Corporate-culture categories:

Tough guy, macho (medicine, law enforcement, publishing)--Risk and stakes are high; competition keen in this world of individualists. People try to score points off one another and find little reward in being part of a team: Their goal is to become a star. Stars are temperamental but tolerated--the tough-guy culture would be nothing without them. Survivors thrive on gambling, tolerate all-or-nothing risks because they need instant feedback. The short-term focus can devastate people whose careers might blossom over time.

Work Hard/Play Hard (sales organizations)--"Activity is everything" and "success comes with persistence." Employes try to "find a need and fill it." Heroes are super salespeople, usually "hail-fellow-well-met" types. Important rituals include energetic games, contests and conventions to keep motivation up. Survivors have stamina and thrive on quick, tangible feedback.

Bet Your Company (oil companies, investment banks, computer-design firms)--"High-risk, slow-feedback" culture in which the right decision is paramount, since the firm's future might rest on one action. The primary ritual is the business meeting; values focus on the future. Survivors respect authority and technical competence, are deliberate, cautious and need a great deal of character and confidence to carry them through the waiting period. Immaturity is not tolerated.

Process (heavily regulated industries and "large chunks" of government)--Risks are low and feedback slow, or nonexistent. Memos and reports seem to disappear into a void, so employes tend to focus on how they do something, not what. Values center on technical perfection, rituals surround procedures and people pay inordinate attention to titles and formalities. Protectiveness and caution abound. Survivors are orderly, punctual and detail-conscious.