What is Schein’s Model of Organizational Culture? The Schein’s Model of Organizational Culture In A Nutshell

Schein’s model of organizational culture was developed in 1980 by Edgar Schein, then Sloan Professor Emeritus at the Sloan School of Management at MIT.  Schein’s model of organizational culture is a framework explaining the impact of company culture on an organization with a focus on learning and group dynamics.

Understanding Schein’s model of organizational culture

Schein believed organizations developed a culture over time as employees experienced various changes, adapted to the external environment, and solved organizational problems. What’s more, company culture affected the way employees felt and acted within the organization itself.

Based on these observations, Schein developed his organizational culture model to define a series of basic assumptions. These assumptions are used by employees to solve problems associated with external adaptation and internal integration. In theory, successful assumptions are then passed on to new employees as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel when faced with organisational problems.

Schein believed culture was far more complex than the relatively superficial way employees acted in a workplace in response to management or reward systems. Instead, successful culture develops over a period of time as employees use insights from past experiences to embody culturally acceptable traits.

The three levels of Schein’s model

Sometimes depicted as a pyramid, Schein’s original model was based on three different levels.

In the context of Schein’s model, a level describes the degree to which cultural phenomena are visible to the observer.

From most visible to least visible, the three levels are:

  1. Artifacts – or the characteristics of an organization easily viewed, heard, and felt by individuals. Artifacts may encompass office furniture, facilities, employee behavior, and dress code. Schein suggested artifacts yielded little insight into the company culture. As a result, altering them would not achieve significant cultural change.
  2. Espoused values – these are the things an organization says about its culture and way of operating. Espoused values are deeper, less visible indicators of company culture than artifacts. They may include factors such as organizational values, company or employee charters, team contracts, and mission or vision statements. Espoused values provide more insight into the organizational culture than artifacts and can be altered to affect a reasonable degree of cultural change.
  3. Underlying beliefs – the deepest indicators of organizational culture because they reflect the way it operates internally and perceives the world. Underlying beliefs are held by employees, including assumptions regarding how they should work with colleagues and the sort of behavior that leads to success or failure. These beliefs typically constitute subconscious and highly integrated behaviors that are not written down, recorded, or even spoken about. As a result, they have a significant impact on organizational culture but are extremely difficult to change or relearn.

Key takeaways:

  • Schein’s model of organizational culture is a framework explaining the impact of company culture on an organization with a focus on learning and group dynamics. It was developed by MIT professor Edgar Schein in 1980.
  • Schein’s model of organizational culture is based on a belief that culture develops over time as employees use basic assumptions to solve internal and external problems. These assumptions, if proven to be effective, are then passed on to new employees.
  • Schein’s model of organizational culture is based on three levels: artifacts, espoused values, and underlying beliefs. Each level describes the degree to which cultural phenomena are visible to the observer.

Connected Organizational Frameworks

Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that motivates, encourages, and inspires employees to contribute to company growth. Leadership expert James McGregor Burns first described the concept of transformational leadership in a 1978 book entitled Leadership. Although Burns’ research was focused on political leaders, the term is also applicable for businesses and organizational psychology.
The Kepner-Tregoe matrix was created by management consultants Charles H. Kepner and Benjamin B. Tregoe in the 1960s, developed to help businesses navigate the decisions they make daily, the Kepner-Tregoe matrix is a root cause analysis used in organizational decision making.
The COSO framework is a means of designing, implementing, and evaluating control within an organization. The COSO framework’s five components are control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication, and monitoring activities. As a fraud risk management tool, businesses can design, implement, and evaluate internal control procedures.
The ADKAR model is a management tool designed to assist employees and businesses in transitioning through organizational change. To maximize the chances of employees embracing change, the ADKAR model was developed by author and engineer Jeff Hiatt in 2003. The model seeks to guide people through the change process and importantly, ensure that people do not revert to habitual ways of operating after some time has passed.
A holacracy is a management strategy and an organizational structure where the power to make important decisions is distributed throughout an organization. It differs from conventional management hierarchies where power is in the hands of a select few. The core principle of a holacracy is self-organization where employees organize into several teams and then work in a self-directed fashion toward a common goal.
Tipping Point Leadership is a low-cost means of achieving a strategic shift in an organization by focusing on extremes. Here, the extremes may refer to small groups of people, acts, and activities that exert a disproportionate influence over business performance.
The Value Net Model argues that co-operation and competition between organizations are not only desirable but also necessary when doing business. This is in stark contrast to traditional thinking, which argues that such competition impedes business success and profits.
First proposed by accounting academic Robert Kaplan, the balanced scorecard is a management system that allows an organization to focus on big-picture strategic goals. The four perspectives of the balanced scorecard include financial, customer, business process, and organizational capacity. From there, according to the balanced scorecard, it’s possible to have a holistic view of the business.
Strategic analysis is a process to understand the organization’s environment and competitive landscape to formulate informed business decisions, to plan for the organizational structure and long-term direction. Strategic planning is also useful to experiment with business model design and assess the fit with the long-term vision of the business.
There is a part of any business that anyone can see. Usually, this is the customer-facing side of a company. Everything that deals with customers, from its segments, channels relationship, and how a value proposition and perception about a product or service is delivered. While this side is important, there is an even more critical part, the back-end business. The back-end business is anything hidden from the eyes of customers. Things like the key activities and resources an organization has in place to make its product and service valuable in the eyes of its customers.
The operating model is a visual representation and mapping of the processes and how the organization delivers value and, therefore, how it executes its business model. Therefore, the operating model is how the whole organization is structured around the value chain to build a viable business model.

Main Free Guides:

$200 Off Library
No prize
Next time
$300 Off BMI Course
50% Off Flagship Book
No Prize
No luck today
Unlucky :(
No prize
Get your chance to win a prize!
I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy
Scroll to Top