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© Han van Loon 1996-2006

Cultural Survey


Surveying the status of organizational culture, improvement and innovation in the SPICE and Knowledge Management communities.

Initial survey results - Part 4

© Han van Loon 2004.


The majority (just over 50%) of respondents stated that they had a varied decision making process (Answer 3: Some decisions are team-oriented, some are made separately by management), which tallies with departmental alignment of vision and mission. As decision-making becomes more management oriented one effect is upon how organisational issues are handled (becoming less personal and more distant). I plan further one-to-one analysis to determine whether there is a distinct inverse relationship between personal responsibility and immediate (personal/team) decision-making ability.I use the following cultural layer model to represent various aspect of culture, including layers and their associated depth (resilience or resistance to change). This higher the layer, the more resilient it is.

Figure 9. Cultural layer model ©Han van Loon

Support for improvement and innovation.

Q9 and Q14 asked respondents about the support for improvement and innovation respectively. The scale was intended to be partially cumulative. Promoted indicated that management expected activity from people, supported meant that people were provided with resources (time, people, budget), rewarded meant that people were rewarded personally or as part of a team, and the final response was that activities were promoted, supported and rewarded. The results for improvement and innovation were similar, further analysis will occur to see if the same organisations gave similar results or in organisations have one orientation or the other. Overall it is possible to see a gap between rhetoric and positive action, if the figures for 'no support' and 'promoted' are taken together they represent approximately 50% of responses. This is the rhetorical group that can be simply stated as "we want each of you to innovate/improve" but no further support or motivation is provided. In cultural terms, there exists a gap between values (desired value of innovation/improvement) and behaviour (support and reward).

Figure 10. Support for innovation and improvement

The support for innovation was also plotted against the importance of knowledge workers, the risk acceptance profiles, and the way innovation is handled.

Comparing the responses on importance of knowledge workers and support for innovation does not indicate a strong correlation. This lack of correlation indicates that while knowledge workers are important, it is not solely for innovation purposes.

Figure 11. Support for innovation versus importance of knowledge workers

Figure 12. Innovation versus risk failure acceptance

The degree of risk acceptance is generally accepted to relate to the level of innovation, hence highly innovative actions have greater risk of failure. The majority of respondents indicated that some risk was accepted. Approximately one third indicated that risk is often or always accepted. Further analysis is required but there is an indication that the level of innovation in many responding organisations is not high (i.e. small innovations versus big innovations).


Go to part 5

If you would like a printable report or specific comparative profiling for your organisation versus the surveyed organisations, please email me.

© Han van Loon 2004
November 2004.

Han van Loon