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Research Methods Team helps non-profit assess organizational culture

03.16.2015 | By: Ann Davis
MBA students at Texas Wesleyan use research, critical thinking and analytical reasoning to make an impact on a Tarrant County non-profit, One Safe Place.

In October of 2014, One Safe Place moved to a new building that, for the first time, brought the members of the administration, advocacy and law enforcement departments under one roof.

In the fall of 2014, MBA students at Texas Wesleyan put their knowledge and critical thinking skills to work by helping One Safe Place, a non-profit organization in Fort Worth, conduct an organization assessment.

One Safe Place serves those throughout Tarrant County who are affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse. The organization's goal is to align their employees with a single, unified culture — one that previous Texas Wesleyan students helped define.

Putting organizational culture in focus

In 2012, Rod Erakovich, Ph.D., management professor for Texas Wesleyan's MBA and undergraduate programs, helped One Safe Place conduct an initial organizational culture assessment with the intent of successfully aligning all employees and internal processes to a single preferred culture. From the results of the study, One Safe Place defined the organization's values.

In October of 2014, One Safe Place transitioned to a new building that brought the members of the administration, advocacy and law enforcement departments together for the first time. The move made One Safe Place the nation's first organization of its kind to consolidate all resources under the same roof.

With the move, the timing was right to begin aligning all employees and processes to a single, unified culture. To do so, data from a current survey would be required.

Research findings reveal opportunities

In order to compare the results with the first assessment, the same survey was used. However, the Texas Wesleyan student team took the opportunity to add demographic data that would help identify the department to which the respondents belong, how long they have been with One Safe Place and whether they participated in the first survey.

Michelle Morgan, One Safe Place director, coordinated the confidential survey, and the student team organized and analyzed the results and provided a written discussion of the findings.

Graphs illustrated how employees perceived the current culture vs. the desired culture. The team inferred that while each department may be performing effectively, they were not yet accustomed to working together as one team.

Leading with critical thinking, analytical reasoning

The team concluded that by communicating common goals and objectives with an organizational approach instead of on a departmental level, departments could better understand their role as an organization.

This better understanding can help the departments merge into one culturally uniform organization within One Safe Place.

One Safe Place intends to leverage the strengths and address the weaknesses identified in the research in order to develop a cultural transition initiative. A culture aligned with strategy will help One Safe Place achieve its goal of effectively providing most of the services that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault need in one location.

The Texas Wesleyan MBA students learned the difficulties involved in properly designing and administering a survey to participants in various departments. In preparation, the team also learned a great deal about organizational culture and how research is vital to developing an effective plan of action.

Texas Wesleyan team members include:

  • Audrey-Sophie Nacass
  • Becca Hebron
  • Chuck Burton
  • Dayon Harris
  • Diana Suescun

Sponsor: Rod Erakovich, Ph.D., Research Methods, BUA 6306, Fall 2014

Client: Michelle Morgan, director, One Safe Place

— Chuck Burton, MBA '14

Read more about One Safe Place in the February 2015 issue of Fort Worth, Texas magazine.

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