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What Are the Best Tips for Organizational Culture Analysis?

Article Details
  • Written By: Mal Baxter
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Like a living organism struggling for survival within its environment, an organization increases its chances for success with better adaptations to the world around it. To this end, performing a successful organizational culture analysis helps companies shape themselves. Any group structure, be it a company or social organization, emerges somewhere between its leadership vision and its constituent members. Many factors can influence a company's profitability. It's vital to understand what leadership strategies, management styles, and human resources are in place in order to optimize a company's performance; part of a living and changing ecology, an organization benefits from self-development and adaptation to its niche.

Companies are unique reflections of their organizational strategies. Some drive for democratic styles, while others rely on more formal structures due to internal complexities, checks, and balances. It's wise to approach every company according to these internal laws; assessing a company with a formulaic or inappropriate model may do more harm than good. The first step in a successful organizational culture analysis is to define an organization's characteristic structure in accordance with its leadership's vision, markets, and goals.

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In practical terms, it's important to understand the project scope of an organizational culture analysis. This will help define priorities and determine interview schedules and time constraints. With more efficient use of time, a researcher is better equipped to prioritize and address the pain points of a consulting project. These can include communication interviews and training sessions. Researchers and consultants contribute improvements in problem areas for optimal effect according to the organization's vision, strategies, and tactics.

Relying on powerful software tools and data analysis techniques, researchers can quickly find themselves overwhelmed with too much data. In light of this information overload, it's not only useful, but necessary, to prioritize which data represent key performance indicators of an internal organizational culture analysis. These might include addressing staff competencies, communications skills, and network training, as well as reiteration of strategic goals under changing internal or external conditions.

A grab bag of compelling factors might include the stories people tell, brand reactions, and control and power structures of the company. When possible, research activities should be driven with rational criteria and universal characteristics. It benefits researchers to understand their personal biases and separate them from the organizations that they study.

Additionally, researchers must assess an organization in the context of the market it occupies. Globalized organizations often find internal cultures inadequate to the task of adapting to the laws, customs, and population behaviors of foreign markets. To improve organizational culture analysis in these cases, researchers may commit to learning about and understanding local cultures and business practices. Miscommunication and misunderstanding can create differences in expectations that sometimes result in sub-optimal organizational performance. These challenges could either nullify profitability, kill the organism quickly or slowly, or, for more adaptable organizations, create opportunities in new niches.

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