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High Quality Analysis
  • Many firms collect “ethnographic” data (a combination of interviewing and observation) but do not necessarily know how to analyze it.

  • One of CulturalKeys’ areas of expertise is making sense of conversations, meeting notes, and survey comments.

  • We use content analysis to understand what is going on culturally.

  • Here is a portion of an interview with an engineer who works at two different work sites where automotive products are tested.


Note how the characteristics of the two sites can be captured.

Q: Can you describe a typical day for you at the Northern Proving Ground?
A: You get bogged down with logistics. It’s as simple as that. Your day is dictated by management urgencies. Fifty percent of your week is unplanned work. You get pulled by your boss…
Q: But why are you getting all these pulls?
A: Because they get all these directives from above.
Q: Does this pattern appear at the Southern Proving Ground?
A: It’s the same pattern but there’s more intensity at Northern. When you go to Southern, you have parts you are evaluating, and you know you are being evaluated for your productivity, so you don't have to go to meetings and that's about eight hours a week.
Q: Do you have any meetings at Southern?
A: No, not many meetings…At Southern you are a development engineer and only a development engineer. The gobbledygook is gone….


See what the coding reveals about the two sites.

Northern Proving Ground

  • Bogged down with logistics

  • Dictated by management urgencies

  • Unplanned work

  • Get pulled by your boss [who] get[s] directives from above

  • More intensity compared to Southern

    • Work is continually interrupted

    • Time and priorities continually shift


Southern Proving Ground

  • Evaluated for your productivity

  • Don’t have to go to meetings

  • You are only a development engineer

  • Gobbledygook is gone

    • Time and focus are directed to development work

    • Minimal interference


An analogy is helpful in capturing differences between the two sites.

Northern Proving Ground is like an Emergency Room

  • Unplanned event for most patients

  • Prioritization of patients based on severity of problem

  • Time-consuming experience

  • Typically unpredictable and fragmented process

  • Often a poor match for patients’ health care needs

  • Relatively high cost in resources


Southern Proving Ground is like a Doctor’s Office

  • Scheduled event with blocked time for emergencies

  • Prioritization of patients based on advance schedule

  • Reasonably time efficient

  • Relatively orderly, smooth, and focused process

  • Often a good match for patients’ health care needs

  • Relatively low cost in resources


The analogy can also be used to develop actionable recommendations.

Create New Rules for Northern Proving Ground

  • First-scheduled, first-served for most work

  • Blocked out time and resources for emergency work

  • If property and parts or engineer and technician are not available, program is billed for rescheduled work

  • Engineer, technicians, and support staff remain on-site while development work proceeds

  • Pre-planned tasks receive full and uninterrupted attention (e.g., by engineer, technicians, support staff)

  • Work output is timely with options for additional development


Use "Doctor’s Office" Rules for Southern Proving Ground

  • First-scheduled, first-served for most problems

  • Blocked out time and resources for urgent problems

  • "Patient" is charged for missed appointments and rescheduled for “next-available” appointment

  • "Doctor and staff" remain on-site until patients have been seen

  • Comprehensive and sequential focus on patient (e.g., exam, testing, diagnosis, treatment, evaluation)

  • Outcomes are reported with options for additional investigation

Change Management​​

Implementing organizational and cultural change is always challenging.

CulturalKeys uses three types of interventions to jumpstart the change process:

  • Designing and delivering problem-solving workshops to organizational leaders

  • Guiding the work of small, empowered, problem-solving teams using measures such as the Work Group Effectiveness Metrics

  • Developing practical tools to assist with change such as:

    • Learning to Ask Collaborative Questions

    • Coping Effectively with Cultural “Hot Spots”

    • Explore Plant Culture Game


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