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Denison Organizational Culture Surveys (DOCS): An Overview

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Culture is the backbone of any organization. It influences the behavior and mindset of employees, their motivation levels, and ultimately, the success of the organization. To assess and improve culture, companies often turn to culture surveys. Denison Consulting offers culture surveys to businesses looking to assess their current culture and make data-driven decisions to improve it.

What is Denison?

Denison Consulting is a company that specializes in culture surveys and has been helping organizations improve their culture since 1998 when Daniel Denison founded the firm. They use a unique approach that combines quantitative data analysis with qualitative insights from interviews and focus groups. The suite of Denison Organization Culture Surveys focuses on twelve overall core dimensions of culture.

These themes are organized into a framework called "The Denison Model" that they've developed and refined over 30 years of research and experience working with organizations across industries.

The Denison Model of Organizational Culture
Source: Denison

What is DOCS and how does it work?

Denison’s culture survey provides companies with a data-driven approach to assess their current culture and identify areas for improvement. The survey results provide a numeric score into four overarching themes.

The company’s culture survey assesses four core areas of culture: Mission, Adaptability, Involvement, and Consistency (MAIC). These areas are further broken down into 12 dimensions that provide a comprehensive view of the organization’s culture.

The results show a color-coded chart with darker areas showing more depth than lighter areas. The visual map of the colors should help managers more quickly understand the snapshot of the employee's results.

The benefits of using Denison’s culture survey include improved employee engagement, increased productivity, better communication, and more effective leadership. Involve employees in the survey process to ensure buy-in and engagement in the improvement process.

the Denison model relies on shading to indicate areas of deep strenth
Source: Denison

Cost & length

The cost and duration of Denison’s culture survey depend on the size of the organization and how many teams you'd like to evaluate. You must contact them for a demo and a quote. The survey typically takes around 4-6 weeks to complete, which includes data collection, analysis, and reporting. The website doesn't say how long the quiz itself takes.

What are common praises and complaints?

Companies that have used Denison’s culture survey have praised its data-driven approach and the actionable insights it provides. The survey results have helped businesses create a roadmap for improving their culture and have led to measurable improvements in employee engagement and productivity. However, some clients have criticized the cost of the survey, which may be high for small businesses.

Is it right for your organization?

A culture survey can benefit any organization that wants to improve its culture, regardless of size or industry. Whether it's right for you depends on your budget and your intention of how to use the results.

Denison’s culture survey is particularly useful for companies that want a granular view of their culture and actionable insights for improvement. Do you have the resources to implement changes based on the survey results?

While the cost may be a barrier for some businesses, the benefits of improved employee engagement and productivity might be worth the investment. Before deciding to use Denison’s culture survey, compare all of your culture survey options and involve employees in the survey process to ensure a successful improvement journey.

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