Thursday, September 29, 2022

AssessmentWorld Pty Ltd Catalogue 2023

We are proud to publish our catalogue for 2023.  Download the full catalogue here.  Visit our website, for further information, as well as to access our social media.

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Intra-systemic Human Capital Measurement Model

AssessmentWorld Pty Ltd suggests an alternative approach to human capital measurement and reporting (read the full article at: ).  This approach is built on a philosophy of measuring for the sake of managing, versus measuring for the sake of reporting.  This means that the focus of the measurements is to internally improve on the employment of human capital over time, and to track and measure said.  This approach differs fundamentally from one where measuring is done against the myriad of metrics that exist, with the view to comply with external indicators, standards and disclosures.  Human capital measurement is a highly fragmented area of management practice, and we posit that the current reporting in integrated statements, reflects the same condition.

AssessmentWorld Pty Ltd also of the view that efforts to standardise HC measurement, for the sake of ‘coherent’ reporting and comparability, will be an exercise in futility, as, for one, organisations differ substantially in the way they operate in a specific time span.  A quantitative example would be the differences between organisations on a metric such as labour costs as a percentage of revenue (LCPR).  Company A might reflect a LCPR of 50%, and an EBITA of 12%, versus Company B, reflecting a LCPR of 20%, and an EBITA of 3%.  Clearly the LCPR metric in this example could be interpreted incorrectly, if simply read on its own.

A qualitative measurement example would be the differences between companies on a metric such as a Staff Satisfaction Index (SSI), using a Likert scale.  Company A might score a Sten 8 on an SSI instrument, indicating a high SSI, versus Company B, scoring a 6, i.e. average SSI.  Deeper understanding of the workings of the two companies during the reporting period, reveals that Company B changed executive leadership, and was driving an aggressive growth strategy, demanding greater levels of input and quality from employees.  The mere Sten score on the SSI does not explain the more complex and stressful interactions in Company B during that period, versus Company A, which, during the same period, was experiencing exponential market growth, offering its employees expansive bonuses.

AssessmentWorld Pty Ltd suggests an Intra-systemic HC Measurement Model for the use of HC measurements in organisations:

HC measurement and management should be based on ethical principles, such as fairness, honesty, loyalty, care, accountability, and responsibility.  

Based on ethics and organisational justice, managers should execute HC measurement and management, discretionary, whilst ensuring system integrity.  

Discretionary system integrity, now enables managers to create privacy, dignity, safety and protection, both physically and psychologically for the organisation’s human capital. It also enables management to self-direct human capital autonomously and strategically, and to self-correct, where indicated by measures.  

It then follows that managers have the autonomy to measure, analyse, improve and manage human capital from a quality management perspective, i.e. deriving the highest levels of returns on human capital, be it quantitatively or qualitatively measured.

Measurement, analysis, improvement and management of human capital, as described above, is a continuous process, therefore, when integrated reporting for stakeholders is done, it should report on this process via uncomplicated, concise and informative narratives.  These narratives should be integrative in nature, without unrelated, complicated quantifications and data representations.  In short, the ‘story’ of how human capital was deployed in a particular year, should be presented.  

The implementation of the Intra-systemic HC Measurement Model creates various implications for organisational managers in order to give effect to its principles and execution:

Management in this context refers to all line managers in the organisation, and not just HR management.  The latter has to indeed take the lead here, as human capital measurement-management is their specialist area.  All organisational managers, however, have to be trained and skilled in these areas, as they mostly engage with employees during performance within the operations of the organisation.  

Determination has to be made regarding what is material and important for the organisation to measure in terms of its human capital efficiencies.  A combination of quantitative and qualitative measures may be decided upon.  

Managers also need to be clear as to how, and with what they want to measure.  This would include, how often these measures need to be applied, and would depend on organisational specific needs.  Instruments, such as, accounting, production and HR data, surveys, and performance appraisal outcomes are some of the measures which can be used.

A vital component of model execution, is the decision/s as to how to translate the measures into human capital efficiency improvements.  Management by objectives (MBO) comes to mind here, with clearly defined key performance areas and indicators, linked to clear time lines.

Change management is a competency that needs to be employed, to ensure buy-in, motivation and engagement.  Employees who are made to feel important as human capital, and not mere labour, will be less resistant and more inclined to partake in improvements, such as upskilling, adapt to new work flows, and the like.

General managerial actions, such as controlling, monitoring, and remediation, should be applied.  Managerial agility would lead to timely identification of deviations, and implementation of corrective actions.

Continuous measurements of improvements should be documented and communicated internally, as this leads to further re-enforcement of efficiency changes implemented.

At the end of a financial year, organisations will then possess of rich sets of data to narrate to external stakeholders in an integrated manner, using a mix of quantitative and qualitative data.  The organisation now tells its human capital measurement and management story, which is unique to its identity and circumstances. 

Within the Intra-systemic HC Measurement Model approach, standard developers and regulators need to take note of the following implications:

The idea of developing and prescribing a plethora of standards and regulations, purely for the sake of reporting, will be counter-productive.  Measuring for the sake of managing is rather the philosophy to be introduced here.

Specific standards and regulations should be non-negotiable and enforceable, such as, physical and psychological health and safety, rights of employees, workplace ethics, including non-discriminatory management, and the like. 

Most standards should, however, be voluntary, enabling organisations to move freely, and narrate their unique human capital efficiency improvement ‘story’ on their own terms, utilising these voluntary standards as guidance and framework.  

A mix of quantitative and qualitative standards and regulations should be developed and made available, in order to assist organisations to choose those who most aptly apply to them and their specific circumstance at a specific time.  This will afford organisations the capability to develop integrated narratives regarding their human capital within a broad, mostly voluntary framework of standards.  The approach should also allow all stakeholders to make an informed assessment as to the truthfulness and trustworthiness of said narratives, as well as enable comparability within and across industries, and over various time frames.

Monday, March 7, 2022

The Measurement of Human Capital

The full article can be read at:

The term human capital refers to the economic value of an employee’s experience and skills. Human capital includes assets like education, training, intelligence, skills, health, and others that employers value, such as, loyalty and punctuality. As such, it is an intangible asset or quality that is not listed on a company's balance sheet/statement of comprehensive financial position, yet has a profound and direct impact on its financial bottom line.  Human capital is perceived to increase productivity and thus profitability. The more a company invests in its employees, the higher the levels of its productivity and success become.

The psychological-behavioural value drivers of human capital reside in the following factors:

*Psychological wellness/being  

*Psychosocial health and safety 

*Employee engagement/Job satisfaction, including training and learning opportunities/Job performance

*Organisational Culture 

Employing any form of capital holds inherent risks for business managerial-leaders.  Human capital is no exception.  This asset is in the final analysis made from flesh and blood, tends to become emotionally upset, becomes fatigued, falls ill, disengages, experiences personal problems, is often subjective, loses interest and motivation.   Risks, and their effects cost the organisation money, whether in direct economic costs and/or indirect opportunity costs.  

The risk of e.g. absenteeism, as a result of factors, such as, psychological un-wellness, un-safeness, job dissatisfaction, disengagement, lowered job performance and toxic culture, is one of the major factors for business managerial-leaders to take into account, when employing human capital. 

AssessmentWorld Pty Ltd offers quantitative organisational surveys, enabling management to calculate human capital risks and their real cost effects.  The results of these surveys, over time, also enables management to implement interventions, measure, track, and report on their effects.  These statistics and their graphic displays can further be utilised in organisations' annual integrated reporting documents.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Psychological Health and Safety Index (PHSI-S)

The Psychological Health and Safety Index (PHSI-S) measures a person's perception of his/her psychological health and safety as it pertains to six dimensions:

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ 9700-803/2018) defines psychological health as 'a state of complete physical, social, and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity; a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community'

The same standard defines psychological safety as 'the absence of harm and/or threat of harm to mental well-being that a worker might experience' and states that a psychologically healthy and safe workplace is 'a workplace that promotes workers' psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to worker psychological health including in negligent, reckless, or intentional ways'

The Psychological Health and Safety Index (PHSI-S) is a reflection of an organisation's employees' experience and perception of the six psychological health and safety dimensions in the workplace.


This dimension refers to work-related hazards of a psychological and psychosocial nature, and the severity of injury and ill-health that can be caused by these hazards, inclusive of psychological injury, such as depression, suicidal ideation, psychosomatic and physical health reactions (hypertension, migraines). Hazards of a psychological and psychosocial nature include aspects of work organization, social factors at work, work environment, equipment and hazardous tasks (ISO 45001). 


This dimension refers to psychological health, which is defined as 'a state of well-being in which an individual realises his/her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her/his community' (World Health Organisation).  Psychological/mental health is also often expressed as the absence of psychological symptomology, such as, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and others.  Employees suffering from psychological ill-health, are often present at work, yet do not fully contribute to productivity as they are often 'mentally absent', e.g. experience low concentration levels and lack of confidence to execute tasks.  Psychological ill-health can be caused by workplace psychological hazards and/or originate from situations outside the workplace, including but not limited to, relationship strife, financial difficulties, and societal disturbances.     


The causes of physical health problems may be physiological, biological and genetical.  Physical health problems could also be caused by psycho-social causes, such as stress and fear.  The adverse effects of physical health on the psychological wellness of an employee are well documented in research literature, and include lowered concentration levels, presenteeism, self-depreciation, and the like.  These, in turn, affect psychological safety directly, and could lead to increased work-related accidents, interpersonal conflict, and decreased productivity.


Psychological stress is defined as 'a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being'.  

Burnout is a psychological syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation (mental distance), and reduced personal/professional accomplishments, in which the person has no positive feelings, sympathy, or respect for their job. Burnout occurs as a result of prolonged response to chronic stressors in the workplace. It has a wide range of psychological, physical, and behavioural problems which will not only have a negative impact on an individual's work-life but also their personal life.

Fatigue is a state of unrelenting exhaustion, lasts longer than mere acute tiredness, is more profound and isn't relieved by rest. It's a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time and reduces a person's energy, motivation and concentration. Fatigue at this level impacts a person's emotional and psychological well-being.  Occupational fatigue can be caused by chronic stress states, physical over exertion, ill health, lifestyle choices, such as alcoholism, obesity, and the like.  These causes could also be situated outside of work parameters, yet cause fatigue in the employee, for example, interrupted sleeping habits, relational difficulties, and financial distress.


Work-life-balance refers to a state of equilibrium between the demands that are placed on an individual from a work perspective and a personal life perspective. Individuals who report low levels of work-life-balance (i.e. have conflict between their work demands and personal life demands) are up to 12 times more prone to experience burnout and two to three times more likely to experience depression, compared to those individuals with better work-life balance.  (World Health Organization: WHO Healthy Workplace Framework and Model).



Coping capability refers to various personal abilities and perceptions which will allow the person to either cope with difficult situations and to manage them effectively and efficiently, or not.  Some people use humour, have confidence to assert themselves positively during conflict, exhibit resilience when workload increases, show 'bounce back ability' if adversity happens, have strong interpersonal support systems, apply high levels of EQ, don't get upset easily, understand others, etc.  These behaviours, and many more, assist employees to cope with life and work.  The opposite is also true.


The PHSI is the composite of the equally weighted six psychological health and safety factors measured in this survey.  This composite should be interpreted together with the individual factors assessed.  For example, the PHSI might present favourable, yet one or two of the individual factors, such as, stress-fatigue-burnout, might present less favourable.  Managers should then focus on the less optimal factor, do further root cause analysis, and implement improvement practices. 

Absenteeism-Presenteeism Risk Indicator (APRI)

The Absenteeism-Presenteeism Risk Indicator is determined by calculating the inverse of the PHSI.  It indicates the risk that employees, due to adverse psychological health and safety factors prevalent in the organisation, will either excessively be absent and/or behave with presenteeism, that is attend work whilst unwell, hence not contributing productively and cost optimally to the tasks they are assigned.  The APRI needs to be factored into the calculation of the cost of absenteeism-presenteeism in an organisation.

Psychological Hazards-Safety Risk Indicator

The Psychological Hazards-Safety Risk Indicator is the risk associated with high levels of psychological hazards and mentally unsafe working environments.  These hazards and environments could include excessive workload, unsafe physical work conditions, autocratic management practices, toxic cultural environment, workplace bullying, job insecurity, various types of harassment, physical and interpersonal violence, unfair remuneration practices, and the like.  

Psychological Health Risk Indicator

The Psychological Health Risk Indicator is the risk that psychological ill-health, such as depression among employees can affect productivity, and increase absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee turnover and replacement.  The cost of this risk factor is mostly 'invisible' and not calculated/taken into consideration when determining possible absenteeism-presenteeism and employee turnover and replacement costs and trends.  

Physical Health Risk Indicator

The Physical Health Risk Indicator refers to the absence of health, such as, chronic and recurring minor physical illness.  This risk factor has a direct impact on employee costs, such as, temporary staff appointments.  It also has indirect/opportunity costs implications, including extra workload burden on team members and supervisors, which may cause errors in work, and re-working.  This may, in turn, generate other direct costs, such as overtime.  Organisations should include this riks factor when calculating direct employee costs, as well as absenteeism-presenteeism costs.    

Stress-Burnout-Fatigue Risk Indicator

The Stress-Burnout-Fatigue Risk Indicator measures the risk associated with employees' unproductive management of stress, leading to fatigue and burnout.  This risk factor also directly feeds into the absenteeism-presenteeism risk factor, and should therefore be take into account when calculating these costs.  

Work-Life-Balance Risk Indicator

The Work-Life-Balance Risk Indicator is the risk associated with work-life imbalance, and has a direct impact on employee functioning.  Individuals who report low levels of work-life-balance (i.e. have conflict between their work demands and personal life demands) are up to 12 times more prone to experience burnout and two to three times more likely to experience depression, compared to those individuals with better work-life balance.   

Coping Capability Risk Indicator

The Coping Capability Risk Indicator is the risk associated with employees' inability to cope with e.g. work-related pressures; life problems; personal adversities.  In many cases, employees utilise unproductive coping mechanisms, such as, excessive alcohol usage, violence, avoidance, and disengagement from work.  These all eventually add to employee costs, whether direct or indirect.  This risk factor has a direct bearing on absenteeism-presenteeism, employee turnover and replacement costs.  


Monday, February 14, 2022

Management Competency Observational Index (M-COI

The Management Competency Observational Index (M-COI) measures current management potential as pertaining to TWELVE management competency areas:



Self-management refers to the candidates competency set enabling him/her to manage self in areas such as EQ, Values, Professionalism, Stress, Wellness, Development, and Work-Life balance.

Leadership is the ability to influence others towards goal achievement.  In the modern era various leadership constructs and approaches exist, such as, servant, authentic, and neuro leadership.  All of them still fit with the two broad leadership approaches, namely transactional and transformational.  The modern-day leader should be able to competently manoeuvre amongst situations, by selecting and applying the most productive leadership approach at that time - contingency leadership.  John Maxwell famously said that everything rises and falls with leadership.  Leadership competency is in high demand as effective leaders achieve higher engagement of the human capital component in the organisation via motivation, fairness, clarity of vision, and the like.

Operational management competencies refer to the classic management functions, such as, planning, organising, controlling, project management, and budgeting.  These competencies allow the person to effectively manage the resources of the organisation in an efficient manner, thereby increasing the return on assets and capital invested. for the shareholders and/or owners.  

Knowledge refers to the candidate's knowledge of job-related technical content & and organisational matters, e.g. strategies, culture and politics.  People with high levels of knowledge usually provide higher return on human, intellectual and knowledge capital for the organisation, as their knowledge levels allow them to operate highly efficiently. 

Thinking & problem solving refer to a very specific competency set which includes the ability to diagnose problems and get to their root causes, by applying both analytical as well as creative thinking modalities.  It also suggests competent utilisation of of team processes, as well as the abilities to formulate recommendations, calculate cost-benefit, implement and measure the effectiveness of implementation. 

Decision-making competencies include elements such as understanding one's range of authority, circle of influence, EQ, resilience, logical-rational thinking, risk analysis, and monitoring and evaluation.  Highly competent managers utilise a clear methodology to reach and execute decisions.  They also possess the necessary assertiveness and resilience to 'push through' in the face of resistance.  Their high EQ competencies allow them to work with a team, as well as to change direction, if the situation so demands/indicates. 

Communication is the information 'blood flow' of the organisation.  Managers who communicate clearly, craft their messages for their audience, listen effectively, and feed back to the team continuously, make for highly competent managers in this area.

Organisations are social environments and people are its human capital.  Managers who manage their teams of people with high levels of interpersonal competencies, such as diversity management, conflict handling, motivation, care, and the like, are usually very successful.  These organisations are inevitably characterised by engaged and productive employees, and very low levels of disciplinary issues and staff turnover. 

Steve Jobs (late CEO of Apple) maintained that teams of people make an organisation work, not committees and/or heavily layered bureaucracies.  He is of course on point here, as the synergies created by highly efficient teams of people, unlock vast potential for the organisation - think about all the innovations at companies such as Google, Amazon, and many others.  Competent team focussed managers know how to construct, enable, develop and resource their teams.  These managers are also very good at coaching and facilitating cooperation among team members.  They also do not shy away from managing team conflicts effectively, nor to reward great performances. 

Human capital refers to the skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by employees, viewed in terms of their value to an organisation.  In the modern day, managers should view their employees as valuable units of human capital, i.e. an investment on which the organisation can make a return,  versus employees simply being viewed as a cost to company.  The human capital approach leads to the application of management competencies, such as, scientific recruitment practice, learning & development, talent pipe line and talent management.  The most recent development in the field of people metrics, also becomes part of the competent human capital manager. 

Managers who possess high levels of total quality management (TQM) competencies, add continuous value to the organisation's quality and profitability margins.  Via their operational management competencies, they focus on continuous improvement, lean management, reduction of waste, and strive for zero defect products and services.  In their quest for extreme high levels of quality, they employ evidence based/empirical problem solving and decision-making principles, and measure people, processes and products continuously, in order to create optimal organisational functioning and outputs. 

The modern-day organisation finds itself operating in an increasingly VUCA environment - Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic and Ambiguous.  Change is therefore the only constant!  It is also one of the management competency areas which is scarce in supply.  Managers who have mastered the art and science of change management, understand and apply competencies, such as, change planning, team involvement, using change champions/agents, communicate effectively, create a sense of urgency, celebrate the wins, consolidate the changes, and effectively deal with resistances. 


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Module for Standardised Surveys

Our survey module for standardised surveys is yielding very powerful results for our customers.  Here at AssessmentWorld we research and develop dimensions and items for specific surveys, and then standardise these via statistical methodologies.  The module hosts various surveys, such as Employee Wellness, Organisational Commitment, Organisational Culture, Organisational Integrity Perception, and Road Behaviour.  These surveys are fully web enabled, and scoring, data collation, and report writing, are fully automated.  Our newest 'kid on the block' - Student Wellness Index Survey (SWIS) measures ten student wellness factors, such as stress, depression, and anxiety.   For more information, visit our info centre:

Contact Dr J van Zyl:

Monday, April 12, 2021

Team Expert Profiler

At AssessmentWorld we researched some of the most recent publishings on team functioning, and deduced ten specific competency sets, which are applicable in the 'new remote world of work'.  We are of the opinion that there is no specific hierarchy of factors, but rather a continuous interaction of said in order to enhance team functioning:

Teams are defined as a group of people with different skills and different tasks, who work together on a common project, service, or goal, with a synergy of functions and mutual support.  Teams present in various shapes, sizes, compilations, such as, small and agile project teams, a large organisational divisions, specific department, elite special operations units, professional sports teams or high-functioning business organizations. All high-performance and expert teams, notwithstanding their size, function/s, etc., share similar attributes. They have high levels of internal trust and accountability, communicate openly, are diverse, cooperate freely, share decision-making and leadership, manage change more successfully, have resilient mindsets, and the like. They are more sustainable, have higher levels of engagement and therefore efficiency. High-performance business organisations, driven by expert and excellent teams, operate under a clear vision and mission narrative, have greater degrees of employee and customer satisfaction and retention, grow more quickly (and intelligently) and are more profitable.

The Team Expert Functioning Questionnaire (TEFQ),  measures an individual's functioning within and view/experience of the teams functioning based on 10 factor sets:

Communication-Openness refers to all the positive characteristics associated with clear and open communication, empathy, clarification of messages, reduction of 'noise', such as prejudice, inclusive communication, honest and frank management of differences, etc.  Teams characterised by such communication practices, function with full understanding of their roles and tasks, objectives, and have full access to information and individuals to assist, if and when needed.    

Cooperation-Phlegmatism is a team functioning factor, which describes cooperation amongst team members, as well as with 'intersecting' teams and people, such as line managers.  Part of this factor then describes the type of personality/characteristics needed to enhance this cooperation.  Positive phelgmatism is a set of personality/character traits which describe said persons as those who practise acceptance, humour, flexibility, good-nature, calmness, stolidity, absence of excitability, and the like.  Positive cooperation-phlegmatism teams are characterised by high levels of employee satisfaction, engagement, relaxed, yet productive work atmosphere, effective problem-solving, sense of belonging, etc.  

Planning-Decision making from an expert team perspective, includes behaviours such as joint planning and decision-making, problem-solving acceptance of co-responsibility and accountability.  It also involves operating with clearly understood team and individual objectives, KPA's, KPI's, and the measurements for their success.  Members of such teams have the freedom to make decisions about projects, capabilities, and colleagues etc, which are well within reason of course. This freedom to plan and make the necessary decisions without having to constantly seek management permission, allows high-performance/expert teams to produce extraordinary results.  

Leadership-Roles-Responsibilities refers to clearly structured leadership approaches and consistency, inclusive of a shared leadership approach in the team.  The factor also includes clearly defined and practised roles and responsibilities of all team members, underpinned by self-leadership behaviours, such as, intrinsic motivation, self-inspiration, and influencing of others towards goal achievement. 

Competency-Personal development as an expert team factor, implies that team members possess of, and operate with the highest level of relevant competencies.  In such an environment, all individuals take full responsibility for their personal development, regarding their skills and competencies.  Even the best teams have room to grow. High-performing expert teams value feedback and learn from their 'unsuccessful' efforts. They look for opportunities to grow and develop by instilling a constructive feedback culture, and investing in ongoing employee development. Continuous learning drives growth, and stimulates higher levels of achievement and excellence.

Team spirit-Trust is when a team really feel invested in reaching a goal together, and are there to support each other, i.e. they feel a sense of belonging and camaraderie among the members, enabling them to cooperate and work well together.  A vital catalyst here, is trust, which is defined as a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone.  The high-performing expert team understands that trust has a direct impact on productivity, engagement and success. Integrity, honesty and transparency, some of the fundamental drivers of trust, are vital for engendering high levels of team spirit-trust.  Teams characterised by all these factors and elements of team spirit and trust, have the freedom to pursue objectives, make bold decisions and take the necessary risks to succeed.

Culture-Interpersonal includes the team's collective and synthesised expectations, experiences, philosophy, as well as the values that guide member behavior, expressed in member self-image, inner workings, interactions with others outside of the team boundaries, and future expectations. Culture is based on shared and accepted attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules that have been developed over time and are considered valid in a specific team.  In the team environment this encompasses all interpersonal behaviours, interactions and patterns (culture) such as courteousness, helpfulness, respect, timeous-ness, conflict resolution, inclusive communication, accountability, interpersonal ethics, etc.  

Performance-Rewards-Engagement refers to an invisible continuum that exists in any organisation and team.  High-performance expert teams drive excellent performance via, amongst others, their competency sets, knowledge, experience, team spirit and culture.  The members are intrinsically motivated, yet thrive in an environment where fair extrinsic recognition and reward systems are prevalent.  These do have an enhancing effect on team performance, and adds to, yet is not solely responsible for high levels of team engagement.  The latter, in high-performance expert team environments, is rather based on normative versus remunerative engagement factors.      

Composition-Diversity speaks of optimal composition of a team in terms of its size, location, structure, skills/competency sets, personalities, experience, and the like.  Most teams in the workplace are not pre-selected according to the afore stated 'criteria'.  They are often the result of management decisions to arbitrarily compose a team for a specific purpose, by using existing human capital in the organisation - a 'forced marriage', if you like.  Over time though, even these teams can develop high-performance expert team characteristics such as trust, engagement, leadership, culture, etc.  Diversity, within the composition factor, includes a myriad of elements, such as, gender, generation, race, religion, competency, knowledge, experience, etc.  The ultimate goal is to compose a diverse team for performance, as opposed to one for 'face value', i.e., merely to tick the diversity box.  High-performance expert teams are especially strengthened when diverse views, competencies, knowledge and experience enable it to constantly 'freshen'/renew its thinking and approaches to projects and tasks.  

Efficacy-Purpose-Vision describes a factor built on a shared and aligned team vision.  This creates purpose for said team, which it can only achieve if it bases its actions on efficacy, i.e., the ability to produce a desired or intended result.  The latter achieved via the practising of all the high-performance expert team functioning factors mentioned in this report, namely: Communication-Openness, Cooperation-Phlegmatism, Planning-Decision making, Leadership-Roles-Responsibilities, Competency-Personal development, Team spirit-Trust, Culture-Interpersonal, Performance-Rewards-Engagement, and Composition-Diversity.  

Team Expert Functioning Index - TEFI is a composite index compiled by including all the 10 team functioning factors described.  It provides an indication of how an individual employee/team member functions within/views/experiences the team they are currently involved with.  The TEFI score could be used as an indicator of the team functioning 'wellness', as experienced by the specific employee/team member.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Organisational Culture Layer Model - OCLM

The OCLM suggests that organisational culture is multi-layered, and that these layers influence each other dynamically, due to the fact that e.g., organisations change their structure/s, they employ new people, and change their strategies.  They also, often, have to respond to external environmental changes, in order to survive and thrive:

The model suggests sixteen organisational factors, four per layer, which consistently develop and supplement each other:


Values refers to the organisations' alignment with organisational values, such as, honesty, integrity, accountability, and the like.  Organisations with clearly articulated and practised values amongst their employees, create ethical cultures.  These types of cultures usually lead to high levels of ethical behaviour towards all stakeholders, such as employees, customers, suppliers, environment and society at large.  Employees' whose personal value sets resonate with that of the organisation, fit in effortlessly and seamlessly with those espoused by the organisation.

Trust-Security is the experience an employee has as to whether they can trust others in the organisation, as well as feel secure in these relationships.  The result may be a low level of trust-experience, which could be based on negative experiences in the current and/or previous organisational settings.  It might, however, also be an indication of the employee's current world-view, and/or other life experiences, which might render the employee as either trusting-secure, or the opposite.  Either way, this factor will influence how the employee behaves in the organisation, i.e., either fit the current organisational culture in that regard, or not.  If, for example, the current organisational culture is one of transparency and trust, an employee struggling with Trust-Security, will tend to withdraw, mask real feelings, politicise, and the like.

Engagement-Loyalty-Recognition refers to an employee's experience of, and attitude towards being engaged, loyal and recognised in an organisation.  High levels of engagement are usually linked to fair recognition practices, such as remuneration and development opportunities.  The result is usually an engaged employee with high levels of loyalty towards the organisation.  Organisational cultures characterised by the opposite, i.e., low levels of recognition, and resultant disengagement and disloyalty, usually lead to high levels of staff attrition, politicking, unproductive labour output, etc.

Hierarchy-Phlegmatism refers to the employees' view of and/or experience of the physical and mental accessibility of higher levels of management in the organisation.  Organisations which, for example, foster a power-distance culture, will be experienced as rigid, and management as inaccessible.  An organisation where, for example, a matrix or organic type structure is followed, and where management practice 'open door' approaches, will be experienced as less rigid, management accessible and positively phlegmatic.  Positive phlegmatism traits in an organisation, speaks of a culture of acceptance, humour, flexibility, good-nature, calmness, stolidity, absence of excitability, and the like.  Positive hierarchy-phlegmatism cultures are characterised by high levels of employee satisfaction, engagement, relaxed, yet productive work atmosphere, effective problem-solving, sense of belonging, and many other cultural value-add elements.


Diversity refers to equality of opportunity and employment without any bias because of traits, such as gender, race, educational, socio-economic background, etc.  Diversity in terms of culture, refers to attitudes, perceptions, attributions and behaviours towards people who are different, in terms of existing societal/organisational 'norms' and expectations.  For example, a highly intolerant, male dominated organisational culture, might discriminate, and even exclude females from certain positions, such as higher management.  Research is clear, organisations with highly diversity-acceptance cultures thrive in the modern business environment, and in some circles, it is described as diversity capital employment.  An example would be younger generations who bring high levels of knowledge and application into the 4IR work environment with their social media and ICT exposure, knowledge and skills.

Civility-Conflict Management refers to a culture of constructive expression of differences, and conflict management.  In such a culture, for example, employees differ without being disrespectful; encourage a diversity of views; show intellectual and emotional empathy towards those who express opinions that create discomfort for some.  Employees in such a culture do not harbour grudges, avoid negative grape vine activities, manage conflict constructively by e.g., inviting open and frank conversations, remain rational, stick to empirical facts, and strive for inclusive win-win solutions. 

Communication is the information 'blood flow' of the organisation.  Organisations which are characterised by effective communication cultures, practice clear messaging, effective listening, reduction of communication 'noise', such as prejudice, cognitive distortions, and in these effective organisations feedback happens continuously and transparently.  Such an organisational culture increases employee participation and engagement, as well as security and trust. 

People and tasks are important for an organisation to be successful.  The balance between the two is not always that obvious though.  In manufacturing or mining organisations, for example, task and safety are of paramount importance, yet will not be executed well if people doing these tasks are not managed with respect, remunerated fairly, motivated, and communicated to.  In the services sector, such as banking and retail, people are of paramount importance, yet if task is neglected, the organisation will suffer the consequences.  People-Task Balance refers to organisations which have found their balance in this regard.  In these types of organisational cultures, employees know exactly what to focus on to achieve organisational efficiency and excellence.


Teamwork - Steve Jobs (late CEO of Apple) maintained that teams of people make an organisation work, not committees and/or heavily layered bureaucracies.  He is of course on point here, as the synergies created by highly efficient teams of people, unlock vast potential for the organisation - think about all the innovations at companies such as Google, Amazon, and many others.  Highly team focussed organisations promote a culture of collaboration, joint problem-solving and decision-making and agility.  They reward the team, yet acknowledge the individual's specific contribution/s, thereby generating great team synergies.

Functional-Specialisation refers to the relationship between an employee's functional tasks, i.e., those which are core/essential to the job, and specialisation, i.e., very specific master competencies.  Most jobs consist of a higher percentage functional, than specialisation input.  However, organisations which accentuate development of human capital, will strive to train, coach, and mentor all employees to become highly specialised in their job functions.  Cultures like this, create knowledge workers who in turn increase the intellectual capital of the organisation, which in turn increases the organisation's competitive capabilities. 

Problem solving/innovation-RiskMost organisations 'fire fight', meaning they are reactive to the result of elements which affect them internally and externally.  They practice single loop learning, which means the next time the problem arises again, they 'know' what to do.  These organisations are caught in a perpetual trap of reactiveness, and hence do not develop organisational security and stability.  On this invisible continuum, organisations should strive to become double and even triple loop learning environments in its culture.  Here, elements affecting the organisation are anticipated, scenarios/models are developed, and innovative proactive solutions incorporated.  A typical example would be an organisation which scans its competitive environment continuously, e.g., use customer focus groups to determine changes in taste and demand.  They then use this data to innovate proactively.  This does imply risk, e.g., budget spent on market research and R&D, which might not render the financial returns envisaged.  

Empowerment/decisiveness-Urgency - Some organisations exhibit slow decision-making speed, often characterised by time wastage, procrastination, and inefficient solutions.  The cause/s can be found in its culture, e.g., not empowering employees at all levels to make decisions (within their scope of work and responsibility), gatekeeping, punishment of mistakes, power centralisation only for certain management levels, non-inclusivity, and many more.  On the other hand, organisations which espouse a learning culture whereby employees are encouraged and allowed to make decisions, 'fail forward', share ideas, be decisive and time efficient/urgent, create cultures where employees behave according to an Empowerment-Decisiveness-Urgency matrix.


Agility-ChangeOrganisations operate in a VUCA environment - volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous.  As the adage therefore states: 'Change is the only constant!'.  Some organisations only react to change events, while others behave with agility, anticipate the change, and proactively 'meet' the change events.  It therefore depends on senior leadership's approach to change.  However, when change happens, it involves the whole organisation and everyone is affected, e.g., during a merger.  If a change culture exists where employees are included, communication is transparent, the 'roadmap' is clear, and resistances are constructively accommodated and resolved, then one could argue that this organisation has a true agility-change culture.

The Purpose-Performance cultural indicator could almost be summed up as an employee's knowledge and understanding of the organisation's strategic vision and objectives, and said employee's commitment to match/exceed their individual performance, enabling the organisation to achieve its strategic intent.  Often times the organisation's senior leadership does not effectively cascade the strategic content to all levels of employees.  The result is then disjointedness and inefficiencies, as employees do not clearly 'see/follow' the bigger picture.  Juxtapose this to an organisational culture where everyone has full line of sight of strategic objectives and understand exactly how their role and work outputs contribute to these objectives.  It creates buy-in, commitment, effort, and the like - a great culture. 

Growth-Development It is indeed imperative that organisations enable their employees to be trained and developed.  Such a culture must exist. However, it is also the responsibility of the employee to take charge of their own growth and development, even if these are self-funded, and done in their own time.  The employee is in the final analysis the unit of human capital who needs to continue developing for the sake of the organisation, as well as for personal reasons, such as striving to e.g., find a more senior role, possibly in another organisation.  When the two factors synchronise, i.e., the organisational culture promotes growth and development, and the employee subscribes to a similar personal culture in this respect, a powerful growth-development culture exists. 

Digital-AI-4IRDigitisation of the workplace is ongoing and intense.  Many wonderful innovations in e.g., ITC, robotics and AI are indeed transforming organisations.  All of this does mean change though, and employees' attitudes, knowledge, learning, etc., are often severely taxed and stretched to develop and accommodate e.g., new software applications.  A specific cultural approach to Digital-AI-4IR Orientation is called for.  Amongst other factors, this implies more pressure on employees to learn new content and skills, teams to function virtually, accommodation of new technologies and interfaces, and many more.  A culture of change embracing, learning preparedness, flexibility, accommodation, and such, will ensure integration of the elements of a Digital-AI-4IR reality.  

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Organisational Culture 360 degree Survey Instrument

Organizational culture is the collection of values expectations and practices that guide and inform the behaviour of all team members, and is the key to developing the employee behavioural traits necessary for business success.  At, we did a re-think of the culture areas to be included in surveying an organization’s culture, and have defined the sixteen we finally distilled from all the literature, as:


1.    Values

2.    Trust-Security

3.    Engagement-Loyalty-Recognition

4.    Hierarchy- Phlegmatism

5.    Diversity

6.    Civility-Conflict Management

7.    Communication

8.    People-Task Balance

9.    Teamwork

10.  Functional-Specialisation

11.   Problem solving-Innovation-Risk taking

12.   Empowerment-Decisiveness-Urgency

13.   Agility-Change

14.   Purpose-Performance

15.   Growth-Development

16.   Digital-AI-4IR Orientation

Sunday, January 10, 2021

New, improved graphics and functionality assessment site

 We have steadily improved on our assessment site during 2019 and 2020.  All test graphics have been re-done and the test screens simplified and segregated for ease of use by test candidates.  Various other functionalities have also been improved on, such as online credit purchase capability via PayFast.  Visit our Facebook page and like us: