What Are the Different Methods of Diagnosing Organizational Culture?

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  • Written By: Osmand Vitez
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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The classic definition of organizational culture is the values and beliefs inherent in a company’s operations and environment. Diagnosing organizational culture is necessary to determine how or why a company does what it does. The different ways of diagnosing organizational culture include reviewing the invisible, visible, and behaviors of a company. The invisible attributes include attitude or values, visible attributes include artifacts that may be employee dress or advertising, and behaviors can be training or financial systems. All three attributes typically reside in a company’s culture.

Properly diagnosing organizational culture starts with a review of the company’s mission statement and purpose. These documents tend to outline the invisible features of organizational culture. The attitude, beliefs, and values present here are typically taught to each employee in the company. In some cases, however, a company may allow different interpretations of these individual invisible attributes. Walking through the company and talking to several managers or employees is often necessary to fully complete this step.

Visible attributes can be much more defined when diagnosing organizational culture. Artifacts represent the visual items seen both inside and outside the company. Employee dress, for example, can indicate how formal or informal a company may tend to operate. Advertising campaigns allow an individual to see how a company chooses to initiate contact with potential customers. Product lines are another attribute here that demonstrate a company’s organizational culture, particularly the quality of each product manufactured.


Another set of visible attributes is the behaviors exhibited by entire departments within a company. Diagnosing organizational culture from these attributes is often very important. Financial reporting, employee hiring and firing, program training, and other practices are among the most common attributes here. Unfortunately, diagnosing organizational culture from these attributes is not always easy. A formal audit or review is typically necessary to review these systems.

It is important to understand a company’s organizational culture. First, a future employee may want to know more about a company prior to applying and obtaining a job in order to ensure a proper career fit. Second, a partner company may desire this information to ensure the other business holds similar values when running operations. Third, external stakeholders or potential investors may desire information on a company to determine if the business is a worthy investment or fits their values. Either way, a company’s organizational culture should provide the requisite information for each purpose.


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Post 3

@turquoise-- The organizational culture can change, but it doesn't change as easily as organizational climate.

Sometimes, the organizational culture has no choice but to change due to a different environment. For example, American companies that start working in other countries usually have to make changes in organizational culture to adjust to the working environment in that country.

Post 2

@turquoise-- It can be difficult to completely understand the culture of an organization before working there. But you can get an idea of the culture by reading their mandate and organizational goals.

If it's possible to chat with a few of the employees at the organization, this is also a great way to get a sense of the norms, values and rules there.

But you will have a complete understanding of it only when you work there. The reason is because sometimes the rules and norms of an organization are not spoken but rather understood. Organizational culture can be a written down mandate, but usually, it's something that develops on its own.

Post 1

How do I get to know about an organization's culture before working there?

Is organizational culture always constant or can it change?

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