How does it work?
What is culture? “The way we do things around here” would be my favorite way to put it. It is an important aspect of the success of your company. Culture actually is the harvested knowledge (values and traditions) of a group of people. This knowledge makes it possible for the group to be effective in their specific niche. Within companies, the culture makes it possible to survive. But sometimes your culture has to change to stay successful. That’s why it is important to learn about the assets which form your culture.
There are many different ways to assess your organization's culture. Study tells us that there are more than seventy instruments to measure which culture applies to your company (Jung, Scott, Davies, 2009). So if you like to see what kinds of culture your company has, it is important that you first know what you like to learn. While insights from cultural assessment might be helpful, their inappropriate use can put organization at a disadvantage (Caroselli 1992). Cultural assessment can be a starting point to solve problems, but also a way to create problematic solutions (Smit 2001).
A very popular measuring instrument which can help you to learn more about your culture is the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) from Cameron and Quinn. This tool uses the four quadrants model from the same scientists. They found out that an organizational culture can be divided in to one (or two) of these dimensions: adhocracy, clan, hierarchy and market.
Dominant characteristics, leadership, management style, organizational glue, criteria to success and strategy are the assets which Cameron and Quinn use to assess a culture. Below the four dimensions with their assets. Where does your company belong?
The organization is a very personal place. It is a lot like an extended family. People seem to share a lot of themselves. The glue that holds the organization together is loyalty and mutual trust. Commitment to this organization runs high. The organization emphasizes human development. High trust, openness, and participation persist. The organization defines success on the basis of the development of human resources, teamwork, employee commitment, and concern for people.
The organization is a very dynamic and entrepreneurial place. People are willing to stick their necks out and take risks. The glue that holds the organization together is commitment to innovation and development. There is an emphasis on being on the cutting edge. The organization emphasizes acquiring new resources and creating new challenges. Trying new things and prospecting for opportunities are valued. The organization defines success on the basis of having the most unique or newest products. It is a product leader and innovator.
The organization is very results oriented. A major concern is with getting the job done. People are very competitive and achievement oriented. The glue that holds the organization together is emphasis on achievement and goal accomplishment. Aggressiveness and winning are common themes. The organization emphasizes competitive actions and achievement. Hitting stretch targets and winning in the marketplace are dominant. The organization defines success on the basis of winning in the marketplace and outpacing the competition. Competitive market leadership is key.
The organization is a very controlled and structured place. Formal procedures generally govern what people do.The glue that holds the organization together is formal rules and policies. Maintaining a smooth running organization is important. The organization emphasizes permanence and stability. Efficiency, control, and smooth operations are important. The organization defines success on the basis of efficiency. Dependable delivery, smooth scheduling, and low-cost production are critical.
To assess your company, start with the OCAI questionnaire. This can be send to your employees to check where your organization stands. The power of this tool is that is meant to measure the current culture and investigate which culture change your company has to make to achieve new goals. It is important that you accept where you are and research where you want to be in the future. To do so, you can do an investigation what you like to be. Do you want a culture where you want more freedom, go to adhocracy. Do you want to have more control, move to hierarchy. Do you want a culture where the team bonding is extremely important, change to a family culture. But most important: start measuring and set goals!