Unveiling Organisational Dynamics: A Deep Dive into Schein’s Organisational Culture Model

Organisational culture plays a pivotal role in shaping the identity and success of a company. Edgar Schein, a renowned organisational psychologist, (widely acknowledged as the father of modern organisation culture), introduced a model that delves into the depths of organisational culture, providing invaluable insights for leaders and managers.   


Understanding Schein’s Model

Schein’s Organisational Culture Model comprises three levels, each representing a different facet of an organisation’s culture. Let’s break it down:

Artifacts: The Visible Surface:

At the outermost level, artifacts are the tangible, observable elements of a company’s culture. These include symbols, rituals, and structures that are easily discernible. For instance, dress code, office layout, and company logos fall into this category. While they are easily noticeable, artifacts only scratch the surface, offering a glimpse into the deeper layers of an organisation’s culture.

Espoused Values: The Expressed Beliefs

Moving beyond the surface, espoused values represent the beliefs, philosophies, and ideologies that a company publicly communicates. These are often outlined in mission statements, vision documents, and official communications. However, Schein acknowledges that there may be a gap between these stated values and the actual values employees internalise and practice.

Basic Assumptions: The Unspoken Core

At the core of Schein’s model lie the basic assumptions – the unconscious, implicit beliefs that guide behaviour within an organisation. These assumptions are deeply ingrained and are often so intrinsic that employees may not even be aware of them. Understanding these underlying assumptions is crucial for gaining insights into the true essence of an organisational culture. 


 Application in Real-world Scenarios

Schein’s model offers a roadmap for leaders to navigate and influence organisational culture. By recognising and understanding the three levels, leaders can strategically shape and align the culture with the company’s vision and goals. For instance, if there is a misalignment between espoused values and basic assumptions, leaders may need to address this incongruence to foster a healthier and more effective work environment. 


Challenges and Critiques 

While Schein’s model provides a robust framework for understanding organisational culture, it is not without its challenges. Critics argue that it may oversimplify the complexity of cultures within diverse organisations. Additionally, the model may not fully account for the dynamic nature of modern workplaces, where cultures are constantly evolving. 


Incorporating Schein’s Model for Organisational Excellence

As we explore the intricacies of Schein’s Organisational Culture Model, it becomes evident that a more aligned and practical application of culture is essential. A deep and intimate understanding of an organisation’s culture is paramount for success. At Chalon Performance Consulting, we leverage these insights to assist companies in fostering a positive and effective culture. Our services align with Schein’s principles, offering culture assessment, analysis and tailored solutions to enhance organisational dynamics and drive success. 

Chalon Performance Consulting doesn’t just understand organizational culture – we integrate this understanding into our core services. From Culture & Strategy Alignment to Leadership Development and Organizational Culture Audits, our solutions are crafted with the wisdom of Schein’s model, providing a roadmap for organizations to manage change and thrive in a dynamic business landscape.