About us
Articles
Resources
What we do
Home

Culture Check List

Organisational Culture Check List

Richard Seel

{To download a Word version, click here.}

The following check list covers some of the areas which an anthropologist might consider when entering an organisation. As a check list it is necessarily brief at best and enigmatic or downright incomprehensible at worst. I have included some notes which might help to make a little more sense of one of the sections, on dress code. As time goes by I may add more notes...

Boundaries

bullet

Who is a member of organisation

bullet

Agency staff?

bullet

Casual?

bullet

Customers?

bullet

Departed staff?

bullet

Family members of staff?

bullet

Permanent staff only?

bullet

Redundant staff?

bullet

Retired staff?

bullet

Temps?

Change

bullet

Perceived as continuous?

bullet

Sense of stability?

Communications (see also “Words”)

bullet

Attitude towards

bullet

Frequency

bullet

How are strangers greeted

bullet

Style

bullet

Use of language

bullet

Preferred modes?

bullet

Most common modes?

bullet

Written or verbal?

bullet

E-mail or memo?

bullet

Telephone or face to face?

bullet

Acceptable ways of offering opinion

bullet

Impassioned arguing?

bullet

Rational debate?

bullet

Shouting acceptable?

Deviancy

bullet

Is non-normative behaviour admired or deprecated?

bullet

Are ‘fools’ and ‘tricksters’ celebrated?

bullet

Formally or informally?

Dress code

bullet

Formal or informal?

bullet

How rigidly enforced

bullet

Are there ‘dress down’ days? How are they treated?

bullet

How do people dress for off-site meetings?

bullet

What differentiators—how many classes? E.g.:

bullet

Uniforms for security

bullet

Casual for operations

bullet

Two piece suits for middle managers

bullet

Three piece suits for senior managers

Fixtures & fittings

bullet

Office furniture—expensive or cheap?

bullet

Differences due to status or function?

bullet

Do managers have chairs with arms and high backs?

bullet

Are some areas carpeted? Why?

bullet

Decor—bright? Dowdy?

bullet

Level of maintenance and decorative order

Food

bullet

Number and structure of canteens

bullet

Use of food in meetings

bullet

Working lunches

bullet

Out of office activities

bullet

Attitudes to alcoholic drinks

bullet

Wine for managers, beer for workers?

bullet

Wine for managers, nothing for workers?

bullet

No alcohol on premises?

Groups and networks

bullet

Formal or informal

bullet

Rumour & gossip rate

bullet

Sanctioned or illegitimate

bullet

Strength of grapevine

History

bullet

Attitudes to history

bullet

Attitudes to past folk heroes & villains

bullet

Lots of stories? Told in public or told in corridors?

bullet

Organisation myths

Home and work

bullet

Attitudes towards child care

bullet

Role of spouse

bullet

What is the policy towards domestic crises?

bullet

How are domestic crises actually dealt with?

bullet

More flexible than policy?

Meetings

bullet

How are new members (employees) assimilated

bullet

How often

bullet

Setting

bullet

Shape of table

bullet

Who attends

bullet

Who sits where

bullet

Who speaks

Money

bullet

Openness?

bullet

Salary levels known? Much talk about salary?

bullet

Business figures widely known?

bullet

Degree of thrift

bullet

All letters first class?

bullet

Expenses

bullet

Paid easily?

bullet

Much querying?

Rewards and recognition

bullet

Basis of reward

bullet

Individual-based

bullet

Team-based

bullet

Organisation-based

bullet

Indicators of status—grade or salary?

bullet

Private bonus system

bullet

Public reward?

bullet

Titles

bullet

Salesman of month, etc.

Space, use of

bullet

Allocation of office space

bullet

Decor an indicator of social structure?

bullet

Location an indicator of social structure?

bullet

e.g. ‘top’ management at top of building?

bullet

Size an indicator of social structure?

bullet

Indicators in open plan:

bullet

Higher partitions for managers?

bullet

Some offices? For whom?

bullet

Labelling—how easy is it for stranger to find a specific person

bullet

Analogue of ease of entry to organisation?

bullet

Mapping of function or process to space?

bullet

Open plan vs. individual offices

bullet

Public vs. private space:

bullet

Use of toilets

bullet

“Executive washroom”?

bullet

Shared toilets?

bullet

State of building—clean, in need of decoration, etc

Time

bullet

Attitudes to time

bullet

Busy, busy or relaxed?

bullet

Attitude to past and future

bullet

Emphasis on planning?

bullet

Punctuality—virtue or vice?

Words

bullet

Jargon

bullet

Indicator of boundary strength

bullet

Subgroups using jargon?

bullet

Modes of address

bullet

Same to all staff?

bullet

First name to all?

bullet

Mr upward, first name downward?

bullet

Sir?

bullet

Terms of address; terms of reference

bullet

Treatment of women different from men?

bullet

Different to clients?

bullet

Sexual innuendo?

bullet

Harassment?

bullet

Pinups?

bullet

Sexual joking?

bullet

Swear words?

Richard Seel 1998.

[Up] [Home] 

Send mail to richard@new-paradigm.co.uk   with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 12th January 2008
vetica" color="#996600">Different to clients? bullet

Sexual innuendo?

bullet

Harassment?

bullet

Pinups?

bullet

Sexual joking?

bullet

Swear words?

Richard Seel 1998.

[Up] [Home]