6 Culture Assessments That Can Change Your Organization

June 16, 2021 Staff Writer

Toxic culture can kill your business. It can increase employee churn, wreck mergers, and hobble new strategies. According to the website of the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument, developed by Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn at the University of Michigan: 

“A toxic culture decreases productivity [by] 40%, rude cultures damage productivity with $14,000 per employee per year, while an effective culture increases productivity [by] 20%, and a positive culture boosts results by 30-40%. Culture is often the reason why 70% of all mergers, acquisitions and organizational change projects fail.”

If you could use a 30-40% increase in productivity in your business, you should take a close look at your organizational culture. We have found that there is no such thing as an “ideal” culture, even though many consultants will insist on labeling an organization as either a “good” culture or a “bad” culture. Measuring your culture against an ideal is simply a waste of time.

Quick Action, Quick Results

6 Great Tools for Assessing Your Organization’s Culture

You might ask how you can determine what your culture is. We’d like to suggest that it’s not in your vision or mission statements, or even how happy your employees are. You will find many different assessments in the marketplace, so you’ll need to do a little homework. Some are self-administered and others require the participation of trained consultants. They vary most widely in their approaches to organizational culture, so you might want to spend some time getting to know what they measure and how well their consultants will mesh with your team.

Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument

The OCAI uses two pairs of competing choices to help clients identify their organizational culture. Its basic questions focus on whether your organization is focused internally or externally and whether it is based on stability or flexibility. It assumes that there is no “best” culture and seeks to describe the culture in order to improve it. The instrument is administered by accredited consultants or by members of the organization’s culture team who have become accredited.

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The CultureIQ framework is based on 50 years of culture research. According to the Culture IQ website, its approach seeks to remedy issues in three steps:

  • Define Your Why — Link your culture work to key business objectives, then apply our framework to pinpoint the critical components of your unique culture.
  • Understand at Depth — Dive deep into which culture components are thriving – and which will put key objectives at risk.
  • Act With Precision — Enable your team to identify and prioritize the specific actions to implement and measure progress of desired outcomes.

Cultural Mapping Assessment

This tool, developed by KnowledgeWorkx, profiles 12 dimensions of culture and examines how those dimensions affect behavior in the workplace. It is a 72-question inventory administered online. The results are used as part of a larger organizational development program that can be applied to the individual, team or organizational levels.

Human Synergistics

Human Synergistics uses the Organizational Culture Inventory as the basis of its analysis. Its developer, Robert A. Cooke, Ph.D., is the company’s CEO. The website promises to prepare Change Agents, such as consultants or HR professionals, to “use the Human Synergistics scientific diagnostic system to produce measurable improvements in individuals, groups, and organizations.” Human Synergistics offers a variety of assessments for individuals and groups.


This platform allows you to ask questions of your employees. You can send questions to as few as 10 employees or as many as 10,000. It promises “real time, safely anonymous feedback” and provides science-backed questions and survey templates. The dashboards and reports help you keep teams focused and aware of larger corporate goals.

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PROPEL’s WorkXO Culture Assessment

At PROPEL, we define culture as the collection of words, actions, thoughts, and “stuff” that clarifies and reinforces what is truly valued inside an organization. The WorkXO Culture Assessment captures what it’s like to work at your organization—the patterns, the experiences, even the contradictions inherent in how you do things.

Even though the assessment is short (just 15 minutes to complete from beginning to end), it’s incredibly rigorous, based on years of research, testing, and feedback from nearly 100 organizations. WorkXO helps clients focus on what’s working for them and changing what’s not. And the results come back to you within days, not weeks, with the kind of robust reporting that allows you to slice and dice the data any way you’d like.

What Are Your Next Steps?

We think that a culture assessment is the logical first step in changing your culture. The results can be the starting point for critical conversations that can change your organization. Incentivize your employees by asking if they’d like to have a great place to work. It’s amazing what people will do if they can affect positive change.

Of course, you might not be ready to spearhead the change your organization needs. PROPEL is ready to help with the change part, if you need us. We can help you communicate the key aspects of your culture internally so everyone is on the same page and can hold each other accountable. We can also help you effectively share your culture externally, for branding or talent acquisition. 

We’d love to talk culture with you. Contact us to learn more.

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