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Beyond the figures of organisational culture surveys

Ivolga, Marina LU and Booth, Samantha LU (2019) BUSN49 20191
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
An increasing number of organisations are purchasing culture measurement solutions without reflecting on how ‘measurement’ mirrors organisational reality. This is because the dominant perspective of culture measurement caters to managers and claims to deliver absolute readings. Concurrently, constructivist scholars have often neglected the potential for culture surveys to act as interpretative structures for aligning multiple, divergent accounts of organisational reality. We aim to explore these unchallenged academic aspects of the culture measurement literature by approaching “How are employees’ perceptions of organisational reality taken into account when managerial interpretation is based on measurement?” and “How can an organisational... (More)
An increasing number of organisations are purchasing culture measurement solutions without reflecting on how ‘measurement’ mirrors organisational reality. This is because the dominant perspective of culture measurement caters to managers and claims to deliver absolute readings. Concurrently, constructivist scholars have often neglected the potential for culture surveys to act as interpretative structures for aligning multiple, divergent accounts of organisational reality. We aim to explore these unchallenged academic aspects of the culture measurement literature by approaching “How are employees’ perceptions of organisational reality taken into account when managerial interpretation is based on measurement?” and “How can an organisational culture survey be used to give and make sense about organisational reality?” from a sensemaking and sensegiving perspective. We conducted semi-structured interviews at the international chemical company Chemix’s offices in Finland, Sweden and Latvia, as well as gathered, structured and interpreted empirical data to achieve these ends. Our findings suggest that culture measurement exerts agency over managers’ interpretative processes and broadly disregards employees’ points of view. As a result, managers and employees perceive and approach the culture survey in conflicting ways due to divergently held assumptions about organisational culture, which leads to confusion, frustration and cynicism. We argue that managers should be cautious of using the diagnostic approach to understand organisational reality as it oversimplifies and fails to capture the complexity of organisational culture and life. However, we consider culture surveys to present organisations with valuable opportunities to participatively align divergent realities through sensemaking and sensegiving - an act that may potentially surmount the outcomes of diagnostic measurement. (Less)
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author
Ivolga, Marina LU and Booth, Samantha LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Perceptions of organisational culture measurement from a sensemaking and sensegiving perspective
course
BUSN49 20191
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
language
English
id
8979303
date added to LUP
2019-07-04 16:31:41
date last changed
2019-07-04 16:31:41
@misc{8979303,
  abstract     = {An increasing number of organisations are purchasing culture measurement solutions without reflecting on how ‘measurement’ mirrors organisational reality. This is because the dominant perspective of culture measurement caters to managers and claims to deliver absolute readings. Concurrently, constructivist scholars have often neglected the potential for culture surveys to act as interpretative structures for aligning multiple, divergent accounts of organisational reality. We aim to explore these unchallenged academic aspects of the culture measurement literature by approaching “How are employees’ perceptions of organisational reality taken into account when managerial interpretation is based on measurement?” and “How can an organisational culture survey be used to give and make sense about organisational reality?” from a sensemaking and sensegiving perspective. We conducted semi-structured interviews at the international chemical company Chemix’s offices in Finland, Sweden and Latvia, as well as gathered, structured and interpreted empirical data to achieve these ends. Our findings suggest that culture measurement exerts agency over managers’ interpretative processes and broadly disregards employees’ points of view. As a result, managers and employees perceive and approach the culture survey in conflicting ways due to divergently held assumptions about organisational culture, which leads to confusion, frustration and cynicism. We argue that managers should be cautious of using the diagnostic approach to understand organisational reality as it oversimplifies and fails to capture the complexity of organisational culture and life. However, we consider culture surveys to present organisations with valuable opportunities to participatively align divergent realities through sensemaking and sensegiving - an act that may potentially surmount the outcomes of diagnostic measurement.},
  author       = {Ivolga, Marina and Booth, Samantha},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Beyond the figures of organisational culture surveys},
  year         = {2019},
}