Organizational Culture Profile (OCP)


The Organizational Culture Profile (OCP) was developed by O’Reilly et al. (1991). It uses a profile comparison approach to calculate person-organiza­ tion fit. The OCP uses 54 value statements that describe individual and/or organizational values. Respondents Q-sort the items into nine categories based on their desirability to an employee or the accuracy with which they described an organization. The Q-sort method requires respondents to put a specified number of statements into each of nine categories. The required item-category pattern for the 54 items is 2-4-6-9-12-9-6-4-2. The two most desired or characteristic attributes are placed in Q-sort category 9, the next four in Q-sort category 8, and so on.

To develop a profile of an organization’s culture, a group of key infor­ mants familiar with the organization is asked to sort the 54 value statements according to the extent to which the items are characteristic of the organiza­tion. The degree to which the organization’s values are consistently shared can be investigated by the interrelation among raters using a variation of the Spearman-Brown general prophecy formula (O’Reilly et al., 1991). Em­ployees are asked to sort the items according to their personal preferences for each value in their ideal organization. The person-organization fit score for each individual is calculated by correlating the individual preference profile with the profile of the organization for which the person works.

Analysis of the individual responses to the OCP found that 27 of the items describing organizational values loaded on seven dimensions (O’Reilly et al., 1991). Three dimensions relate to how work tasks are han­dled in an organization. These include detail, which is an emphasis on being highly analytical and oriented to accuracy; stability, which emphasizes predictability and organizational rules; and innovation, which is an organi­zation’s tendency to take risks and be responsive to new opportunities. Two dimensions, team orientation and respect for people, describe values or norms for interpersonal relationships. Two additional dimensions describe organizational norms for individual actions. These include outcome orienta­tion, which describes an emphasis on high expectations for performance, and aggressiveness, which describes an emphasis on competition. Cable and Judge (1997) reduced the number of items used in the OCP to 40.

In Caldwell and O’Reilly (1990), the profile comparison approach was used to examine person-job fit. In this case, a panel of subject matter experts described jobs based on a pool of competency statements. Individuals then rated their skills and abilities using a Q-sort of the same competency statements.


The reliability of the ratings of the organization’s values obtained with OCP is assessed using the Spearman-Brown prophecy formula. The Spearman­ Brown reliability ranged from .84 to .94 (Caldwell & O’Reilly, 1990; Chatman & Jehn, 1994; O’Reilly et al., 1991; Sheridan, 1992; Vandenberghe, 1999). Chatman and Jehn (1994) found that the correlations of the value ratings between all the pairs of raters within each of 15 organiza­tions ranged from .26 to .66, with a median of .44. Cable and Judge (1997) found that assessments of organizational profiles 6 months apart showed test-retest reliability averaged .61. The mean test-retest reliability for those items rated as very characteristics of an organization (in categories 7, 8, or 9 in the Q-sort) and very uncharacteristic (in categories 1, 2, or 3 in the Q-sort) was .87.


In O’Reilly et al. (1991), factor analysis of the individual employee ratings of the 54 items describing what employees would like in their organization and the ratings of the same items for organizations produced seven factors: innovation, stability, respect for people, outcome orientation, attention to detail, team orientation, and aggressiveness.

Attention to detail correlated positively with stability and correlated negatively with both team orientation and having an outcome orientation in interpersonal relationships. Stability correlated negatively with innovation and outcome orientation. Innovation correlated positively with an outcome focus in interpersonal relations. Team orientation correlated positively with respect for people and correlated negatively with aggressiveness in interper­ sonal relations. Respect for people correlated negatively with aggressive­ ness in interpersonal relations (Sheridan, 1992). Chatman and Jehn (1994) found that the factor structure of the OCP was consistent across 15 firms.

Person-organization fit correlated positively with normative organiza­ tional commitment and job satisfaction. Person-organization fit correlated negatively with intention to leave and turnover (O’Reilly et al., 1991). Person­ job fit correlated positively with employee performance ratings across five samples (Caldwell & O’Reilly, 1990). Cable and Judge (1996) found that perceived person-organization fit measured with the OCP correlated posi­ tively with a separate subjective assessment of person-organization fit, a subjective person-job fit measure, perception of an organization’s rewards system, and general organizational image. Person-organization fit corre­lated negatively with work experience (Cable & Judge, 1996).


O’Reilly, C. A., III, Chatman, J., & Caldwell, D. F. (1991). People and orga­ nizational culture: A profile comparison approach to assessing person­ organization fit. Academy of Management Journal, 34(3), 487-516. © 1991 by Academy of Management. Items were taken from the appendix, p. 516. Reproduced with permission of Academy of Management in the format text­ book via Copyright Clearance Center.


Instructions for assessing organizational profiles:

To obtain profiles of the cultures of firms, informants with broad experience are asked to sort the 54 items in terms of how characteristic each is of their organization’s culture. Respondents receive the following definition and instructions: “Important values may be expressed in the form of norms or shared expectations about what’s important, how to behave, or what atti­ tudes are appropriate. Please sort the 54 values into a row of nine categories, placing at one end of the row those cards that you consider to be the most characteristic aspects of the culture of your organization, and at the other end those cards that you believe to be the least characteristic.” The Q-sort ratings from multiple key informants for an organization are then averaged to develop a single profile for the organization.

Assessing individual preferences:

To assess individual preferences for organizational cultures, respon­ dents are asked to sort the 54-item deck into the nine categories by respond­ ing to the question “How important is it for this characteristic to be a part of the organization you work for?” The categories range from “most desirable” to “most undesirable.”

Calculating the person-organization fit score:

The person-organization fit score for each individual is calculated by corre­ lating the individual preference profile with the profile of the organization for which the person works. Additional descriptions of the approach to assessing fit appear in Chatman (1989) and in Caldwell and O’Reilly (1990).

Organizational Culture Profile items:

The original 54 OCP items are provided. The items retained in the 40-item version of the OCP used by Cable and Judge (1997) are indicated with (CJ).

  1. Flexibility
  2. Adaptability (CJ)
  3. Stability (CJ)
  4. Predictability
  5. Being innovative (CJ)
  6. Being quick to take advantage of opportunities (CJ)
  7. A willingness to experiment
  8. Risk taking (CJ)
  9. Being careful
  10. Autonomy (CJ)
  11. Being rule oriented (CJ)
  12. Being analytical (CJ)
  13. Paying attention to detail (CJ)
  14. Being precise
  15. Being team oriented (CJ)
  16. Sharing information freely (CJ)
  17. Emphasizing a single culture throughout the organization
  18. Being people oriented (CJ)
  19. Fairness (CJ)
  20. Respect for the individual’s right
  21. Tolerance (CJ)
  22. Informality (CJ)
  23. Being easygoing
  24. Being calm (CJ)
  25. Being supportive (CJ)
  26. Being aggressive (CJ)
  27. Decisiveness (CJ)
  28. Action orientation
  29. Taking initiative
  30. Being reflective (CJ)
  31. Achievement orientation (CJ)
  32. Being demanding
  33. Taking individual responsibility (CJ)
  34. Having high expectations for performance (CJ)
  35. Opportunities for professional growth (CJ)
  36. High pay for good performance (CJ)
  37. Security of employment (CJ)
  38. Offers praise for good performance (CJ)
  39. Low level of conflict
  40. Confronting conflict directly (CJ)
  41. Developing friends at work (CJ)
  42. Fitting in
  43. Working in collaboration with others
  44. Enthusiasm for the job (CJ)
  45. Working long hours (CJ)
  46. Not being constrained by many rules (CJ)
  47. An emphasis on quality (CJ)
  48. Being distinctive or different from others (CJ)
  49. Having a good reputation (CJ)
  50. Being socially responsible (CJ)
  51. Being results oriented (CJ)
  52. Having a clear guiding philosophy (CJ)
  53. Being competitive (CJ)
  54. Being highly organized (CJ)