Episode 2: Charles Handy
Picture courtesy of Elizabeth Handy
In 1974 I made the earliest attempt to describe the different
cultures or types of organizations. Every organization, I felt,
is a different mix of the same four basic cultures which I represented
with names of Greek Gods:
- Zeus Culture, after the powerful head of the gods, an organization
dominated by the personality and power of one person, often the
founder or owner.
- Apollo Culture, after the God of harmony and order, dominated
by rules and procedures.
- Athena Culture, after the warrior goddess, the symbol of the
project organization, the culture that dominates consultancies,
advertising agencies and, increasingly, all innovative businesses.
- Dionysius Culture, in which the individual has the freedom to
develop his or her own ideas in the way they want - an artists'
studio, perhaps, or a university.
I started out wanting to make organizations more efficient
but soon I began to worry about another problem: organizations were
shrinking in their numbers and concentrating on fewer and
younger full-time employees, by outsourcing or subcontracting.
Half of the working population, I suggested, would not be
full-time employees by the year 2000. These people would
have to develop 'portfolio' lives, a mix of different bits
and pieces of work, some for money, some for fun, some for free.
By the end of the century, my prediction had come true in Britain
and much of Northern Europe.
The next episode looks at the work of Peter
Read Charles Handy's