A report on cultural audit of Mott Macdonald Group Limited

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A report on cultural audit of

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Presented by:

Presented to:



1.Organizational culture defined

1.1.Cultural Audit and its importance

2.Methodology for cultural Audit


3.1.Weak understanding of organizational strategic objectives

3.2.Evaluations not used at policy making level




6.1.Vision & Mission

6.2.Strategic planning & evaluation

6.3.Community participation


6.5.Financial planning, Monitoring & reporting



6.8.Human resources

1. Organizational culture defined

Organizational culture plays a vital role in shaping behavior in organizations, there is slight accord on what organizational culture actually is, never mind how it affects behavior and whether it is something leaders can change. Without realizing a proper definition for organizational culture, links to other elements of business with organizational culture cannot be understood.

There is no unambiguous covenant on the definition of organizational culture but it is commonly interpreted as “the way we do things around here” (Lilley, 2014). Professor Gerry Johnson, author of the cultural web, refers to organizational culture as “the taken for-granted assumptions and behaviors that make sense of people’s organizational context and therefore contributes to how groups of people respond and behave in relation to issues they face”. He goes on to say that, as a result, culture has important influences on the development and change of organizational strategy. In other words, culture binds strategy to outcomes

British anthropologist Edward Tyler (Tharp, 2012) is widely credited with the first (1871) “modern” definition of culture: “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.

Similarly, in May 1, 2013, Michael Watkins (Watkins, 2013), Co-founder of Genesis advisers, started a discussion on LinkedIn raising a question to define organizational culture. More than 300 responses were received including varied perspective and opinions on organizational culture. After reviewing the responses, Watkins concluded that organizational cultures are dynamic. They shift, incrementally and constantly, in response to external and internal changes. So, trying to assess organizational culture is complicated by the reality that you are trying to hit a moving target. But it also opens the possibility that culture change can be managed as a continuous process rather than through big shifts (often in response to crises).

Finally, a definition by Edgar Schein (Tharp, 2013) of MIT’s Sloan School of Management though general but seems appropriate that organizational culture is “a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems

1.1. Cultural Audit and its importance

Cultural audit can be explained as independent examination of overall values and beliefs on which an organization is operating. A culture audit helps determine the culture that currently exists within a company. An effective workplace culture audit determines the overall working environment, identifies the unwritten norms and rules governing employee interactions and workplace practices, highlights possible barriers to effective work practices and communication and makes recommendations for addressing problems identified. Not only willit help retain top performers, it provides a blueprint of what attributes to look for in applicants.

Culture Audit has become important after recent scandals in different corporate sector companies. On June 2014, Chartered institute of internal auditors published a report “Culture and role of internal audit”, in the executive summary of the report, Roy Lilley, health writer and commentator mentioned the organizational culture as matter of public concern. He mentioned the poor organizational culture as the root cause of scandals in health, financial and food sectors among others which have been at a great cost to individuals, organizations and countries as well. He stressed that Board and internal audit would need to focus on the risks that culture presents.

2. Methodology for cultural Audit

The supreme method for conducting a culture audit is the peeling of an executive team and organizational development researcher. This model was presented by Mark R. Testa and Lori J. Sipe from San Diego State University, San Diego, USA in their article published in open journal of leadership (Testa, 2013). The uniqueness of the proposed model is the ability to link theory and practice in a very experiential way. While the executive team can engage in much of the data collection, the researcher can guide their efforts, minimize bias and ensure the generated results are valid. A five-step model was developed for implementation of the culture audit with this executive team-researcher tandem in mind. These steps include:

  • Identification of the organization’s vision, mission, values, and strategic goals;
  • A brief narrative on the desired culture;
  • Selection of the audit team;
  • Data collection;
  • Interpretation and reporting

Questionnaire was used for understanding the culture of MottMacdonald group. Questions were prepared as per the guidelines provided by the Mass cultural council (Council, 2012) for assessment of organizational culture. Following major cultural areas of MottMacdonald were identified and reviewed as part of cultural audit.

  • Mission and vision
  • Strategic planning & evaluation
  • Community participation
  • Public relations
  • Marketing
  • Financial planning, monitoring and reporting
  • Governance
  • Management
  • Human Resources

3. Findings

Based on the results of survey, few shortfalls were observed in organizational culture of MottMacdonald Group Limited. However, these observations are not of the serious nature which can adversely affect the image and goodwill of the group but these needs to be considered carefully by the management of MottMacdonald group. Detailed survey questionnaire along with aggregate responses have been given in appendices 6.1 to 6.8 below. The observations which need management attention are as below;

3.1. Weak understanding of organizational strategic objectives

Although, the staff at higher level positions was well aware of the organizational objectives and goals, but our survey revealed that these goals and objectives were not clearly communicated to staff at lower level, resultantly, input taken by these staff in setting strategic objective would not be much beneficial for both the employees and MottMacdonald group.

3.2. Evaluations not used at policy making level

It was observed that evaluations for effective planning have been conducted by the MottMacdonald group but these were not used when making policies. A review of few policies of the group and results of the survey conducted by the cultural audit team revealed the fact that evaluation results were not used in policy and strategy making.

4. Conclusion

Based on the results of survey and review of policies and financial statements of MottMacdonald group limited, the overall organizational culture of the group is rated as “GOOD with Risk level at LOW”

However, the management needs to clearly review the results of the survey conducted by cultural audit team in order to input the responses of employees to be used for strategy making and planning purposes.

5. Recommendation

Cultural audit team recommend the management to review the training policies and a clear system of communication should be introduced in such a way that employees at lowest level should understand the objective and goals of the group. Employees at each level of hierarchy are important for the organization and they are the primary brand ambassador of the group therefore, they must clearly be known the goals and objectives of the group.

6. Appendices

6.1. Vision & Mission


Strongly agree



Strongly disagree

Mission statement is clear, concise and best shows the reason for existence of MottMacdonald

Vision statement is so persuasive that it clearly depicts the dreams of MottMacdonald yet to be accomplished

A proper system is in place to track accomplishments with respect to mission and vision

All the staff including top management are very clear about mission and vision of MottMacdonald

Directors and Board members are well able to express mission and vision of the group

6.2. Strategic planning & evaluation


Strongly agree



Strongly disagree

A well-defined strategic plan tied to mission and vision is in place

A formal strategic plan is being prepared after regular intervals involving both board and staff

A formal system of review is in place for strategic plan is in place to cope the changing circumstances

Strategic goals and objectives are set in a way that they are achievable and measurable with time frames

A SWOT analysis is being regularly conducted to consider the existing position of MottMacdonald

It is ensured that short term operational plans are linked with strategic plan and objectives and MottMacdonald

Strategic goals and objectives are understood throughout the organization.

A system of regular evaluation is in place for every operation and program

Evaluations are being used in every stage and type of planning

A system consisting of appropriate quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques like observation, interviews, written surveys, focus group etc., is in place to measure impact of programs

6.3. Community participation


Strongly agree



Strongly disagree

MottMacdonalds clearly understands the impact of different stakeholders’ perceptions and experiences along with any barriers they encounter and this is used for planning purposes

Strategies are in place to motivate current participants’ to increase the level of involvement and opportunities are provided to take more involved role in the MottMacdonald

Motivating strategies and plans exists to attract further people to participate in strategy making

Strategies are made to reach perspective audience including multi-cultural audiences, young blood and elders

Potential and prospective target audience have been identifies keeping in view the current resources and other limitations

Resources have been prioritized based on needs and diversity of audience

It is clear and understood commitment to include all level of audience in the community

MottMacdonald is having a strategy to form partnership at all levels to increase participation in its programs

Surveys, focus groups and interviews and other evaluation tools are being used to get input from target community

A plan is in place to cope with all the barriers including cultural, economic, opportunity and tome constraints and to remove the barriers for target audiences

Changing demographics and focus needs of audiences are being considered regularly and strategy makers are well informed about the changing needs

6.4. Marketing


Strongly agree



Strongly disagree

A well drafted and written annual marketing plan is in place which has been made in consultation with other departments

A database has been maintained to track ex-clients , prospective clients and patterns of customer buying

Actual sales are being monitored and compared with the marketing events and trends

Database of mailing and contact list is updated regularly

MottMacdonald is well aware of its current strategic position in the market and position and trends of entire market

Marketing materials are well drafted, well designed and target oriented to specific target audience

Marketing materials are produced for specific audience keeping in view their cultural norms

Web site and electronic mailing lists are effectively used as marketing tools

A suitable amount has been budgeted for marketing

Marketing department is well staffed and appropriate mix of qualified and experienced staff is in posted in it

Marketing staff is motivated and a clear coordination and good working relationships exist within them

Short and long term income goals are being set and monitored regularly and progress towards achievement is being measured continuously

Specific needs of target audiences are being targeted to get match of needs with the services

6.5. Financial planning, Monitoring & reporting


Strongly agree



Strongly disagree

Appropriate accounting policies as per the generally accepted accounting principles are being used while reporting

Financial statements including Statement of financial position and income statement are regularly prepared

Annual operating budget is prepared including all expected revenues and expected expenses aligned with the strategies

Appropriate accounting software is used for bookkeeping and financial reporting

Periodic review of income and expenses is being conducted in the form of monthly or quarterly financial statements and mid-course adjustments

Cash flows position is being monitored and maintained aligned with the projection of cash

All cash accounts are reconciled monthly.

Accounts receivable are being monitored and a system of effective and timely recovery is in place

Authority wise financial limits have been assigned at each and every level and signatories are clear about their limits

Internal controls and compliance policies are well drafted and documented and communicated at each and every level

Inventory management system is well equipped to cope with the threat of theft and misuse of inventory

Applicable laws and regulations are being adhered when preparing payroll of employees

Employees are employed keeping in view all the relevant laws and governing principles and record keeping is maintained as per the local and international record keeping guidelines

All the statutory requirements of filing of statutory returns, deduction from wages and all applicable taxes are being adhered as per the applicable law

Financial statements are being prepared by certified and qualified professional accountants and are being reviewed by an independent auditor subject to the requirements of local law

Org. reviews capital needs and establishes capital priorities annually at least

Appropriate insurance coverage is available for all the possible risks and other controls are available for mitigation of those risks

6.6. Governance


Strongly agree



Strongly disagree

Roles of board and executive directors are clearly defined and executive directors are being delegated the overall management and supervision of the company

Local applicable laws and principles are being adhered in conducting board and shareholders meeting along with duration of director’s offices and elections, re-election, termination and resignation

Board has formed committees and sub-committees with clearly defined responsibilities and authorities

Newly joining board member are given a thorough orientation regarding operations, organization and responsibilities of the directors

Attendance rules for board meeting as adheres as per the applicable regulations

Appropriate skills and qualification exists within the Board

Nominations in the board should ensure appropriate mix and diversity in form of culture, gender, qualification and ethnicity

Board is well aware of community and changing needs of the targeted community.

Board members attend organization’s programs and events

Board members use their other professional links to drive business towards MottMacdonald

Board have appropriate knowledge of industry in which MottMacdonald operates

Board sets the targets and goals for executive directors and management team and assist them to achieve that goals

All board members give a meaningful financial contribution to the organization annually

6.7. Management


Strongly agree



Strongly disagree

Attainable and achievable competitive goals are being set for the managers

Staff is being provided with continuous support and training by the managers

Appropriate level of managerial skills exist for the managers and trainings are imparted to them as part of job

Business is conducted by the managers in clear and concise matter

Managers work well as a team

High level management works in such a way that they have become a role model for their subordinates

High achiever staff is being awarded by the management and poor performance are well addressed by the managers

A proper communication and effective coordination exists between the staff

6.8. Human resources


Strongly agree



Strongly disagree

Polices have been formulated for recruitment of employees and all processes are well defined for the recruitment of best talent

Hiring process is designed in such a way that it attracts the major portions of the community

Human resources are managed by the well qualified individuals who are clear about their responsibilities

Human resources policy is in place which covers all the aspects of human resources in best suitable manner

Best suitable training plan is in place for staff and volunteers as well

Staff is clearly aware of what benefits and allowances are available to them

Clear job descriptions of every staff member is available, updated and communicated to relevant staff and volunteer

Reporting lines are clear and defined and each employee is well aware of his reporting senior

Employee performances are being reviewed and documented after periodic intervals and at least annually

Compensation to employees are being paid in accordance with the applicable regulations and benefits are paid as per the law

Local laws about minimum compensation are being adhered in the payments of all staff

Volunteers are being highly appreciated and be appreciated in a respectful manner for their commitments

Employees are being highly appreciated and considered in succession planning for higher level positions