Assessing Organizational Culture and Climate: A Customizable Approach to Designing Sustainable Change Initiatives

By Kathy Milhauser.

Published by Organizational Cultures: An International Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 20, 2015 $US5.00

Practitioners and scholars agree that a focus on organizational culture and climate is important any time an organization attempts to introduce a change initiative (Schein, 2004). This paper outlines an approach for developing a culture and climate assessment intervention that draws from previous research and allows for customization to suit the organization. The paper combines Schein’s cultural assessment approach with previous work by Koys and Decoitis (1991), Zammuto and Krakower (1991), O’Donovan (2007), and Liker and Hoseus (2008) on examination of climate dimensions.

The approach involves reviewing climate models for specific dimensions that align to the change and improvement strategy selected by the organization. Once the climate model is developed, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, ethnographic field notes, and content analysis of cultural artifacts constitute the method of data collection and analysis. Case study protocols as defined by Yin (2009) are followed to ensure trustworthiness through a rigorous peer review and documentation process.

This approach has been used successfully to support a continuous improvement initiative within a small, private University in the higher education industry. The results of this analysis will be outlined in the paper as an example of the type of results that can be achieved by following the recommended model.

This paper has the potential to support the analysis of culture and climate dimensions at play within an organization in order to improve alignment and increase sustainability of change improvement efforts.

Keywords: Organizational Culture, Organizational Climate, Organizational Change, Sustainable Change, Continuous Improvement, Cultural Assessment

Organizational Cultures: An International Journal, Volume 15, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 20, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 481.972KB)).

Kathy Milhauser

Professor, School of Management, Concordia University, Portland, Oregon, USA