Adhocracy Culture: Complete Guide

Adhocracy Culture: Complete Guide
Last Updated: June 25, 2023

Adhocrary culture is one of the many cultures you can find in organizations across the globe. It has been found through research that an adhocracy culture can be beneficial to an organization. This article will explain what you need to know about adhocracy culture.

What is adhocracy culture?

Adhocracy culture is found in organizations where decisions are made organically, primarily focusing on achieving organizational objectives. An adhocracy culture is anchored on three main pillars: flexibility, creativity, and innovation. In one study published in the Journal of Business Research, adhocracy culture in firms was positively connected with innovation and creativity. Employees from various industries were polled for the study, which discovered that individuals working in businesses with an adhocracy culture were more likely to exhibit innovative behaviours and provide fresh ideas.

Related: Employee Innovation: What you need to know

Decentralized decision-making empowers staff to take responsibility for their job and promotes innovation and risk-taking. There are not many formally defined rules or procedures in an adhocracy culture. Teams are instead given the flexibility to experiment and explore new ideas. Another study published in the Journal of Management found that adhocracy culture was positively associated with employee job satisfaction. The study surveyed workers from various industries and found that those who worked in organizations with an adhocracy culture reported higher levels of job satisfaction than those who worked in more traditional, hierarchical organizations.

What are the features of adhocracy culture?


It is easy to distinguish adhocracy culture from other prevailing organizational cultures. Here are some key features of adhocracy culture:

1. Decentralized decision-making: Adhocracy culture is characterized by an absence of explicit guidelines or procedures, which allows teams to make decisions swiftly and proficiently. Research has shown that decentralized decision-making can lead to higher organizational innovation and creativity (Jiang et al., 2012).

A Deloitte survey found that 83% of executives feel firms need to function more decentralized to be successful, and 94% of executives believe that agility and cooperation are essential to corporate success.

2. Flat Organizational Structure: A flat organizational structure with minimal layers of management is typical of an adhocracy culture. According to (Gupta & Krishnan, 2004), this allows employees to communicate more directly with one another and may speed up decision-making. A study in the Journal of Business Research found that businesses with an adhocracy culture had higher levels of innovative behaviour and idea generation. According to the study, idea generation and creativity were positively correlated with flatter organizational structures (r =.29 and .25, respectively), as published by Jiang et al., 2012.

3. Emphasis on creativity and innovation: Adhocracy culture encourages employees to think outside the box and develop new ideas. Research has shown that an adhocracy culture is positively associated with employee creativity (Zhang et al., 2015). A survey conducted by Deloitte found that 82% of executives believe that a "culture of innovation" is important to their organization's success ().

Related: Creative Innovation

4. Flexibility: In fast-moving businesses where innovation is essential, an adhocracy culture that promotes flexibility in work can be extremely beneficial. According to research, an adhocracy culture fosters creativity and innovation in companies. (Jiang et al., 2018). In the same light, a study published in the International Journal of Social Science and Humanity found that adhocracy culture is positively associated with employee creativity. The study found that adhocracy culture was positively related to employee creative self-efficacy (r = .30) and creative performance (r = .27).

5. Empowerment: Employees are empowered by the adhocracy culture to take charge of their work and make decisions on their own. According to a study in the Journal of Management, an adhocracy culture among employees was positively correlated with job satisfaction. The study surveyed employees from multiple sectors in the industry.

According to (Gupta & Krishnan, 2004), empowerment can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction among employees. Overall, research shows that these features of the adhocracy culture successfully foster employees' innovation, creativity, and job satisfaction. However, it is crucial to understand that to successfully adopt an adhocracy culture, meticulous planning and execution are required.

Adhocracy Culture Features

Examples of adhocracy

Britannica published that public-sector adhocracies are not common, partly because political leaders place emphasis on short-term accountability. The majority of real-life adhocracies are evident in most project or matrix organizations. Among private-sector organizations, high-technology firms—particularly young ones- face fierce competition and often deliberately adopt an adhocracy culture.

These businesses' sustainability rests on decision-makers ability to foresee changes in the market dynamics. These will be linked with the actual impact on the organization and the technologies and strategies required to adapt promptly and effectively.

Here are some examples of adhocracy in practice:

1. Google: Google is renowned for its creative, flexible work environment that values experimentation and creativity. The business encourages staff to dedicate 20% of their time to work on projects aside from their regular duties, which has resulted in the creation of numerous popular products, such as Gmail and Google Maps. (Gupta & Krishnan, 2004).

2. Spotify: Spotify is a music streaming service with a much dispersed organizational structure. According to a case study by Harvard Business Review in 2017, Spotify's strategy stimulated significant innovation and business expansion. By 2021, the company was forecasted to have more than 345 million monthly active users, up from 10 million in 2010 (Spotify, 2021).

3. Zappos: Online shoe company Zappos has won praise for its distinctive corporate culture. The business uses a flat organizational structure, and workers are encouraged to assume responsibility for their job. Additionally, Zappos provides abundant possibilities for training and growth for staff, which has raised levels of job satisfaction. (Hsieh, 2010).

4. Morningstar: Morning Star is a highly dispersed tomato processing business headquartered in California. Over the previous ten years, the company's financial performance has been strong, with revenue growth averaging 10% annually (Kessler & Bailey, 2015). According to a case study by Harvard Business Review, Morning Star's strategy fostered significant levels of employee engagement and innovation.

5. Haier Group: Chinese consumer electronics and home appliance manufacturer Haier Group has a highly dispersed organizational structure. According to a case study by Harvard Business Review, Haier's strategy stimulated significant innovation and business expansion. With approximately 70,000 employees worldwide, the company has expanded from a tiny refrigerator manufacturer in Qingdao, China (Zhang & Wu, 2019).

Advantages of adhocracy

Below I discuss some of the key advantages of adhocracy culture:

1. Increased innovation: Adhocracy culture promotes experimentation and taking risks, which can result in more creativity. A McKinsey & Company study found that businesses with a strong innovation culture are more likely to have financial performance that is above average. In addition, according to a Deloitte report, 82% of executives think their company's culture might give it a competitive edge.

2. Swift decision-making: Employees are empowered by adhocracy cultures to make decisions fast and effectively without seeking numerous levels of management's approval. In the face of shifting market conditions, this might result in quicker reaction times and enhanced agility. Companies with decentralized decision-making procedures were found to be more likely to be nimble and responsive to market changes, according to a study by the MIT Sloan Management Review.

3. Higher employee engagement: Employee feedback is valued in the adhocracy culture, which also promotes participation in decision-making. Higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction may result from this. According to a Gallup survey, businesses with strong employee engagement beat their competitors in earnings per share by 147%.

Related: How to develop and employee engagement plan

4. Improved customer satisfaction: Organizations with an adhocracy culture can respond to client requirements and preferences more quickly. According to a Temkin Group study, businesses with a strong customer-centric culture are more likely to have devoted customers and have revenue growth that is above average.

5. Increased profitability: Profitability is conceived from an adhocracy culture's advantages. An adhocracy culture can result in increased profitability through improved innovation, quicker decision-making, higher employee engagement, and improved customer satisfaction.

Companies with strong cultures beat their rivals in terms of revenue growth (682% vs. 166%) and net income growth (756% vs. 1%) over eleven years, according to Harvard Business Review research. Organizations that prioritize innovation, agility, and customer happiness might benefit significantly from an adhocracy culture. Organizations can achieve above-average financial performance and develop a competitive advantage in their market by allowing people to make decisions and fostering innovation.


An adhocracy culture is an exciting and dynamic approach to organizational management that values creativity, innovation, and flexibility. Research suggests that adhocracy culture can be a powerful tool for organizations looking to foster creativity and innovation. Implementing an adhocracy culture can positively impact organizational outcomes such as job satisfaction and employee creativity.

Brandon Murambinda
This article was written by Brandon a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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