Assessing Organizational Culture: Models And Critical Success Factors

Overview of Organizational Culture Models

The report aims at providing an overview of business organization in the context of various organizational cultures. There is discussion about various models that helps in explaining the different types of organizational culture. The report also puts forward the critical success factors of the organizational culture analysis model and their importance to the organization. The assessment and comparison of the organizational culture between desired situation and existing one represents an efficient and useful tool for supporting the organizational development and achieving the sustainable performance.

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Model of Competing Values

The researchers J. Rohrbaugh and R. E. Quinn initially put forward the model in the year 1983 that was later adapted by R. E. Quinn and K. Cameron in the year 1999 with an emphasis on the complicated nature of culture within an organization depending on the internal, external, stable and the flexible structure(Quinn et al. 2014). Therefore, the model came to be known as the Focus model. The model represented in two dimensions with the help of four quadrants that helps in guiding the organizational objectives based on the integration of the external and internal environment. Each quadrant in the figure represented below highlighted by certain key features.


Figure1: Representation of Organizational Culture via Competing Values Model

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Source: (Cameron et al. 2014)

The upper quadrant to the left, known as human relations model is characterized by internal control and flexibility. Here the emphasis here is on the idea of morals and cohesion.

The upper quadrant in the right also referred as open systems model and characterized by external focus and flexibility. Therefore, the adaptive adhocracy puts emphasis on creativity, development, adaptation, acquisition of the external resources along with external support.

 The lower quadrant to the right also known as rational target model undergoes characterized by the external focus and the predictability. Based on the scenario, the adaptation of the organization towards the market is focused on the productivity, competitiveness, clear objectives, efficiency and the achievement of the goals.

The lower quadrant to the left also referred as the model of the internal process or hierarchical culture characterized by the internal focus and the predictability. Here there is an increased emphasis on the documentation, stability, information management, centralization, routine, control and continuity.

Success Factors and Importance to Organizations 

Thus, each of the quadrants possesses certain features from which the company can make a choice and effectively function. However, none of the quadrants representing clan, hierarchy, adhocracy and competition better compared to the others just as no culture is defined better in comparison to the others (Lavine 2014).  However, there might be situations when some cultures are more appropriate in certain contexts. Then secret to using culture for improving the performance of the company lies in adapting to the certain components for achieving the objectives of the organization. It is often seen, most organizations are not characterized by culture of a single type. They however develop a dominant culture their adaptation and response to the changes and the challenges. The companies considered balanced when they are able in meeting the criteria of the four quadrants. In such cases, the leaders possess the ability of balancing conflicting requirements thereby putting forward suggestions that implies that higher performance necessitates simultaneous mastery of the paradoxical and contradictory capacities.

The Focus Model

The model puts forward a graphical representation of integrated conceptual model also known as the circumplex. The model based on several management and psychological theories, also known as the Circumplex Model (Sprenkle, Olson and Russell 2014). This model helps in measuring twelve attitude and styles of leader along with the organization as a whole. These attitudes includes, humanist, affiliation, results, self development, approving, conventional, avoidance, subordination, opposition, competitive, power and perfectionist.


Figure 2: Human Synergistics Model for Assessment of Organizational Culture

Source: (Gollan and Witte 2014)

The Circumplex Model acts as an instrument for measuring the behavior and the attitudes adopted by the organization. The model acts on the premise that any particular behavior of the organization is acceptable for a particular situation thereby denouncing the inadequacy and  ina appropriateness of the attitude. The styles presented divided into the three main categories within circumplex (Madrid and Patterson 2014). The categories of styles include constructive styles, passive defensive styles and the aggressive defensive style represented by blue, green and red respectively in the figures represented above.

Success Factors and Importance to Organizations 

According to the model, in constructive cultures, achievement of the set task leads to the achievement of the personal satisfaction. There is a balance created between the independent thinking, consensus, teamwork and the initiative taken. Individuals appreciates inter human relationships since they are not only open but also constructive between them. However, in the passive defensive cultures the behavior of the individual characterized by need for the security and the minimum pre disposition towards the risk (Barrett and Russell 2014). Here, the individuals act in a manner so that they do not injure the behavior of others thereby avoiding any kind of the interpersonal conflict. The procedures, orders and rules remained fulfilled without any question. Such controlled environments leads to well defining the positions with intense supervision. However, managers do not emphasize the good result but also do not miss opportunities of putting forward the negative aspect of employees within organization. The aggressive defensive cultures however emphasize the defensive behavior of the individuals that shows the requirement for maintaining a hierarchical position within the organization thereby reaching the call for security through the aggressive approach of assigned task (Chaudhry et al. 2016)

Therefore, the type of culture measured with the help of the instrument possesses a direct impact on the activity of the employees and on the operation of the company.  They even remain linked to motivation, staff satisfaction, quality of services and products, motivation, teamwork along with the criteria for the organizational efficiency.

The Circumplex Model

This model of the organizational culture ensures describing an organizational behavior theory that emphasizes the existence of strong link amongst the culture and the performance (Hosseini 2014). The cultural dimensions of the model include involvement, consistency, adaptability and mission. The dimensions have their own features.  


Figure: Dennison Model for Assessment of Organizational Culture

Source: (Hosseini 2014)

Success Factors and Importance to Organizations 

The success factors and the importance to the organizations include:

Involvement: This dimension implies that effective organizations not only empowers employees but also counts their teamwork and help in developing human skills at the organizational level (Ahmady, Nikooravesh and Mehrpour 2016). There is active involvement of the top managers, employees and the executives while performing a particular work and they also feel consider them part of the organization. There is an influence of the organizational members on the decisions where they feel it will affect their work and performance of the task leads to fulfillment of set objectives.

The features of this dimension include:

  • Orientation towards the teamwork: This is when an organization counts on the efforts of the team.
  • Empowerment:When the employees posseses the authority, ability and initiative for managing own work
  • Development of Skills: This is when the organization invest in skill development of employees

Consistency: This dimension helps in defining the elements and values that acts as the base for a stronger culture of the organizations. Effectiveness of organizations exists because of the integration, well coordination, coherence and strong cultures. According to this dimension, the behavior of the employees depends on well-defined value set and leaders possess the necessary skills required for reaching an agreement even when there are different viewpoints (Kokina and Ostrovska 2014). Consistency leads to the creation of strong culture based on the values, symbols and beliefs supported and understood by the staffs. It also defines a powerful internal integration and stability that results from the mindset that are common to the organizational members from a higher degree of compliance.

The distinctive features include:

  • Core Value: This represents the common value sets
  • Consensus:This represents both the general consensus and ability of reconciling the  differences that takes place
  • Integration and Coordination: This put forward the fact that although organizations have different members but they work together for achievement of the common goals organizational objectives.

Adaptability: This dimension helps in transforming requirements of external business environment into necessary action. The irony however lies in the fact that well integrated organizations faces the most difficulty in undergoing change (Abdullah et al. 2014).  Adaptable organizations represent those that take necessary risks, learn from the mistakes and possess the experience and the ability in creating the change. They however depend on the continuous change of systems thereby leading to enhanced skills of the group for providing value to the customers.

The characteristics of adaptability include:

  • Creation of  change: This represents  the ability of  perceiving  and meeting  requirements of external environment via change
  • Orientation of customer:  This represents that fact that organization responds and understands the needs of the customers and anticipates the futuristic  needs. This feature help in reflecting  the degree towards which an organization expresses its concern with the customer satisfaction
  • Organizational Learning: This put forward the fact that the organization receive, decode and interpret signals from external  environment thereby  transforming them into necessary opportunities for encouraging the skill development, innovation and  information collection

Mission: This dimension helps in defining long-term direction for an organization. The thriving organizations not only possess a defined purpose but also have the direction that defines the strategic and organizational and objectives for portraying the vision of the company in the future(Ahmady, Nikooravesh and Mehrpour 2016). The mission of the company is a reflection of the clear direction for the members and the company.

The Dennison Model

The characteristics of this particular dimension include:

  • Strategic Direction: This represents a clear strategy of the organization that provides a direction and meaning to the employees.
  • Objectives and Aims: This put forward the fact that the management decides upon realistic and ambitious goal that are measurable
  • Vision:This represents the vision of a long term that helps in the creation of motivation and excitement amongst the employees not affected by the objectives related to the short term.


To conclude, one can say that the three models represent the preliminary point of assessing the organizational culture at the enterprise level. From the report, one can find that The Focus Model represents general model for the promotion of the successful management, improvement in the efficiency of the organization and creation of the organizational value. The Human Synergistics Model however catches the attitude of the organizational members based on the security, satisfaction and the kind of culture prevailing in the organization. However, the model does not explain ability of the organization adaptable and flexible for coping with rapid changes and the external environment. The Denison Model discussed in the report however highlights both the internal integration of employees and process of external adaptation. The analysis of the organizational culture represents a process that is complex and must consider the cultural dimensions at the company level.


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Ahmady, G.A., Nikooravesh, A. and Mehrpour, M., 2016. Effect of organizational culture on knowledge management based on Denison model. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 230, pp.387-395.

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