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: