The assessment of organisational culture at the Sydney Institute of Technology

Year: 1996

Author: Frew, Bob

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Culture is an important characteristic of an organisation as it consists of the values, beliefs and social ideals of staff, and can be either an asset or a liability. As an asset it can generate high levels of cooperation because of the shared beliefs and values, but a liability when these do not align with the needs of an organisation.

The organisational culture of the Sydney Institute of Technology is currently being evaluated as the Institute's needs have changed due to the changed environment in which it operates, and because a quality management program that is being implemented.

This paper outlines a research project in evaluating the organisational culture of the Sydney Institute of Technology. This institute, which enrols approximately 55,000 students, employs approximately 2,000 staff, and expends a recurrent budget of $155 million, has been undergoing restructuring since 1992, and must now position itself as a model of best practice in providing quality vocational education and training.

The paper discusses results obtained from the administration of two survey instruments at the Sydney Institute of Technology. The first of these focussed on models of organisational culture, such as clan, adhocracy, market and hierarchy, developed by the National Centre for Higher Education Management Systems in the United States of America. The second uses the work of Grady (1995) and asked the respondents to describe their perceptions of the Sydney Institute of Technology metaphorically.

Responses from the two survey instruments are then related to a Teaching/Learning Index developed at Sydney Institute of Technology as a measure of customer satisfaction. The paper concludes by previewing some of the implications of the research.