A large organization typically employs managers and other professionals whose job it is to be concerned with the quality of the work climate. They use different strategies to ensure that employees enjoy working for the organization. When management wants to gauge how employees feel about the work climate, or organizational culture, they might conduct an employee survey or hire an outside party to conduct a culture index.

What a Culture Index Indicates

A culture index offers a snapshot of how employees feel about working in their organization, including opinions, feelings and attitudes about different aspects of their jobs. These can be measured -- whether good, bad or neutral -- through a culture index. The index also offers a measure that can be compared with other organizations. An index might suggest that something is wrong with the structure of the organization, such as a lack of flexibility that prevents it from changing.

Potential Uses

A company's leaders can use information from a culture index to identify problems with the organizational culture. They can then use a problem solving method to identify the sources of those problems and select appropriate strategies for improving the organization. However, if leaders use the wrong information about what employees find problematic in the organization, such as results from an unreliable employee survey, they will be less likely to choose the right improvement strategies.

Assessing Leadership

A culture index is usually the creation of a private consulting group or assessment firm. The owner of the culture index markets its methodology to different organizations, whose leaders will then hire the owner to apply the culture index to their company. When finished, the results of the culture index can be presented to decision-makers. For example, a board of directors might use a culture index to determine how well the management team is doing at leading an effective organization.

Vetting Firms

The owner of a culture index might claim that its methodology is based on research. If a private corporation, nonprofit or public agency hires a firm to apply its culture index, its leaders should investigate these research claims. For example, they can ask for examples of other organizations that have successfully used the culture index. They can then contact leaders of those organizations as references and inquire about how it worked for them.