When conducting an Organizational Culture Assessment, use these questions as a guide when collecting information through interviews, open-ended surveys and/or focus groups. During interviews, be sure to ask follow-up questions to enrich the information you collect. Encourage examples and stories.
Although the questions are designed to reveal particular attributes of the Core Culture, you will find that the responses are not always clear cut. Often people’s responses do not directly answer the question. Be open to what the information you collect actually reveals. For example, a Philosophy question might yield a Priority. You must understand the differences between a Philosophy and a Priority so that you classify the response in the most appropriate attribute category. Review the explanation of the Five Ps to ensure you understand these concepts.
Some of these questions sound repetitive. Often, using a slightly different word or phrase in a question will yield either confirming or new, insightful responses.
Below are some questions to consider asking employees in your process for conducting an organizational culture assessment.
- What words would you use to describe this organization? Give examples of each word.
- What is the purpose of this organization?
- Why is the work you do important? (Ask this question up to five times in an interview.)
- How are you making a difference to society through your work?
- What is your contribution to society through your work?
- What special attribute does the founder/leader possess that has influenced the character of the organization? Explain.
- Describe the ideals that drove the founding of this organization.
- What value is fundamental and distinctive to this organization since its founding? Give examples.
- What makes this organization feel different or unique from our competitors?
- Describe the personality or character of this organization.
- What is central to who we are as an organization that should never change?
- What should we focus on and pay attention to?
- To effectively achieve our strategy, what principles should guide how we work? Explain.
- What key values, if followed, would help the organization compete and thrive?