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Developing team culture

Culture is all-important in teams. Watch Paddy Upton explain more.

Power, role, achievement and support: each has a place within the team and each has positives and negatives.

There are a number of frameworks available for coming to understand an organisation’s culture: the one used here is based on four ideologies identified by Roger Harrison.

An organisation’s ideology “affects the behaviour of its people, its ability to effectively meet their needs and demands, and the way it copes with the external environment” (Harrison, 1995, p. 150). The four ideologies are:

  • power orientation
  • role orientation
  • task orientation
  • person orientation

Harrison (1995) notes that much of the conflict surrounding change in an organisation is really an ideological struggle, and once this is recognised the points of conflict can be more easily understood.

This applies equally to teams, and so coming to understand which orientation is in operation in your team, or the organisation of which the team is part, will help you better understand the team’s culture, how it develops and your role in the development of that culture.

Your task

What percentage of power, role, achievement and support are present within your team? Create a pie chart to represent this visually.

If you were to advance or consolidate your team how might you re-distribute these percentages? Create a second pie chart to visually represent this shift.

What is the action you can take as coach in this redistribution?


Handy, CB 1993, Understanding organizations : Charles B. Handy. 4th edn, Penguin, Harmondsworth, accessed from
Harrison, R & Schein, EH 1995, ‘Understanding Your Organization’s Character’, in The collected papers of Roger Harrison, McGraw-Hill developing organizations series, McGraw-Hill Book Company, London, pp. 149–164.
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Team Coaching

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