The assessment of organisational culture: A methodological study

Teemu Reiman, Pia Oedewald

Research output: Book/ReportReport


This report examines the assessment and development of organisational culture in complex organisations. It covers definitions of organisational culture and safety culture, and the research that has been conducted. The common definition of organisational culture is adjusted with the aid of the core-task concept. Organisational culture is defined as a solution created by an organisation for the demands set by the core task. The development of an organisation's operations requires an understanding of the overall dynamics (culture) of the organisation's activities, but also an assessment of the impact of culture on operational efficiency. The criteria of organisations' operational efficiency must be determined on a case-by-case basis. The Contextual Assessment of Organisational Culture (CAOC) methodology proposed in the report uses both qualitative and quantitative methods. Determining the culture prevailing in a company at some moment in time requires the study of the company's values, practices, artefacts and of the core task defined by them. By comparing these elements an attempt is made to clarify the underlying assumptions prevailing in a company. Core-task analysis, on the other hand, helps to determine the main content of work and the critical demands it sets for working practices. The research requires close cooperation with target groups and covers both the practical problems and the resulting research problems which one strives to resolve. One aim is to commit personnel to ponder and reflect on their own work and in this way to reduce opposition to change and to create the conditions for the continuation of internal development work also after the research is completed. Operational development seminars organised during the research deepen the researchers' picture of the culture and act at the same time as a practical channel for operational development and as a chance for personnel to exert their influence. methodology has been developed particularly for application in improving the efficiency of complex organisations and communities of practice, in other words to improve productivity, safety and well-being. The purpose of this report is to present the general basis of the methodology and its relationship to other organisational research and development.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)951-38-5894-4
ISBN (Print)951-38-5893-6
Publication statusPublished - 2002
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

SeriesVTT Tiedotteita - Research Notes


  • organisational culture
  • safety culture
  • cultural assessment
  • nuclear power industry
  • organisational research


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