Corporate Culture

What is organizational culture?

Organizational culture concerns the deeply rooted beliefs, values, and norms shared by the members of an organization. While these beliefs and values generally are not directly visible, they drive and are reflected in the actions taken by an organization. What you strive to be as an organization and what you think you endorse may be different than the beliefs and values that are actually being played out. It is critical that you find out who you really are before you can decide who you want to be.

The purposes and benefits of cultural assessment:

Fit of Culture with Strategic Objectives

Why would a company be interested in assessing its culture? First of all, if an organization is interested in maximizing its ability to attain its strategic objectives, it must understand if its culture supports and drives the actions necessary to achieve its goals. An in-depth cultural assessment, based on quantitative data and interviews, can enable a company to determine the difference between its current culture and its desired culture. This information can then be used to design interventions for cultural change.

For example, a company may wish to assess its desired competencies for success and match these against an assessment of its existing culture. Such a gap analysis can enable a company to develop appropriate interventions ranging from leadership development to large scale system changes to enhance its ability to achieve its strategic objectives.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Second, companies are merging with and acquiring each other in unprecedented and growing numbers today. While it’s a sad fact that one out of two marriages end in divorce today, corporate couplings fare even worse. Of the 340 mergers Mercer Consulting analyzed over the past decade, 57% of acquiring companies produced poor returns in the three years after the deal, compared with others in their industry.

Why do many acquisitions destroy shareholder value rather than create it? Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with having paid too high a purchase price or a lack of strategic fit. Rather, those companies which fail to win the support of customers and employees immediately after the merger are those that fare the worst. Understanding the two organizations’ cultures is critical to being able to successfully weave them and their employees together quickly, so that productivity and customer service are uninterrupted. Just as two individuals with differing values and beliefs will not last long together, so it is also true for organizations. Thus, many companies include cultural assessment as part of their due diligence process, to discern before they get to the altar if the cultural differences could be managed after a merger.

Fit of new hires with culture

Third, a company may wish to optimize the fit of new hires into its corporate culture. With corporations, especially in high technology, hiring huge numbers of new employees at a breakneck pace, it is critical that they hire people who fit their current culture (or the new culture they want to create). This is possible only with an in-depth understanding of the current and/or desired culture, as well as a comprehensive evaluation of the candidate’s personality, values and behaviors. Finding the best fit with the culture is critical to maximizing a candidate’s productivity and creativity.

TLG’s Cultural Assessment Process

The process includes an objective quantitative survey and in-depth interviews. Generally, the survey is first administered to a stratified random sampling of a company’s employees. TLG consultants then conduct individual two hour interviews with a significantly smaller number of employees of the company’s choice.


After the results of the assessment have been analyzed, TLG consultants will conduct in-depth one-on-one interviews to more thoroughly explore key themes surfaced and to probe issues which can not be explored using a quantitative questionnaire format.

Sample questions include:

Give me 10 words you would use to describe the organization.

Who really gets ahead in this organization?

What and who is really rewarded around here?

What are some of the war stories or legendary events in the organization’s history?

What does the CEO or leader pay the most attention to? Where does his/her energy get expended and what does s/he reward?

The results of the interviews are then analyzed by Turknett consultants and combined with the data collected from the survey to create a comprehensive and in-depth assessment of your company’s culture. This analysis will include how strong and cohesive your culture is and the sources of your organization’s values and beliefs. These can influence how easily a culture can be changed or incorporated with another culture.

Next Steps

We will help you to make the cultural changes that the cultural assessment indicates are necessary for you to most effectively achieve your strategic objectives and/or integrate a new culture with your own. We draw on our consultants’ expertise in strategic planning, anthropology and psychology to design interventions that achieve your objectives. Such interventions can include culture and climate change management, development of success competencies that match the desired culture, and/or succession planning and leadership development to enhance the creation of the desired culture and or integration of two different cultures.

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