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Organizational Culture Inventory

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The main objective of this paper is to provide the reader a clear discussion on the importance of Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI) on how it can improve the current culture of an organization.  In order to have a better understanding of OCI, a company will also be presented in this paper and that is HSBC Bank which is a perfect example on how culture becomes a main contributor in the success in its company operation.


There is no doubt this day that innovations are not the only key to succeed in the business, but more importantly it is understanding the very critical cultural issues and standards are more essential factors that help company to be achieve productivity and stability.  This has been very common to HSBC Bank, which it has proven that managing culture effectively can bring positive result for the organization. Form its famous motto “the world local bank” it continues to prove that the company is working based on what the local customer needs and do not standardized some selective processes instead customizing its processes to make sure that it address the different demands and needs of its local customers.

Current Cultural Type

As the target for cultural change in the OCI inventory consists of three main divisions: constructive, passive defensive and aggressive.  As the result that was presented in this study it shows that the current culture of the company focuses more on the passive defensive cultural styles, which means that the people within the organization are more expected to approach tasks and their jobs in a more forceful ways.  This also means that people work just for their security.  That is why in these cultural style, it includes approval, conventional, dependent and avoidance.  People tend to just follow direction and no initiatives to improve their work also in this cultural style, employee would tend to avoid conflicts and suggestions in order just to do what is expected and nothing more and nothing less.  Employees also become dependent on what may happen in their jobs and would not even bother to look for better ways on how to improve their work for the benefit not only for the company but also for themselves.  In other words there is lack of motivation that is happening within the organization.  Also, based on Kotter and Heskette core values, passive defensive cultural style is an unadaptive culture, where managers tend to focus mainly its own self or sometimes the immediate work group or called as “inner circle” which he thinks easier for him to manipulate.

Most managers also in this style tend to appreciate only managerial initiatives instead leadership initiatives which is sometimes disappointing for some groups in the company and would intend eventually not to interact with the core group of the manager since their initiatives and suggestion will not be entertain.  That is why in the side of most of the staff in order to make things easier, they will just follow and would not anymore contradict or provide some meaningful and very objective suggestions as the influence of power is also applied by most managers in this cultural style.  Just to provide the top two primary style and the weakest style which needs to focus on by the company.  The primary style is approval which has 91%, this means that people will make sure that they are accepted by others, this only means that employees are not being well recognized instead just a few people that are close to the managers are given much attention.  Employees would even tend to be submissive and just be cooperative to the managers who most of the times not giving much direction, but still employees would tend to do it just to be accepted.

The second primary style is avoidance with has 79%, which means that employees just follows rules and becomes non-committal.  This is very evident to employees who would just follow direction without even arguing since what the managers says will be final.  The weakest style is self-actualizing with 75% gap which gives employees the freedom to think in their own and provide suggestion for the betterment of the company.  This is unfortunate that the company is weak in this part, which means that it does not give much attention on giving opportunities for employees to give their side, most specially they are really the ones that face real challenges and actual operation with the customers and that is why their inputs are very vital for the company.  (Using the Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI) to Measure Kotter and Heskett’s Adaptive and Unadaptive Cultures, n.d.).

Behaviors Associated with the Current Cultural Type

The behaviour that is associated with the current cultural styles of the company which consists of its top three cultural styles: Approval with 91%, Avoidance 79% and Dependent with 76%.  It only shows that the common behaviour that associated to these styles is that most managers in this style behave more politically, bureaucratically do not change strategies in response to changing business environments.  They do not empower employees instead they apply their own direction and would always insist on it.  Typical behaviour of non-encouragement of staff in giving their reliable inputs, most specially those who may contradict their plans and direction which are sometimes more feasible and applicable but due to over-assumed of power these managers would still capitalized in their position and be able to pursue on what they want.  And this results to employees to behave as just followers and avoid the conflicts that may jeopardize their work and since security is very important with them, they will tend to be dependent on what managers wants.

While top three weakest cultural styles are: Self actualizing with a gap of 75%, Humanistic 43% and Affiliative with 25%.  The following behaviors that are needed to be focus on by the company to enhance these OCI norms are managers much gives much pay better attention to customers, stockholders and most specially it employees, secondly, it should initiate change even though their maybe possible risk that may encounter.  For each of the OCI items, firstly in humanistic item, behaviour that focuses more on resolving conflicts constructively in order for employees to encourage in providing some reliable inputs for the benefit of improving the process.  Self actualizing which mainly focus more on encouraging employees to perform effectively and efficiently even task are simple and lastly is affiliative, which counterpart behaviour must focus more on cooperating with others in order to achieve a common goal and not just for personal ones.  (Using the Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI) to Measure Kotter and Heskett’s Adaptive and Unadaptive Cultures, n.d.).

Target for Cultural Change

The main target for cultural change as it shown in the OCI table is mainly for the company to focus more on the constructive cultural styles, and also put a balance by reducing much attention to passive defensive and aggressive defensive styles.  This is because the company is mainly directed by managers and it does not focus on the most important component of the company and these are: customers, employees and stakeholders which are needed in the constructive cultural style.  (See Table 1).

For the first OCI item under constructive cultural style, the important behaviours that need to be applied are the following:  helping others to grow and develop, being a good listener, and taking time with people in resolving conflicts constructively.  In this way people within the company will be encourage to work as a team and a check and balance will be applied which will result to effective results.

For humanistic item, the following behaviour needs to be applied:  managers must constantly seek for employees input, always encourage team work, and always respect on the decisions of everybody.  For the last OCI item which is Afiiliative, the three main behaviours that need to be applied are: conforming with every member, telling people different things to avoid conflict or as much as possible make a formal discussion for the whole team on the issue and not just for a certain group, and lastly casting aside solutions that seem different or risky.

OCI Style Your
Raw Score
Percentile Score
Typical Ideal
Percentile Score*
1. Humanistic-Encouraging 34 41% 85%
2. Affiliative 38 46% 71%
3. Approval 37 91% 27%
4. Conventional 30 62% 18%
5. Dependent 35 76% 24%
6. Avoidance 26 79% 27%
7. Oppositional 25 69% 45%
8. Power 23 42% 30%
9. Competitive 24 59% 42%
10. Perfectionistic 32 64% 25%
11. Achievement 43 83% 78%
12. Self-Actualizing 23 7% 82%

Table 1

(OCI Result for HSBC Bank)

Potential Benefits and Risk for Cultural Change

It is also important to provide some key benefits and risks that may be encountered in applying cultural change for the company.  To start with the benefits, the following are the possible benefits: (1) it will solve the main business problem that confronting the organization which affecting humanistic encouraging style.  In this way the company can address effectively and immediately issues that may affect performance of each staff since every thing that may affect their performance will be addressed.  (2) It will definitely improve the roles of its members, since there will be much better attention by the managers on the issues affecting the task assigned to each employees and the issues they encountered over their customers.  Lastly (3) It will eventually increase the satisfaction level of not only the employees but it will also follow the customers as well.  This is very important since for employees to work effectively motivation and encouragement is needed and if that will be given be done by the management, the employee satisfaction level will increase, most specially if there are rewards and recognition that will be applied.

In terms of risks, there are only two risks that may be encounter in this cultural change ad these are: (1) resistance for employee for change, most specially if there is already a very deep conflict history already between managers and the staff.  This will be very difficult to accomplished and much challenging for the management to convinced employees to believe since it was years they were neglected by the company.  And lastly (2) risk of possibly seeking approval for higher management.  Most specially I terms of applying recognition and rewards because there are companies that are reducing cost and would not entertain or support this kind of initiatives.


In this paper it is clear that cultural styles really matters in managing an organization.  This was clearly presented in this paper through the use of OCI. This tool has provided a more quantitative approach of analyzing company’s organizational style which effectively provides the weakness and items that needed to be improved by the company.  Also, it also provides some results that needed to make a balance since it has been focusing too much on that unattractive cultural style.  In this paper, HSBC as the company presented in this study shows that even though it is performing well globally, it still needs to focus on the constructive cultural style which encourages the company to look closely on managing its customer, stakeholders and most specially its employee.  At the same time put a balance by reducing its focus on the passive defensive and aggressive defensive cultural styles.


“Using the Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI) to Measure Kotter and Heskett’s

Adaptive and Unadaptive Cultures”. n.d, from


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