Skip to main content

Charles Handy and Organisational Culture

Author and Academic Charles Handy is well-known for several different leadership theories; many of which have referred to the organisational culture of organisations. In his 1989 book Understanding Organisations, Handy described 4 specific Organisational Cultures which are embraced by most organisations, consciously or unconsciously. 

All of Handy's cultures were exemplified in his work by deities from Greek mythology, as he believed that was the most powerful metaphor to explain his theory.

These 4 cultures are:

  • Person culture
  • Task culture
  • Role culture
  • Power culture

They can be mapped out onto a grid based on the distribution of power and levels of cooperation represented by each. 

Quadrant of Handy's Culture Types. Axes of Distribution and Level of Cooperation. High is right/up.

For further exploration of each of their characteristics, please visit our Premium version of this module, found on the course page.