Cultural models emphasize the informal aspects of organizations rather then their official elements. They focus on the values, beliefs and norms of individuals in the organization and how these individual perceptions coalesce into shared organizational meanings. Cultural models are manifested by symbols and rituals rather than through the formal structure of the organization (Bush, 2003):
Cultural models assume that beliefs, values and ideology are at the heart of organizations. Individuals hold certain idea and vale-preferences, which influence how they behave and how they view the behaviour of other members. These norms become shared traditions, which are communicated within the group and are reinforced by symbols and ritual. (p. 156).
Beare, Caldwell, and Millikan (1992) claim that culture serves to define the unique qualities of individual organizations: “An increasing number of . . . writers . . . have adopted the term "culture" to define that social and phenomenological uniqueness of a particular organisational community . . . We have finally acknowledged publicly that uniqueness is a virtue, that values are important and that they should be fostered” (p. 173).