Radoff, M. (2013). Corporate Culture: A Framework for Analysis (P. Radoff, Ed.; 1.ª ed.). Amazon Publishing.
The book itself recounts the formation of a corporate profiling tool, called by its author the Corporate Culture Framework (CCF) from now on. He came to form the CCF because in the process of looking for work, it seemed to him that the hiring process would be improved if there were a company psychometric tool.
What I came to spend the most time on was the issue of assessing corporate culture– the rather nebulous concept that nevertheless can have a substantial impact on one’s experience in the workplace. Job applicants and hiring managers want to know whether the applicant will “fit in.” In a workplace where one’s personality is important, so then is corporate culture, by any definition. And there we have our first quandary: how do we define and even measure corporate culture? (Radoff, 2013)
Given the apparent absence of any precise measures of corporate culture, I set out to design a framework, which I call the Corporate Culture Framework (“ CCF”), by which corporate culture could be measured– a collection of metrics and values. Such metrics might include, for example, how directly versus indirectly people communicate within a company (Radoff, 2013)
Essentially, by using a questionnaire, the author’s goal is to create a company profile, to ensure a better match. Finally, try to get a Curriculum Vitae.
By applying this test, that is, by having people respond to the questionnaire, we can develop a Corporate Culture Profile (“ CCP”). With the CCP, I sought to provide a reference for job seekers to answer some basic questions: “What’s it like to work at that company?” “Would I fit in there? Does it match my psychometric profile?” “What are the positives and negatives of working within that company”
This expanded profile, which I call a Corporate Curriculum Vitae (“ CCV”), could be used to answer not only “what is it like to work at the company?” but also “who is working there?” and “is there an opportunity for me to work there?” (Radoff, 2013)
Although the CCP and the CCV are mentioned, they do not appear significantly in the rest of the book. The book itself is neither a guide to the CCF nor a manual to apply it, but rather a strange and mutant genre: a mix of how it came to be put together and a mix of propaganda to be hired to apply it.
On one level, this book attempts to outline a method by which a company’s corporate culture can be more clearly described, with something approaching scientific rigor, in a manner that can be digested by many audiences. There are many psychometric tests for people; this book suggests we can have the same for a company. That is, our supposition is that we can develop a framework for measuring corporate culture (the CCF). (Radoff, 2013)
In theory, he bases his method on various psychometrics, but in reality, we believe, his method is an adaptation of the Myers-Brigg (MBI)
Among the commonly used personality tests is the well-known “Big-5” personality-based test (i.e. the personality qualities of “extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and emotional stability”), the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, the DISC assessment, and others. There are also many lesser-known tests that have cropped up under the radar, the output of smaller companies in the HR arena (Radoff, 2013)
His method is essentially simple. It establishes a dyad of possible choices: in the cases analyzed, it uses categories A – Structured vs B – Flexible for processes and A – Individualist vs B – Group-oriented way of working. Structure based on a series of categories that defines questions that give A or B and then each one assigns a guideline value for how that category is considered for the client: from 1 to 5, with 1 being terribly bad and 5 being excellent.
That is, a company’s cultural characterization and whether that characterization is viewed positively or negatively by its employees are independent variables. Any correlation between a characterization and a judgment should emerge only over time, as the corporate culture of various companies (and any positive / negative judgment) is developed by practitioners. (Radoff, 2013)
1. Identify the components of a company that correspond to components of a person. 2. Decide which of those components are most suitable for analysis (“Key Components”). 3. For each Key Component, decide what are the broad Subcomponents or Groupings of activities that best describe how a company functions (“Groupings”) 4. Within each Grouping, decide what the specific activities are that enable the company to function (“Activities”). 5. Develop a bi-valued method for assessing the company’s performance of each Activity as reflecting a relatively Structured vs. Flexible, or Bold vs. Reflective, approach. 6. Develop a questionnaire that can be used to characterize each Activity in this manner and then, if deemed desirable, to characterize the Groupings, Components, and the company as a whole. The methodology described above creates what we call the CCF. In the sections below, we expand on these steps. Applying the CCF to a particular company creates its CCP. (Radoff, 2013)
An original question he asks is that he considers (in our opinion, not very happily) a division of the corporation into Body, Spirit, Mind and Heart. In its division, this is:
• Body: Assets, assets, logistics, etc. Everything concrete of a corporation
• Spirit: Values. Interestingly, this should be in our opinion a vital part of the culture, but the author considers it the domain of Executives and Strategy Consultants.
• Mind: Defined processes, methodology
• Heart: HR (this shows, if it were necessary to clarify, that the author is a HR professional) and interpersonal relationships
Example of Grouping (of) Mind
Example of grouping of (and I swear it is even difficult to write it) Heart
Essentially, their method is to generate questions for each of the categories:
Applying categories to Employee Chemistry We now consider the case of our activities within the Key Component of Employee Chemistry and apply the concepts of (A) Bold and (B) Reflective. (A) Individualistic vs. (B) Group Oriented. Is it more important for people to be strong individual performers or work within a team? (A) Fact vs. (B) Concept. Which is more compelling within the company – hard facts or ideas? (A) Positive vs. (B) Negative. Do people in the company think about what could go right, or what could go wrong? (A) Serious vs. (B) Relaxed. What is the prevailing attitude in the workplace – stern and serious or relaxed? (Radoff, 2013)
This ends up generating a questionnaire in which each question has a dyad + a subjective appreciation rating. With this, create a Company Profile.
Unfortunately, the book ends at this point, without explaining the analysis or structure of a PCC, which was what in theory is sought. While the text has sample questions, it does not show an in-depth CCF or how it would be analyzed to produce a CCP. Instead, you have a request that the author be contacted to hire and apply.
The text is frustrating, because on the one hand it is interesting how someone has applied a method from another discipline (as we said, for us the MBI is the only “father” of this method) and has applied it to corporate culture (a term that, incidentally, not defined).
But the fact that it does not really explain its model, but ends up being a kind of publicity for its author, does not help much in its assessment. Nor does it help that the author does not consider, for whatever reason, basic issues to apply surveys such as distribution, control groups, metrics, etc.
The text is a good starting point, an idea to generate a better framework for analysis. It can be useful to generate an application of the named frameworks or try to build what the author says it can do, a profile of the culture of a corporation. But as it is presented in the analyzed edition, it is simply a pamphlet about an idea.