This paper reports empirical findings from an initial series of field case studies aimed at identifying and modelling the organisational characteristics and cultural qualities of excellence in top Australian-owned information technology firms. Non-managerial staff in 10% of the top Australian IT firms were asked to identify and describe cultural aspects of their organisations such as the importance of key individuals, orthodoxy, watershed events, key functional values and beliefs, folklore, rites and rituals. They provided metaphors for the organisation culture, the organisation itself, their manager, an employee, the ideal work environment, and the ideal manager. A second series of field case studies will investigate “start-up” and “second rung”IT firms.