Instruments for Exploring Organizational Culture: A Review of the Literature


Tobias Jung is a research fellow in the Economic and Social Research Council's Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School, London, and an honorary research fellow at the University of Edinburgh Business School. He sits on the board of the International Research Society for Public Management and is currently researching philanthropy and institutional giving structures in the United Kingdom. His other research interests include evidence-based policy and practice, and public services management and reform.

Tim Scott is a senior lecturer in organization at the University of St. Andrews School of Management. His publications include articles on a range of topics, including improving communication with people with cancer and heart disease, organizational culture, health information technology, and ethnography. He has published books on health care performance and organizational culture, and on implementing new information technology in Kaiser Permanente. His current book, advocating a poststructural revision of organization studies, is forthcoming.

Huw T. O. Davies is a professor of health care policy and management at the University of St. Andrews School of Management. His research interests include public service delivery encompassing evidence-based policy and practice, performance measurement and management, accountability, governance and trust. He also has a particular interest in the role of organizational culture and organizational learning in the delivery of high quality services, and in developing greater understanding of the working relationships between service professionals and service managers.

Peter Bower is a reader working in the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre at the University of Manchester. His background is in psychology and health services research, and he has specifi c expertise in the application of systematic review methods and psychometrics. He has an interest in the impact of culture on the delivery of high-quality primary health care.

Diane Whalley is a research fellow in the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre at the University of Manchester. Her main areas of interest include the psychological aspects of recruitment and retention in the primary care workforce, and the design and psychometric evaluation of measurement tools in health care.

Rosalind McNally is the library and information services manager for the University of Manchester's National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, where she works as a member of the Communications Unit, and leads a small team of staff who provide information management support to the unit's program of research, capacity building, and dissemination. She is a chartered librarian and holds a master's degree in library and information science from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Russell Mannion is the director of the Centre for Health and Public Services Management and a senior lecturer in health policy and management at the York Management School, University of York. He has a particular interest in interdisciplinary work, and his research interests encompass health service organization, management and delivery, performance measurement and management in the public sector, international health policy reform, and the role of social capital, clinical networks, and organizational culture in health care productivity.


Organizational culture is widely considered to be one of the most significant factors in reforming and modernizing public administration and service delivery. This article documents the findings of a literature review of existing qualitative and quantitative instruments for the exploration of organizational culture. Seventy instruments are identified, of which 48 could be submitted to psychometric assessment. The majority of these are at a preliminary stage of development. The study's conclusion is that there is no ideal instrument for cultural exploration. The degree to which any measure is seen as “fit for purpose” depends on the particular reason for which it is to be used and the context within which it is to be applied.