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Group Exercise: Assessing the Organizational

Culture at Your School


Objectives
1. To provide you with a framework for assessing organizational culture.

2. To conduct an evaluation of the organizational culture at your school.

3. To consider the relationship between organizational culture and organizational effectiveness.

Introduction
Academics and consultants do not agree about the best way to measure an organizations culture. Some people measure
culture with surveys, while others use direct observation or information obtained in interviews/workshops with
employees. This exercise uses an informal group-based approach to assess the three levels of organizational culture
discussed in this chapter. This approach has successfully been used to measure organizational culture at a variety of
organizations.

Instructions
Your instructor will divide the class into groups of four to six people. Each group member should then complete the
Cultural Assessment Worksheet by him- or herself. It asks you to identify the artifacts, espoused values, and basic
assumptions that are present at your current school: You may find it useful to reread the material on layers of
organizational culture discussed earlier. When everyone is done, meet as a group and share the information contained
on your individual worksheets. Create a summary worksheet based on a consensus of the cultural characteristics
contained at each level of culture. Next, compare the information contained on the summary worksheet with the
cultural descriptions contained in Table 31 and discuss what type of culture your school possesses. Again, strive to
obtain a consensus opinion. Finally, the group should answer the discussion questions that follow the Cultural
Assessment Worksheet.

Culture Assessment Worksheet


Artifacts (physical or visible Espoused Values (the stated values Basic Assumptions (taken-for
manifestations of culture; they and norms preferred by the granted beliefs about the
include jargon, heroes, stories, organization) organization that exist on an
language, ritual, dress, material unconscious level)
objects, mascots, physical
arrangements, symbols, traditions,
and so forth)
Questions for Discussion
1. What are the groups consensus artifacts, espoused values, and basic assumptions? Are you surprised by anything on
this list? Explain.

2. What type of culture does your school possess? Do you like this organizational culture? Discuss why or why not.

3. Do you think the organizational culture identified in question 2 is best suited for maximizing your learning? Explain
your rationale.

4. Is your school in need of any cultural change? If yes, discuss why and recommend how the schools leaders might
create this change. The material on embedding organizational culture would help answer this question.