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 organization’s 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 3–1 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 manifestations of culture; they include jargon, heroes, stories, language, ritual, dress, material objects, mascots, physical arrangements, symbols, traditions, and so forth) Espoused Values (the stated values and norms preferred by the organization) Basic Assumptions (taken-for granted beliefs about the organization that exist on an unconscious level) Questions for Discussion 1. What are the group’s 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 school’s leaders might create this change. The material on embedding organizational culture would help answer this question.