6 dimensions of organisational culture

The organizational culture project

After Culture's Consequences was published in 1980, and became influential, the question arose how organizational culture was related to national culture.

A separate research project into organizational culture differences, conducted by Geert's institute IRIC (Institute for Research on Intercultural Ccoperation) across 20 organizational units in Denmark and the Netherlands in the 1980s, identified six independent dimensions of practices: process-oriented versus results-oriented, job-oriented versus employee-oriented, professional versus parochial, open systems versus closed systems, tightly versus loosely controlled, and pragmatic versus normative.

The position of an organization on these dimensions is partly determined by the business or industry the organization is in. Scores on the dimensions are also related to a number of other "hard" characteristics of the organizations. These lead to conclusions about how organization cultures can be and cannot be managed.

Note that since these dimensions are based on research in only two countries, their applicability in other, different countries cannot be taken for granted. Also, the sample of 20 organisations was not representative of all possible organisations, which further limits the confidence that can be placed in the results.

The most important and robust result is that organisations in the study did not have shared values, but they did have shared understanding of practices.

Organizational culture consultancy

The organization culture consultancy company itim was founded by Bob Waisfisz in 1985. It is still active today (See training and consulting). Bob Waisfisz started a new company on organizational culture, called Culture Sharp.