The organisational culture is the core of every company. As an unwritten system of corporate rules and habits, it affects internal processes, decisions and behavior. Even though all organisational cultures have their strengths and weaknesses, the economy shows that some companies are better adapted to the competitive requirements – and thus survive on the market in the long term.
In order to grasp the significance of the “organisational culture” itself, the Cologne Business School cooperated with Human Synergistics, a very renowned and globally active provider of organisational development tools, as part of a business project. Business projects are cooperation projects with companies where students and company representatives work on practical tasks. They take place during the lecture period. Under the direction of Prof Dr Stefan Schwarz, Professorship for Organizational Psychology, the students of the German-language Master’s programme“Business Psychology” analyzed the organisational culture of four German companies. The survey tool Organizational Culture Inventory from Human Synergistics was made available to them free of charge.
First phase: Finding and interviewing project partners
Before the students started with the analysis of the organisational culture, it was necessary to find suitable project partners. “No company likes to give outsiders an insight into sensitive data. Our students were thus faced with the task of finding business partners who would engage in trusting cooperation. With Great Place to Work, Novatec, Volz Personalberatung and Vietmeier & Kollegen, they found committed fellow campaigners“, says Dr Stefan Schwarz, Professor of Organizational Psychology.
A meeting between the student groups and the companies’ managers marked the beginning of the project phase. The students introduced the survey tool and conducted the first empirical interviews with the managers: On the one hand, they measured the current culture of the company by measuring the shared behavioral norms, i.e. the behaviors that members describe as expected and appropriate by you. On the other hand, they determined the target values in order to compare them with the actual values and thus identify an optimal organisational culture.
Second Phase: Analyze and Present Results
The electronic analysis gave the students a good overview of the discrepancy between the current and optimal organisational culture. They transferred their findings into presentations and supplemented them with individual recommendations for action. Finally, the project was concluded with presentations to the project partners, who were invited to the CBS Campus.
Prof Dr Stefan Schwarz drew a positive conclusion to the joint cooperation: “Our students received great praise from the project partners for their work. By taking an analytical look at their own corporate culture, they were able to give the managing directors new food for thought. At the same time the students experienced the meaning of an organisation culture analysis for the enterprise development and the evidence-based management themselves.