One Organization, Three Management Cultures

March 4, 2019

MIT professor Edgar Schein, an expert in corporate culture, explains his theory about multiple management cultures within one company. While each culture supports each other, their priorities and styles don’t necessarily mix.

Operational culture

is based on operational success that is made up of the day-to-day managers and producers. These key players ensure the company functions and rely on a team structure for delivering goods and services. They value people first and foremost.

Engineering culture

is a culture of individuals who drive the core technologies of a business. These people are typically less concerned about other people—and most concerned about the technologies and systems for process engineering. 

Executive culture

is the culture of executive management, which includes the C-level leaders, board members, and finance-oriented staff. These individuals look outside the company for cash flow to keep the company thriving. They’re oriented toward ensuring the company delivers value to stakeholders and customers. 

Each management culture can have a hard time seeing the others’ differing views of reality and priorities. By gaining a deeper understanding of each group’s style, companies can better see and learn where groups thrive, learn empathy, and better work together.