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Organizational culture assessment is a business activity that allows a company to determine certain intangibles. This process can be somewhat unwieldy as a company’s culture is really just the beliefs, values, and morals of those within the organization. Different types of organizational culture assessment tools include surveys, focus groups, and the use of a consultant. Each method varies depending on the company’s size and budget for completing the assessment. The time in which the company completes the assessment may also vary depending on when owners and executives desire organizational culture measurements.
Surveys are often the most common tool when a company needs to make an organizational culture assessment. A company can create a survey that has various sets of questions regarding different cultural aspects. The most common include dominant characteristics, leadership, and employee management, while others might focus on organizational glue, strategic emphasis, and the criteria for organizational success. In most cases, companies desire a 100-percent response rate for these surveys. Starting with individual departments can help a company manage the survey completion process in an orderly manner.
Focus groups use a few employees as a sample to answer questions regarding an organizational culture assessment. These individuals are often from different departments or regional locations. The focus group allows a company to query the individuals on organizational culture and receive immediate feedback. In some cases, a company may use several focus groups with the same number of individuals in order to ascertain the desired information. Focus groups are often done anonymously, where those participating are unknown to anyone other than the managers involved.
Companies unfamiliar with the organizational culture assessment process may decide to outsource the project. A third-party survey or information source can help free the company from internal bias with its culture assessment. In other cases, employees may be freer to discuss the company’s culture without fear of management reprisal. An outsourcing company can also have several years of experience by which it can complete the process. The resources and evaluation of a consulting firm are also pluses for this method.
An organizational culture assessment is often necessary whenever a company believes a culture shift has occurred. Most companies do not have major culture shifts on a frequent basis. These shifts may occur when a company experiences a change in upper management, particularly executives. Executives are often the internal driving force that create shifts that need measurement through an assessment.
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