I’m not sure about culture surveys. On one hand there is some good in putting organisational culture on public agenda, on the other there’s some contention about whether they actually measure what they say they do. It’s a great idea to get some indicators on a chart that show an organisations tendency towards certain behaviours, as long as the behaviours are valid indicators of culture and performance.
The validity and reliability of the survey is important because there is a heavy reliance on the results to guide action planning. But what if the chosen model of culture, upon which the survey is based, doesn’t adequately address the issues of the organisation? One possible outcome is the treatment of the proverbial symptom; another is using organisational culture (a collective thing) as a cover-up for poor top level leadership.
Consider the case of an organisation where CEO and direct reports are completely dysfunctional in their engagement with their people. In desperation some middle manager or OD person arranges a cultural survey as a roundabout way of addressing the leadership issue. Would it work? I have my doubts.
I’m sure, if used correctly, cultural surveys can deliver great benefits; however to be successful, I reckon they need to be driven from the top – not the middle.
Do you agree, or can organisational leadership be successfully influenced from within?