The Competing Security Cultures Framework

My model, the Competing Security Cultures Framework (CSCF), enables an organization to describe and interpret the different ways that security is understood and practiced by the organization's members. Specifically, the CSCF enables the organization to identify areas where competitive principles and values have emerged that may represent risk to the organization's security goals and objectives. The CSCF is based upon a venerable and well-regarded cultural model, Quinn and Rohrbaugh's Competing Values Framework, which was first described in an article in Management Science in 1983.

Origins of the CSCF in Competing Values Research

The original purpose of the Competing Values Framework was to understand the characteristics and organizational traits most associated with companies' enterprise performance, how well they did in their industries and markets. Using both theory and data from empirical studies of different organizations, Quinn and Rohrbaugh grouped organizational traits into related sets of core values that created specific cultures within an organization. As they discovered patterns of behavior among various subject companies, the researchers mapped them into like groups, each of which demonstrated certain areas of value and priority for a company. These patterns also revealed opposing traits, values, and priorities that were antithetical to the ones identified. Quinn and Rohrbaugh mapped these as well, using a set of axes that divided the framework into quadrants.

Quinn and Rohrbaugh found, for example, that some organizations, in certain industries, were more effective when they built hierarchies and bureaucracy to emphasize control and stability; the researchers found that other organizations achieved successful performance by staying flexible and adaptable, avoiding rigid structures of authority or function. Likewise, they found that some organizations tended to look outward, prioritizing external customers and markets to achieve their goals, whereas others benefitted from an inward gaze that valued internal cohesion and integration. The result of their findings was a visual metaphor of culture that divided organizational values into four opposing cultures, which the researchers termed clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy. Figure 5-1 illustrates the Competing Values Framework model.

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