Denison Organizational Culture Model
This model is based on a series of studies conducted over a 15-year period on over 1,000 organizations and 40,000 respondents. These studies examined the impact of organizational culture on performance and identified four organizational culture traits that impact performance:
- Involvement (empowerment, team orientation, capability development)
- Consistency (core value, agreement, coordination and integration)
- Adaptability (org. learning, customer focus, creating change)
- Mission. (strategic direction, goal objectives, vision)
Each of the four traits represents a central ideal about the determinants of organizational performance and effectiveness. The profile displays scores in quartiles and percentiles which compare an organization's score to the higher and lower-performing organizations in Dr. Denison's research. Third and fourth quartile scores are those generally found in higher-performing organizations.
The profile splits horizontally to distinguish between an external focus (top half) and an internal focus (bottom half).
Involvement and Consistency address the internal dynamics of an organization, but do not address the interaction of the organization with the external environment. Adaptability and Mission, in contrast, take as their focus the relationship between the organization and the external environment.
The profile splits vertically to distinguish between a flexible organization (left half) and a stable organization (right half
Involvement and Adaptability emphasize an organization's capacity for flexibility and change. Opposite that, Consistency and Mission emphasize the organization's capacity for stability and direction.
While research shows that the four traits in the model each has a positive impact on performance, some of the traits, at least on the surface, may appear to contradict others. For example, highly consistent cultures may become inbred, and may be the most difficult to change. In contrast, highly adaptive cultures may have difficulty in achieving the high rates of efficiency or shared sense of purpose often found in cultures that are well integrated.
In a similar sense, the traits of Mission and Involvement may also seem contradictory: the meaning and direction established by an organizational mission may limit the involvement of some of the organization's members. As many organizations have discovered, simply declaring a new organizational mission does not necessarily imply the support and commitment of the organization's members. By the same token, high involvement among an organization's members does not necessarily imply a clear sense of direction and purpose.