The Common Ground of Qualitative and Quantitative Culture Development Approaches (Part Two)

Robert Cooke & Edgar Schein Discussion

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This is the second post from a discussion between Professor Edgar Schein, arguably the #1 workplace culture expert in the world and a strong critic of culture surveys, and Dr. Robert A. Cooke, creator of the most widely used organizational culture assessment in the world.  The discussion resulted in 12 key areas of common ground across qualitative and quantitative culture assessment and development approaches.  See the first post for specific comments regarding insights #1-6:

  1. Leaders must start by being clear about the business problem or purpose of their change effort.
  2. A culture survey may be useful under the right circumstances and will only measure some aspects of the culture.
  3. The client should make the decision on whether to use a survey or not.
  4. Leaders should give assurance the feedback will be shared and acted upon.
  5. A team should be engaged to help identify how the survey will be set-up and used.
  6. Only survey as part of a broader change effort which also includes qualitative approaches.

This post covers insights #7 – 12, including Ed and Rob’s overall reaction to the substantial common ground that exists.  These insights should help leaders, consultants, and others to more effectively manage change efforts.

The Common Ground of Qualitative and Quantitative Culture Development Approaches (Part One)

Robert Cooke & Edgar Schein Discussion

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What happens when you have a discussion with Professor Edgar Schein, arguably the #1 workplace culture expert in the world and a strong critic of culture surveys, and Dr. Robert A. Cooke, creator of the most widely used organizational culture assessment in the world? It was exciting to see this discussion unfold to a point where both were “blown away” by the amount of agreement and “common ground” that exists between the approaches they advocate.

Culture is a hot topic but remains an elusive concept for many leaders. The ambiguity and confusion are in part driven by the lack of consistency across experts and thought leaders in the culture field. Nevertheless, there were 12 key areas of common ground across qualitative and quantitative culture assessment and development approaches that came out of the discussion.  These areas should help leaders, consultants, and others to more effectively manage change efforts.