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Compare and Contrast the Models of Organisational Culture Proposed by Handy and Deal & Kennedy.

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Compare and contrast the models of organisational culture proposed by Handy and Deal & Kennedy.

Contemporary organisational cultures

Culture is one of the key determinants for the success of a business as it plays a major role in shaping the organisation’s image and its functionality. The cultural identity of an organisation is presented through the models of Handy and Deal & Kennedy who portray the various approaches to building organisational culture. The aim of this essay is to underline the relevance of each concept to the modern organisation. This will be achieved by analysing the principle features of the two methods which define organisational culture. Through detailed analysis of both approaches the more realistic representation of modern organisations can be identified in that of Handy’s four models.

Handy has a comprehensive view of company culture as he incorporates all relevant factors into his four models of organizational cultures. Some of the most important factors he takes into account while approaching the culture of the company are: the way work should be organised and authority exercised, how much planning is needed and how far ahead, what combination of obedience and initiative is expected and how people are rewarded for their work. [Handy, C. (1993); Understanding organizations 4th ed , p. 181; Penguin books] According to Handy’s research, cultures are divided into 4 models of functioning. These are described as follows:

  1. In the “power culture” the decision-making power within the company lies in one or few key members who are responsible for delegating tasks to the rest of the team.
  2.  The “role culture” is dependent on the effective functioning of the “apex” where decision-making occurs.
  3.  The “task culture” involves tasks being assigned to individuals, teams or sub-teams within the organisation.
  4. The “person culture” is centred on the individual who is responsible for the entirety of the functions within the business.


 On the other hand, Deal and Kennedy utilise a holistic approach towards the business culture in the sense that they perceive the company and its workers to be a unit rather than merely another aspect of the business. This is displayed in their four organisational models which encompass both social and psychological factors influencing cultural identity within a company. Deal & Kennedy’s ideology incorporates the interactions between people within the organisation and consumer input (through close consideration of feedback mechanism) which are of utmost importance in society and the business environment today. The two main factors they take into account while identifying the specific culture of a company are the speed of the feedback in the company and the amount of risk involved in its daily operations. The feedback comes from different types of resources, for instance: customers, management, crew and from financial reports as well. The development of methods for communication with consumers through reviews, ratings and surveys (often virtual) and between the members of the staff has made feedback of significant value in the modern organisation. At the same time, living in a world with a constantly changing economic situation requires


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