Strategy and culture in harmony are the key to high business performance

by Karl-Heinz Oehler and Dr. Stella Malsy

Almost all companies are confronted today with increasing economic and social challenges. And all are challenged to achieve a high level of performance, and to maintain that level. Many research studies show that the culture of an organization plays a key role. The logical consequence of this for every company is that they must bring their strategy and corporate culture into harmony. The question should not be: “What is more important: Strategy or culture?” Both are fundamentally important.

Based on the eponymous model, the “Denison Organizational Culture Survey” provides a reliable measurement of the current status - the “health” - of a corporate culture. The results are compared in a global database with over 1,000 other organizations. Unique to this approach is the proven, long-term correlation of cultural aspects with the financial performance capabilities of the company (including capital returns, sales, and market vs. book value ratios).

The model also allows for translating “intuitive” elements, mostly intangible aspects, in measurable variables, as well as interpreting them in relation to the business context and corporate strategy. Said another way, the “Denison Organization Culture Model” provides an organizational effectiveness model. It connects the results of culture surveys with the company’s strategy, and identifies gaps which stand in the way of effective strategy fulfillment. One can use this to set decisive priorities in order to develop a culture which provides for sustained strategic implementation in the entire company.

After the results of the cultural analysis are determined, the interpretation and conceptual work begins: How is the status quo? How do corporate culture and strategy interact? Where are the cultural barriers which prevent the company reaching its business goals? Critical deltas are made directly visible in a presentation and discussion of the results obtained. With these deltas, one can identify and go into detail about the needed actions to close these gaps.

Denison Consulting GmbH and RGP GmbH, Germany, are strategic partners who work together to make customer companies more sustainably successful. For more information about the model, please contact Dr. Stella Malsy (stella.malsy@rgp.com) and Karl-Heinz Oehler (khoehler@denisoncultureeurope.com).

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