During the OCAI assessment a participant divides 100 points over a number of descriptions that correspond to the four organizational culture types, according to their experience of the present organization. This method assesses the mix of the four culture types that dominate the current organizational or team culture.
By answering the questionnaire a second time, this time dividing the 100 points according to what the respondent would prefer for the future, the preferred organizational culture and the desire for change can be measured.
The scoring is deliberately designed this way. By dividing 100 points over 4 statements, respondents have to weigh and choose - just like the Competing Values Framework or reality. In reality, you can't have everything at the same time. You can't eat the cake and keep it. A Likert-scale would allow people to give everything the maximum number of points - while this way of scoring is more realistic.
Respondents assess the following six key aspects of their organizational culture. Again, this concise number of six aspects is the results of extensive research. Adding more variables does not enhance the survey's validity. Hence, the survey is short and sweet while it yields a valid representation of culture. (If you want to know more about validity and reliability, please refer to the book by Cameron & Quinn). The six culture aspects that you assess in the survey, are:
- Dominant characteristics
- Organizational leadership
- Management of employees
- Organization glue
- Strategic emphases
- Criteria of success
By averaging all individual OCAI scores, you can calculate a collective organization profile. In smaller teams, it’s also possible to use all the separate individual profiles and discuss them.
A culture profile shows the following:
- The dominant culture
- Discrepancy between present (the fuchsia area) and preferred culture (the blue area)
- The strength of the dominant culture (the number of points awarded)
- The congruency of the six aspects (Cultural incongruence often leads to a desire to change, because different values and goals can take a lot of time and discussion)
- Comparison of the culture profile with the average for the sector or industry group
- Comparison with average trends; in what phase of development is the organization?
From Quinn and Cameron’s extensive research, it was found that most organizations have developed a dominant culture style. An organization rarely has only one culture type. Often, there is a mix of the four organizational cultures.
The Competing Values Framework states that the values and the corresponding organizational cultures compete with each other. Organizations can spend their money, attention, and time only once, so they tend to emphasize certain values. Quinn and Cameron found that flexible organizations are the most effective, which sometimes leads to contradictory behavior. The “best” organizations can handle the competition within this framework well and use all four value sets when necessary.
A culture type works best in the activities domain that aligns with that specific culture type. In the health care sector for instance, we found a lot of clan culture. This type naturally fits in with the profession of taking care of people. There is no ultimate “best” organizational culture prescribed by the Competing Values Framework. Only in a certain context will one type of culture fit better than another.
Give OCAI One a try!