Case Studies

Case Studies

Best Practice Case Study: Building a Constructive Culture at The Word Among Us

Diagnostic Tools Organisational Culture Inventory®

The Challenge

Catholic publishing company The Word Among Us (WAU) provides more than 500,000 readers throughout the world with daily meditations, devotionals, books, and other resources that encourage Catholics to connect more deeply with their faith and act in ways that mirror the values of the church. The organization itself, however, realized that it was not reaching its full potential and, in some ways, the management and staff at WAU weren't living and breathing the organization's own mission and values.

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Advocate Health Partners Cultural Transformation: Driving Positive Organizational Change

Diagnostic Tools Organisational Culture Inventory® and Life Styles Inventory™   

The Challenge

Do we have what it takes to drive positive organizational change? OD practitioners frequently ask this question of themselves, and of the organizations they assist. The senior leaders at Advocate Health Partners (AHP), part of Advocate Health Care, came face to face with the challenge of driving a cultural transformation.

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High Potential...To Do What?

Diagnostic Tools Organisational Culture Inventory®, Leadership/Impact® andManagement/Impact™   

The Challenge

Most high potentials are selected on the basis of their technical talent and the extent to which their behaviors exemplify and promote their organizations’ operating cultures—the norms and expectations that represent how things are actually done—which often are quite different than their organizations’ highly touted visions and values. As a result, organizations have become very good at promoting a high potential for more of the same. This article highlights what talent managers need to look for and develop in their high potentials (and the commonly made mistakes that they should avoid) to move their organizations toward realizing their visions and goals.
This piece was published in Talent Management magazine (December 2010).

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Culture Change at the Ohio State University Medical Centre

Diagnostic Tools Organisational Culture Inventory®   

The Challenge

Dr. Fred Sanfilippo was appointed Dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health at Ohio State University and CEO of the OSU Medical Centre. The medical centre had a three-part mission revolving around research, education, and patient care. Related to this mission was the goal of dealing effectively with the financial challenges facing academic medical centers in the United States. The senior leadership recognised that the key to reaching this goal and succeeding in their mission was first and foremost investing in their people.

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Best Practices Case Study: Culture Change at Girl Scouts of the USA

Diagnostic Tools Organisational Culture Inventory® and Life Styles Inventory™   

The Challenge

The Girl Scouts of the USA shape the lives of more than 2 million young women across the globe every year, making it the “world’s pre-eminent organization dedicated solely to girls.” But a recent lesser known organizational change initiative may put them at the forefront of the entire nonprofit world, providing a model for how such organizations can better understand and make a positive impact on their corporate cultures.

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Creating a customer-driven culture using project teams

Diagnostic Tools Organisational Culture Inventory® and Life Styles Inventory™   

The Challenge

A large multi-national insurance organisation identified the need to move into the expanding retirement savings market. This decision was forced by the presence of a mature and declining share in bonds and premium sector and introduction of government charges and entry of new competitors. The challenge was to initiate and create the shift towards a more customer-focused and quality driven culture that rewards quality, innovation and continuous improvement in a motivating environment.

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Improving franchise performance through culture development

Diagnostic Tools Organisational Culture Inventory® and Life Styles Inventory™

The Challenge

To transform its retail division into a highly responsive and customer driven organisation and at the same time achieve stretch sales goals. Figure 1 shows a strong Conventional and Perfectionistic "bow tie". This combination is quite common in retail organisations. Staff are expected to follow the rules and policies of the organisation perfectly. Such strong extensions create poor customer satisfaction because staff are expected to obsessively follow the rules of the organisation rather than achieve an outcome for the client.

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Creating a customer service culture in the public sector

Diagnostic Tool Organisational Culture Inventory®

The Challenge

 The organisation was in a state of flux due to a number of changes including CCT (Compulsory Tendering), and the challenge of moving from a public service approach to a more commercially orientated and customer service focus. Large scale redundancies were also causing stress and tension in the workforce and workplace.

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Developing a sales culture in retail banking

Diagnostic Tool Organisational Culture Inventory®

Introduction

Few industries have experienced the rapidity of change as that imposed upon the Retail Banking Industry in the 1990’s. With economic conditions putting severe pressure on interest margins, banks have had to look for a totally different way of running their businesses. This at a time of increasing costs, and in a market where the consumer has become much more aware of the products, costs and values being provided.

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Developing organisational and leadership effectiveness in the pharmaceutical industry

Diagnostic Tool Organisational Culture Inventory®

The Challenge

In response to an increasingly competitive marketplace, the company embarked on a programme of culture change. Over a 4-year period a range of initiatives, employee attitude and climate surveys were implemented. The Human Resources Director recognised the need to systematically measure and monitor the change in culture over time, in order to inform ongoing strategic decision making. There was also a need to correlate the key climate outcomes developed in earlier surveys with the company’s unique cultural "drivers" for success.

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Building high performance teams

Diagnostic Tool Life Styles Inventory™

The Challenge

For most banks, the shift from managing branches - where the average branch (with the exception of the major metropolitans) is a fairly small team, to managing large ‘production’ units with an array of specialised and often repetitive jobs, was quite a challenge. Managers were appointed, teams were formed, the new structure became established and key performance indicators were put in place.

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Impact of management style on change management and staff development

Diagnostic Tool Life Styles Inventory™

The Challenge

The public sector has experienced many reforms to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the services it provides. Significantly, competitive tendering has driven much of this change. Challenged by the need to match and compete with the private sector (driven primarily by the Hilmer reforms) many government agencies have had to make fundamental changes to the way they operate.

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The relationship between management practices and employee behaviours

Diagnostic Tool Life Styles Inventory™

Introduction

This case study emerges from a project involving the post acquisition merger/integration of customer service and sales operations in a large ‘retail’ type business. In particular, this data comes from the Call Centre environment within these two organisations, and is typical of experiences in most other parts of the two businesses.

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Leadership development in the finance sector

Diagnostic Tool Life Styles Inventory™

The Challenge

The commercial property bust of the 1990s sent shock waves through many industries and, in particular, the finance industry. One of its victims is the focus of this case study. The following outlines the interventions taken by one of Australia’s oldest finance companies to "turn around" its worst financial result in its history. The measures taken by this organisation to pull itself back from the brink of financial disaster to being today in a solid financial position posting record profits are presented. This case study will particularly focus on the behavioural interventions taken to renew this organisation’s culture especially the use of the Life Styles Inventory in leadership development.

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Olympic gold - Achievement or Competitive?

Diagnostic Tool Life Styles Inventory™

Australian Olympic gold medallist swimmer John Konrads believes the difference between a gold and bronze medal is all in the way you think. Rome Olympics 1960.

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Yarra Valley Water enters the Blue Zone

Diagnostic Tools Organisational Culture Inventory® and Life Styles Inventory™

Yarra Valley Water is a shining example of how companies can become more efficient, provide better customer service and enable staff to enjoy their work and achieve a better work-life balance.

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Leadership Development in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods Sector

Diagnostic Tool Life Styles Inventory™

The subject of this case study is a highly respected United States-based multi-national company in the non-food segment of the FMCG industry. This company had been operating in Korea for 30 years, starting as a small representative sales office but transitioning into a medium-sized stand-alone subsidiary via organic growth and acquisition. Following the departure of the local general manager soon after the Asian economic crisis in 1997, a succession of unsuccessful expatriate general managers had left the company in somewhat of a crisis – poor business results, low employee morale and almost non-existent processes driving up employee turnover. Starting in 2005 the company used Human Synergistics’ LSI 1 & 2 to support the recently appointed general manager assess his leadership behaviors and their impact on his employees.

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How Organisations Work: Improving Customer Service by Changing Culture

Diagnostic Tools Organisational Culture Inventory® and Customer Service Styles Survey

Similar to countries and the geographic regions within them, organizations and their units (e.g. departments, branches, offices) each have their own cultures—a combination of assumptions, values, norms, and customs that implicitly define the behaviours that are desirable and expected versus unacceptable and controversial within a particular environment. Regardless of whether members personally agree with these implicit "rules" of conduct, abiding by them can make it easier to survive—and to some extent succeed—in a given work environment. However, culture not only impacts the members within an organization or unit; it also affects the people outside of it—including the organization’s or unit’s customers and clients. Thus, by understanding and improving its culture, an organization or unit can improve its relations with both employees and customers.

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Developing a Natural Leadership

Diagnostic Tool Life Styles Inventory™

The Challenge

In 2004, Commonwealth Bank committed to investing in a sustainable leadership capability and development programme. This case study relates to the experience of one bank that made a decision to view leadership in a different way and enable staff to develop their own natural Leadership style. Whilst exceptional customer service was the "end in sight," creating a common understanding of the leaders.

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Research Results

Case Studies

1 Linking managerial behaviours to sales performance

Management Behaviour

Using client data where store managers with one of Australia’s leading retailers had experienced the Human Synergistics' Life Styles Inventory (LSI) feedback on two occasions, the researchers (Deakin University) examined the relationship between individual store managers’ improvements in management styles/behaviours and improvements in store performance. The results showed that where individual managers developed more constructive management styles, this was reflected in increased store sales, reduced stock shrinkage and reduced staff turnover. In an economic analysis of ROI, their data showed a 980% return from the training programme.

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2 Impact of organisational culture on profit performance

Organisational Culture

Based on actual client data, this study examined the relationship between culture at the individual store level and shrink rate, a major driver of profitability in the retail business. The cost of shrink – product unaccounted for (usually stolen) – comes straight off the profit line and is a major concern in any retail business. It is a real measure of how effectively the business is being managed. This study showed a clear relationship – comparing equivalent stores, with up to 300% variance on shrink rate – those stores with the more constructive cultures had significantly lower shrink rates than those stores with more defensive cultures.

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3 Impact of organisational culture on sales performance

Organisational Culture

This study examined the relationship between store culture and sales performance in the retail industry. Using the Human Synergistics' Organisational Culture Inventory (OCI) and measuring various performance outcomes, this independent researcher devised a particularly robust model. The significant result was the relationship between culture and performance improvement. Whilst culture was not related to sales volume, it was related to sales growth. Culture was also found to be related to several important attitude factors, including propensity to work hard, teamwork, satisfaction and internal assessment of customer service.

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4 Impact of managerial behaviours on risk management

Management Behaviour

This study examined the impact of how managers deal with rules and regulations on measurable business outcomes. In the banking industry, compliance regulations at the branch level are essential, but how the manager enforces these – either emphasising the rules and strict compliance or emphasising initiative and thinking about the meaning of the rules – seems to make a difference. This study showed that those managers who managed through the Achievement Style and created a culture of ‘thinking’ outperformed (in terms of risk management and profitability) those who managed through the Conventional Style and encouraged a culture of conformity.

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5 Impact of organisational culture on product quality

Organisational Culture

This study examined the relationship between organisational culture and product quality in the manufacturing industry. Using the Human Synergistics' Organisational Culture Inventory (OCI) and measuring quality outcomes such as warranty claims cost and defect rates, the researcher found significant relationships between culture and quality at the individual business level. Those organisations with the more constructive cultures reported significantly more effective quality outcomes whilst those with more defensive cultures reported less effective quality outcomes.

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6 Building commitment through organisational culture

Organisational Culture

Today, talent management is the key imperative, making employee commitment more important than ever. Commitment takes many forms however and it is essential that organisational strategies retain the right people for the right reasons. This study examined the relationship between organisational culture and the various forms of commitment. The results showed that organisations with constructive cultures encouraged commitment where people stay because they want to, and those organisations with more defensive cultures encouraged people to stay because they functioned within a ‘comfort zone’.

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7 Impact of organisational culture on newspaper readership

Organisational Culture

Declining readership numbers raised important questions about how to grow and develop the newspaper industry. Human Synergistics’ Organisational Culture Inventory (OCI) and Organisational Effectiveness Inventory (OEI) were commissioned as part of a nationwide Readership Institute study to create a high performance culture. A large representative sample from the US newspaper industry was surveyed to inform their business practice.

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8 Impact of organisational culture on organisational effectiveness - the fast food industry

Organisational Culture

Is there a link between organisational culture and organisational effectiveness as measured by the Organisational Culture Inventory? Does organisational culture impact upon financial performance and staff satisfaction? Based on actual research results, this study demonstrates the link between organisational culture (as measured by the OCI) and effectiveness on the two key indicators of EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest and Tax) and staff turnover. It suggests that stores can function successfully without supporting constructive culture styles, but with the support of constructive styles they are likely to increase the probability of success.

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