The Validity of the CVF and OCAI

The Competing Values Framework (CVF) and the Organization Cultural Assessment Instrument (OCAI) have been successfully used worldwide in thousands of organizations to understand culture and navigate cultural change. (Cameron, 2011) The central point has been the correlation between organizational effectiveness and the ability to satisfy multiple performance criteria lined out in the four value sets of the CVF. (Cameron, 2011) The combination of the CVF and the OCAI has equipped organizational leaders with the ability to understand what seems to be elusive and vague. Organizations may desire a particular kind of culture but lack the ability to conceptualize culture in tangible ways in order to create a strategy of change. (Schein, 2010; Cameron, 2011) The CVF and OCAI make this possible.

The empirical studies conducted on the CVF and OCAI over the last thirty years (Quinn and Rohrbaugh, 1983) have shown sound psychometric properties as a culture measure. (Howard, 1998) The benefits have included organizational and managerial communication, (Dastmalchian, 2000) group decision-making, (Reagan, 1990) corporate ethical codes, (Stevens, 1996) and a myriad of other areas of application in organizational culture.

Despite the extensive use of the CVF and OCAI, and the mountains of data that show the effectiveness and benefits of their use, it is not a crystal ball that reveals all there is to know about culture. As Edward Hall states, “Culture hides more than it reveals.” Though this may be true, the scientific evidence from the studies done on the effectiveness of the CVF and OCAI seem to indicate that, though they will not give a perfect and exhaustive perspective on an organization’s given culture, it reveals more than most organizational leaders can see without them. Culture may always be elusive, but with these tools, it can at least be tracked down and understood.



Cameron, K. S., & Quinn, R. E. (2011). Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture: Based on the Competing Values Framework (3 edition). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Dastmalchian, A., Lee, S., & Ng, I. (2000). The interplay between organizational and national cultures: a comparison of organizational practices in Canada and South Korea using the Competing Values Framework. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 11(2), 388–412.

Larry W. Howard. (1998). Validating the competing values model as a representation of organizational cultures. The International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 6(3), 231–250.

Quinn, R. E., & Rohrbaugh, J. (1983). A Spatial Model of Effectiveness Criteria: Towards a Competing Values Approach to Organizational Analysis. Management Science, 29(3), 363–377.

Reagan, P., & Rohrbaugh, J. (1990). Group Decision Process Effectiveness A Competing Values Approach. Group & Organization Management, 15(1), 20–43.

Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Stevens, B. (1996). Using the Competing Values Framework to Assess Corporate Ethical Codes. Journal of Business Communication, 33(1), 71–84.


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