!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument

The subject of organizational culture is obviously a large one, but it's also of such importance that it's essential to take the time to develop a practical understanding of its dimensions and its impact on organizational performance.

A good starting point is the competing values model developed by Kim Cameron and Robert E. Quinn, professors of management and organizations at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

Cameron and Quinn posit two principal values continuums along which an organization's culture can vary, as shown in the graphic below.

Conflicting Values Model
of Organizational Culture
The two values continuums interact to produce four general types of organizational culture:
  • Hierarchy culture[internal/stability] traditional command-and-control model, best suited to achieving efficiency in a stable, uncomplicated environment.

  • Market culture[external/stability] aims for period-by-period profits, highly competitive.

  • Clan culture[internal/flexibility] emphasis on good working relationships and harmonious work environment.

  • Adhocracy culture — [external/flexibility] emphasis on creativity and risk-taking.
Cameron and Kim provide a validated tool for assessing organizational culture — both the current culture and the desired culture. This tool, the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI), defines culture in terms of six dimensions:
  1. Dominant Characteristics

  2. Organizational Leadership

  3. Management of Employees

  4. Organizational Glue

  5. Strategic Emphasis

  6. Criteria for Success
As you can see by looking at the OCAI here (MSWord), each dimension is provided with four descriptors, one for each of the cultural types listed above.

Cameron and Quinn present their competing values model in Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework, originally published in 1999 and now available in a 2005 revised edition.