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The Denison Model

To find out information on our free Denison Breakfast Briefings where you can find out more about the Denison cultural audit and Leadership Development tool and have a chance to hear about our experience using Denison with Scottish companies, click here.

In 2012, The Leadership Factory linked up with Denison Consulting from Michigan, USA to provide a leading edge cultural audit tool that helps organisations improve business performance by focusing on culture and leadership development — an approach that is rooted in over 25 years of research linking organisational culture and leadership practices to performance metrics such as return on investment, sales growth, quality, innovation and customer and employee satisfaction.


The Denison Model provides a comprehensive, yet easy to interpret guide for organisational change through two frameworks: The Organisational Culture Model and the Leadership Development Model. Built on the same foundation, both models describe the characteristics of high-performance business culture and leadership and measure four essential traits of all organisations. At the core is a set of diagnostic surveys that are designed to help organisations align culture and leadership, diagnose specific areas of strength and weakness, and build accountability into the development process — all helping organisations reach their goal of becoming a high-performing organisation.

The Denison Organisational Culture Survey has been used by more than 5,000 companies worldwide since first becoming available over 20 years ago. Using the Denison Organisational Culture Survey, organisations are able to benchmark their organisational culture scores against a global database and develop action plans to improve their current practices. Clients who utilize the survey represent a diverse range of organisations including

  • HP
  • NASA
  • JetBlue Airways
  • ABC Disney


The Denison Model

The Denison model measures four key traits of culture and leadership (mission, adaptability, involvement, and consistency).Each of these traits has three indices providing a richness of detail about the trait.

Mission - “Do we know where we are going?”

A clear vision and strategy enables an organisation to identify priorities by providing a clear vision of the future. Being able to identify with an organisation's strategy enables employees to identify with the company and commit to its future.

Adaptability - “Are we listening to the marketplace?”

High performing organisations have the ability to perceive and respond to the environment, customers, and restructure and re-institutionalize behaviours and processes that allow them to adapt. High-performing organisations welcome new ideas, are willing to try new approaches to doing things, see creating change as an important part of the way they do business.

Involvement - “Are our people aligned and engaged?”

Highly involved organisations create a sense of ownership and responsibility, a greater commitment to the organisation. They identify those areas where employees can make decisions, have input, or lead improvements. Teamwork is encouraged so that employees support one another in achieving goals and targets.

Consistency - “Does our system create leverage?”

Consistency provides helps organisations develop a set of processes and procedures that create an internal structure to focus activities and priorities. The tool seeks to establish how clear and consistent are the organisation’s processes and procedures, and are they delivering the agreed strategy.

The Denison model uses normative scoring to present survey results. The survey compares your organisation’s raw survey data to a global database of nearly 1,000 organisations (from multiple industries, regions and sectors) and enables organisations to benchmark culture scores against other higher and lower-performing organisations worldwide.

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