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Management Theory of Charles Handy

Jeanne Dininni

Charles Handy theory can be a handy way to help your company prosper

The theories of Charles Handy have had a powerful effect on modern management thinking.

His views on organizational development and leadership have helped usher in a more humanitarian style of management and a more visionary and purpose-driven organizational methodology.

Along with various other theoretical models, Charles Handy expounded his Four Cultures Theory in which he described each individual culture, relating it to one of the Greek gods. Each of Handy's cultures stems from a different presupposition about human motivation, thought and learning, as well as a different assumed basis for power and influence. 

Charles Handy's Four Cultures

1. The Power Culture: Based on Zeus, this culture is one of centralized, or top-down, power and influence.

2. The Role Culture: Based on Apollo, this culture is a bureaucratic one, run by strict procedures, narrowly defined roles and precisely delineated powers.

3. The Task Culture: Based on Athena, this culture is small-team-based, results- and solutions-oriented, and marked by flexibility, adaptability and empowerment.

4. The Person Culture: Based on Dionysius, this culture focuses on the individual. Such an organization is values-oriented, people-focused and geared toward meeting individual employees' self-actualization needs.

Get training 

Numerous websites provide valuable information about Handy's management theory. In addition to training and development programs covering Charles Handy management principles, you'll find various videos and instructional materials that can help you develop the background knowledge and practical expertise to put Handy's theories to work for your company.

Consult an expert

Consultants with knowledge and experience in the management theory of Charles Handy can guide you in maximizing the benefit of his principles in your own company's unique environment.

Other helpful online tools

Widely available online tools and resources can help you more easily implement the Charles Handy theory of management. Videos, assessments and other materials let you choose the resources most valuable to your business.

  • You'll likely find the many facets of Charles Handy's management theory fascinating as you delve more deeply into them. Take advantage of the information available online. It will be well worth your while, as you learn to put his theories into practice to help your company grow and mature.
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Jeanne Dininni