The competing values framework is a theory that has been useful in understanding and organizing individual as well as organizational phenomena. It includes theories related to organizational design, organizational culture, leadership competencies, organizational effectiveness, financial strategy, leadership roles, organizational qualities, brain functioning and information processing.
The competing values framework is a mechanism that helps organizations to make proper changes to its organizational culture so that it can move in the right direction.
Understanding competing values framework
The competing values framework is a prevalent theory developed by Robert Quinn and John Rohrbaugh. Initially, it was developed from the research that was undertaken on the essential indicators of effective organization. It was followed by studies of organizational culture, management skills, leadership roles etc. Two dimensions emerged from these studies.
The first dimension is based on organizational focus. It differentiates from an internal emphasis on the development and well-being of the people in the organization to an external focus on the development and well-being of the organization as a whole.
The second dimension differentiates organizational preference for structure. It shows the difference between stability & control and flexibility & change.
Both dimensions form four quadrants. The strong framework is its power as it helps to predict if the organization is performing effectively to its strength. The competing values framework has been named so as it carries a conflicting message that states that an organization must be flexible and adaptable but also controlled and stable at the same time.
Four significant models of organization and management theory
The Four major models of organization and management theory are as follows-
1. Human Resources Model
This type of model puts its onus on internal focus and flexibility. It gives credence to morale, cohesion and human resource development as criteria for effectiveness.
The Human Resources Model encourages a feeling of belonging, trust, participation, attachment and commitment with the help of a flexible approach. In this type of culture, the leaders tend to be supportive and considerate, and they encourage interaction in the organization through teamwork
2. Open Systems Model
This type of model puts its onus on external focus and flexibility. It gives credence to external support, resource acquisition, growth, partnership, adaptability, and readiness.
The Open Systems Model encourages a feeling of expansion and growth with the help of a flexible approach
3. Rational Goal Model
This type of model puts its onus on external focus and control. It gives credence to efficiency, productivity, performance, achievement, goal setting, goal fulfillment, and planning.
The Rational Goal Model promotes outputs and productivity with the help of a controlled approach. In this type of culture, leaders tend to be functional and goal-oriented.
4. Internal Process Model
This type of model puts its onus on internal focus and control. It gives credence to stability, control, communication, and the role of information management. The Internal Process Model encourages a consolidated approach and achieving continuity with the help of a controlled approach.
Four major culture types of a competing values framework
The competing values framework describes four types of organizations or culture types that indicate how a company operates, what is its culture, and how do the employees collaborate, etc. These are as follows-
The term Adhocracy refers to an extraordinarily innovative and exceedingly flexible company that has greater independence and is externally focussed. It is helmed by a visionary leader who has creative ideas and the innate drive to take the organization to the next level. These are the companies that love to take calculated risks to move forward.
It has the internal resources to manage in uncertain times. This type of organization can find its way through unstable conditions as it can adapt and reinvent in a rapidly changing business climate.
The strength of the Adhocracy type of organization is its adaptability and speed that assist in forming teams at the drop of a hat to face new challenges. It believes in experimenting rather than drawn-out lengthy development projects.
The term Market-oriented refers to a company that tries to adapt to the new challenges that have gripped the market. This type of organization is externally focused and is looking to gain a competitive advantage at every level.
It seeks full control by looking outward at transaction costs. It believes that building an active organization is possible only by adapting to market mechanisms. This is why it is focused on external and internal transactions in market terms.
Making money and achieving organizational objectives and goals is what drives the company. It operates by acquiring new clients, sales, and contracts and through feasible economic transactions. A market-oriented organization believes in delivering goods at all costs, even in the face of stiff competition.
Its primary objective is a secure customer base, bottom-line results, profitability, and stretch targets. One of the significant examples of a market-oriented organization is General Electric.
The term hierarchy refers to an organization that takes a traditional approach and is focused internally. It believes in an ordered existence for continuous improvement, and this is why it promotes the running of the company in a controlled atmosphere.
It has a strict chain of command and control. The Hierarchy type of organization has a formal structure that puts its onus on well-defined procedures, processes, and plans for every titbit. Power and position are its strength, and it does not give any leeway to anyone.
It is lead by a quality-focused organizer and coordinator who has a long-term vision for the company. This is a stable structure that is predictable in its operations and has formal and clear-cut rules and policies in place for carrying out even routine tasks.
Examples of Hierarchy culture are government agencies, Ford Motor Company, and McDonald’s.
4. Clan or Family
As the name suggests, the term clan or family refers to people-focused organizations. Here the leaders are treated as mentors, and the employees feel like a part of the family.
The emphasis in a clan or family type of organization is on treating everyone in the right way and achieving fulfillment and personal development through work. This is why employees share a lot about themselves, and there is a feeling of trust and togetherness in the workplace.
The organizational structure is flat where teams and individuals act autonomously without regard to a chain of command. The focus is inwards, and the company is held together with the help of shared values and goals, for instance, cohesion and stability.
It believes in participation as a team to succeed and achieve desired results. In a clan or family type of organization, risk-taking is unheard of, and management believes in creating a sustainable company.
The only disadvantage of this organization is that it is unable to adapt at a moment’s notice because of the lack of strict control, rules, and procedures in place.
Competing values framework in the organizational context
The competing values framework is often used in the organizational context in the following manner-
- The competing values framework helps the organization in knowing and understanding about their existing as well as desired cultural dynamics
- The competing values framework acts as a useful tool that helps managers to understand various processes and functions in the organization
- The competing values framework is often used as a strategic tool for developing and supervising management programs.
- The competing values framework helps to determine organizational gaps
- The competing values framework helps the members of the organization in understanding both the differences and similarities of managerial roles
- The competing values framework help to boost the usefulness of organizational change
- The competing values framework helps in improving the overall strategy performance of the organization
- The competing values framework helps to maintain stability in the organization in the face of an unstable external environment.
The competing values framework has been acknowledged worldwide as one of the most efficient ways of gaining an understanding of the corporate culture. Kim Cameron has rightly described it as an essential organizing mechanism that helps to make sense about organizational and management performance.
The theory is also referred to as a map that is a source of new ideas that help to address the internal values of a corporate culture that drives policies, programs, and of course, people.
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