Organizational Culture for Leadership – Nu Leadership Series

”Wealth in the new regime flows directly from innovation, not optimization; that is, wealth is not gained by perfecting the known, but by imperfectly seizing the unknown.”
Kevin Kelly

Effective leaders understand the relevance of corporate culture. Trevino argues that it is critical to understand both formal and informal systems when studying organizational culture. Research has shown that senior leaders often perceive that organizational ethics is “lovely at the top.” This may be a crucial mistake in strategy.

Let’s analyze this closer. Cameron and Quinn, authors of Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture, maintain that such subunits like departments and teams have their own unique culture. For evaluating organizational culture, the authors advocate using the Organization Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI), which assess six elements of organizational culture; it is based on a hypothetical model known as the Competing Values Framework. The OCAI is useful in identifying the major approaches to organizational design, stages of life cycle development, leadership roles, and management skills.

Past research by Quinn and Rohrbaugh identified 39 factors that contribute to organizational effectiveness. From the statistical analysis, these 39 factors were narrowed down into two major dimensions that were organized into four clusters. One dimension focuses on flexibility, discretion, and dynamism from criteria that emphasizes stability, order, and control.

The latter dimension focuses on an internal orientation, integration, and unity that emphasize external orientation, differentiation, and rivalry. When combined, these two dimensions form four quadrants that have a distinct set of organizational effectiveness indicators. The OCAI provides a good tool for any effective organizations. High performing leaders understand how to measure and influence organizational culture.


Cameron, K. & Quinn, R. (2006). Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Trevino, L. (2006). What We Know. ERC Follows.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green