objective: to identify dominant and preferred organizational culture models at second level nursing services in morelos. material and methods: a cross-sectional study was conducted between april and june, 2008. nursing caregivers from public health services of morelos state participated. we gathered and analyzed data about socioeconomic characteristics and organizational culture, and we applied the xi2 and kappa coefficient statistical tests using stata version 10 software. results: we interviewed 30 nurses, randomly selected from a total of 397, with at least one year of seniority. it was identified that the dominant organizational culture is one of power and the preferred culture is one of performance. a kappa positive coefficient of 0.17 (p = 0.047) was found between the dominant model and the preferred performance model. conclusions: identifying said organizational culture models helps to understand performance differences in the management of nursing care services currently provided to users of the hospital and to aspire to improvements in the service itself.