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Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model


One of the most important issues in each organization is corporate culture since it can give a clear picture of the dominant beliefs, values and behaviors in an organization. One of the most helpful organizational culture models belongs to Deal and Kennedy. Deal and Kennedy consider human resources the most significant resources of an organization, and the way to handle them is not straight by computer reports, but by the delicate signals of a culture.

The elements of Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model

Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model inspects thoroughly organizational culture from a different point of view, and determines six interconnected elements as the components of organizational culture. These elements include:

Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model

1.The history of the organization

Common previous experiences create present beliefs and values and traditions of an organization.  Companies typically benefit from their heritage and employ this as part of their brand identification, and putting emphasis on their belief in traditional values.

2.The values and beliefs

The values and beliefs of the organization are very important since they concentrate on the common beliefs of the staff and the organization as a whole. They also involve the written and agreed activities and behaviors which are valid for all.

Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model

3.Rituals and ceremonies

Rituals and ceremonies can be either formal or informal. Valid and accepted regular organization events like Christmas or award ceremonies are formal ones. Informal ones might involve bringing in cakes and sweets for employees’ birthdays.  These gradually strengthen and becomes a part of the culture of an organization.


This is a very important element since it can help new staff knows and be aware of their position and role in the organization. Storytelling has been a helpful medium for distributing information within cultures and is widely used by Human Resources Management to introduce new staff to the organization, or slowly help to alter organizational culture. Since stories are usually easily understandable for people, they can rapidly become immersed in organizational culture.

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Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model

5.Heroic figures

These are typically previous staff of the organization and are usually immersed or memorialized in storytelling. They are the epitome of organizational values and culture. They may be the founder of an organization or a person who designed and created something new which changed the chances of the organization.

6.Cultural network

It refers to an informal but essential social network within an organization whereby staff spread knowledge and obtain social capital.  It is believed that there are particular personalities within a cultural network who contributes to distributing information and stories. They may involve office gossip, the office spy, and the office whisperer, all of whom play an important role in gathering and distributing organizational information.

Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model

Different categories of culture based on Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model

Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model divides culture into four different categories including:

  1. Work Hard/Play Hard Culture
  2. Tough Guy/Macho Culture
  3. Process Culture
  4. Bet-Your-Company Culture

Each one of these categories has its own distinctive characteristics:

1. Work Hard/Play Hard Culture

This is very similar to a sales-driven culture which has a very low risk for staff, but it has very quick feedback and reward from them following their decisions and measurements.  Heroes in this culture are probably very successful salesmen, and staff possibly welcome internal competition and will be encouraged by external rewards, something which is opposed to specific elements of motivation theory.  Employees are usually hopeful and optimistic and are eager to follow targets.  If this culture will be handled well, it can be a good culture where staff works together to accomplish sales goals. If this is not managed well, it can lead to an unsuccessful culture where unsuccessful salespeople are discouraged and work in a climate of fear.

Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model

2.Tough Guy/Macho Culture

This kind of culture is usually connected with people who are courageous enough to take risks but want rapid feedback.  Some good examples of this category include traders, high-performing sportspeople or musicians.  They want to be appreciated for their achievements, but they are not very willing to operate as part of the group since they are highly competitive and can be unmanageable.  It is usually connected with an aggressive organizational space which can be undesirable and inconvenient to operate in unless a person has a very high level of morale and self-assurance.

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3.Process Culture

The process culture has low risks and slow feedback, and it is almost improbable for a single person to have a tremendous effect on organizational activity. Big retailers are good examples of this category.  Each employee is aware that they do not have a tremendous effect on organizational results and there is a small connection between personal organizational decisions to overall goals and targets. So, staff intends to concentrate on precision in processes and actions believing that finally, it will fulfill organizational targets.  Technical skill and precision are precious in such a culture but it can be hard to speed up the process or alter organizational direction.  It seems to be a challenging culture for inventors or entrepreneurial people to operate in since they will find bureaucratic restrictions arduous.

The elements of Deal and Kennedy’s cultural model

4.Bet-Your-Company Culture

This category is a very high-risk culture and the reward and feedback are also slow. Stress is also very low in these environments. Usually, such cultures require lots of capital investment and costs and also need a long time to generate profits, but one which can be very profitable.  Still, since it needs a long time to determine whether decisions were correct, lots of endeavor and energy is devoted to planning and preparation. It also needs a high level of teamwork, since staff finds out that they bilaterally need each other to become successful and insist on long-term planning and further preparation.  The risks connected with this kind of culture usually include groupthink whereby staff bilaterally support an idea since they are so eager to see it achieves the desired result, and do not think about the possible problems.

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