your company can transform your employees into your brand advocates. If you adopt a culture that benefits your employees, they will sing praises of your business, and it’s only going to help you grow. More importantly, a robust organizational culture is going to help you retain your best employees.

What Is Adhocracy Culture?

One of the most common types of organizational culture that you can adopt within the company is adhocracy culture. Adhocracy is an organizational design that is distinguished by its highly flexible nature. The primary focus here lies on risk-taking and innovation, with organizations encouraging their employees to think outside the box.

The defining qualities of this form of organizational design is that companies look for flexibility and discretion. They primarily pay attention to differentiating themselves from other businesses in the industry.

Adhocracy is all about making changes and innovating. This form of organizational culture is primarily adopted by agile businesses that like to quickly adopt new strategies and technologies.

What Sets Adhocracy Apart From the Rest?

Companies that adopt the adhocracy organizational design are generally very open to new ideas and approaches. They constantly encourage their employees to look at problems from different angles and come up with unique and interesting solutions.

Their primary focus lies on developing the next major solution that could benefit others, even before a need for it has been identified. It is one of the reasons why these companies are often so open to taking risks. Individuality is valued highly in such companies, primarily in the sense that employees are highly encouraged to discuss new ideas, even if they are considered rudimentary.

However, it’s important to note that new ideas primarily need to be tied to market success and the growth of the company. These companies only accept new ideas based on how successful they are likely to be and the extent of profits they would generate.

Found in Project Organizations

Adhocracy is most dominant in matrix or project organizations. These businesses, especially high-tech firms, like to incorporate adhocracy in their organizational culture. This is all the more important for companies that face higher amounts of competition.

These companies are primarily dependent on their decision-makers for survival. In larger companies, one or several units or departments of the company might be classified as an adhocracy. Public sector adhocracies are limited, but they are generally given a short-term lease on accountability.

NASA, for instance, is one of the prime examples of public sector adhocracies. The company takes innovation seriously and has been pushing the boundaries of space innovation for many years. Adhocracy is considered a malleable form of organizational culture and can be adopted in many organizations.

Pros and Cons

Companies that follow this form of culture usually report higher profit margins and are also notorious for their innovation and their ability to push their boundaries. Employees are heavily motivated because they are inspired to break the mold and separate themselves from the rest.

The opportunities and growth pathways available can be easily justified because the focus lies on generating new ideas and creativity. If an employee comes up with an interesting idea that can be adopted company-wide, that employee is likely to get a promotion.

On the other hand, adhocracy comes with an increased level of risk. There is always a risk that a venture won’t work out because of the higher amount of risk-taking and innovation. As a result of that, the business is likely to suffer. More importantly, this can lead to increased competition within the workplace, as most employees find themselves under pressure to come up with new ideas.

Which Companies Prefer Adhocracy?

Adhocracy, as you can well understand, is prevalent in the tech industry. Companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple are all notorious for their adhocracy culture. The tech industry is rapidly developing and changing with an ever-increasing focus on new products, so adhocracy is celebrated and highly preferred in such businesses.

More importantly, adhocracy is also common in startups, where businesses are looking to innovate and come up with interesting ideas that set them apart from other businesses in the industry.

What About Hierarchical Organizations?

There is a major difference between a culture focused on adhocracy and hierarchical cultures. The hierarchical form of organization culture is one of the oldest, with barriers that prevent a lowly employee from approaching higher level executives.

These organizations have a clear chain of command and are focused primarily on making sure that employees follow the directions and instructions given. Employees are generally given basic instructions that they are required to follow at all times. This is generally seen in larger businesses that are already spread across global boundaries.

Multinational companies generally follow the hierarchical culture and prefer to maintain decorum and balance in the workplace.

Difference in Instructions

Each employee has a clear job description and directives on what they have to do. Quotas are set and each employee is required to achieve their targets. Those who don’t are evaluated on a negative level. Hierarchical organizations primarily focus on stability and establishing routines.

On the other hand, adhocracy does not primarily care about stability or routine. Employees do not even have to come to work on time; they can come in at any time as long as they meet their targets and manage their goals. Adhocracy is a completely different approach and changes the whole manner of working.

Today, more and more companies are moving toward adhocracy because it offers a wholly different approach to work. As the entire world goes through a dynamic change and the conventional methods of working evolve, it is expected that adhocracy is going to become more and more popular. These are just some of the things that you should know about adhocracy.


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