Clan and Hierarchy Cultures of the CVF

One of the leading organizational tools for understanding culture worldwide is the Competing Values Framework (CVF). (Cameron, 2011, p. 27) This tool assesses the culture that exists within an organization and gives a visual statistical representation of the assessed culture based on four distinct cultural types, or quadrants. The quadrants the CVF uses are the hierarchy (control) culture, the market (compete) culture, the clan (collaborate) culture, and the adhocracy (creative) culture. (Cameron, 2011)

Each cultural type has its own distinctions and identifying traits that create a framework for organizations to understand their existing culture in and better know how to lead cultural change.

For instance, an organization with a hierarchy culture, also named the control culture, is practicing the earliest approach to organizing in the modern era. (Cameron, 2011) The hierarchy control culture was born out of a world engulfed in industry focused on producing goods and services in an efficient manner for a growing complex society where it was necessary to have clear lines of communication, obvious decision makers, standardized rules and procedures, and control mechanisms. (Cameron, 2011) In the hierarchy culture, the long-term concerns are stability, predictability, and efficiency, (Cameron, 2011) which are what distinguishes this culture from others and why it is also called the control culture.

On the other hand, an organizational culture that is more focused on employees, their well being, and the ability to provide jobs for a large number of individuals may represent a clan, or collaborate culture. Such a culture is representative of a family where shared values, cohesion, and individuality are present along with an overall sense of ‘we’. (Cameron, 2011) This form of organizational culture was first observed and studied in the 60’s in areas of Asia where clan and familial values are predominate in the national cultures.


Cameron, K. S., & Quinn, R. E. (2011). Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework (3 edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


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