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Designing and Using Organizational Surveys: A Seven-Step Process

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Designing and Using Organizational Surveys: A Seven-Step Process

Allan H. Church, Janine Waclawski, Allen I. Kraut (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-0-787-95677-6 March 2001 Pfeiffer 320 Pages

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The survey process is a highly complex and situationally dependent one, in need of careful management. If poorly designed and administered, surveys can create disappointment and even disaster. Little has been written so far for those responsible for designing and implementing surveys in organizations. These authors have drawn on their extensive consulting experience to develop a concise, pragmatic, seven-step model covering the entire process, from initiation, to final evaluation, to making the results meaningful to the future of the organization. They pay special attention to the political and human sensitivities concerned and show how to overcome the many potential barriers to a successful outcome.

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Tables, Figures, and Exhibits xiii

Foreword xvii
Allen I. Kraut

Acknowledgments xxi

The Authors xxv

Introduction 1

What is a Survey? 4

A Brief History of Surveys 8

Contemporary Use of Surveys 10

Surveys in Contemporary Organizational Life 12

The Seven Steps to Effective Organizational Surveys 17

1. Step One: Pooling Resources 27

Setting Clear Strategic Objectives 31

Obtaining Commitment 38

Overcoming Resistance and Apathy 42

Maintaining Confidentiality 43

Deciding What Information to Collect 45

Balancing Priorities 46

Checklist for Step One 49

2. Step Two: Developing a World-Class Survey 51

Using a Survey Design Team 53

Gathering Preliminary Information 55

Identifying Key Issues 56

Discussing Your Findings 58

Drafting the Initial Survey Document 60

Piloting the Survey 84

Checklist for Step Two 87

3. Step Three: Communicating Objectives 89

The CPR Model of Organizational Communication 91

First Contact with Employees 96

Communicating the Survey 100

Sample Survey Introduction 106

Guidelines for Communicating to Employees 107

Recognizing Informal Systems 109

Checklist for Step Three 111

4. Step Four: Administering the Survey 113

Timing of Administration 114

Working with the Project Plan 116

Sample Versus Census 120

Methods of Administration and Data Collection 122

Paper Versus Electronic Methods: A Comparison 137

Response Rates 143

Learning While Doing 146

Checklist for Step Four 147

5. Step Five: Interpreting Results 149

The Role of Statistics 150

The Importance of Timing 154

Data Entry 159

Data Preparation 162

Item-Level Analysis 172

Conceptual-Level Analysis 178

Comparative Analysis 186

Content Analysis of Write-In Comments 193

Checklist for Step Five 199

6. Step Six: Delivering the Findings 201

Understanding the Roll-Out Process 203

Preparing the Survey Report 207

Balancing Expectations and Reality 225

Checklist for Step Six 227

7. Step Seven: Learning into Action 229

Using Surveys to Create Lasting Change 232

Barriers to the Transfer of Ownership 233

A Commitment to Action 239

Four Approaches to Survey Action Planning 241

Five Critical Factors That Determine the Success of Survey Action Planning 258

The Action Planning Process 259

Linking Survey Results to Other Measures of Performance 267

Building Systems for Evaluating Success 271

The Evolving Role of the Survey Practitioner 272

Checklist for Step Seven 276

References 279

Index 287

"In my view, this book is simply the best, A to Z resource for organizational survey and assessment practitioners available. . . . A fresh and lucid perspective that inextricably links theory and practice. Comprehensive and practical, the seven-step process approach provides a closed-loop blueprint for designing and implementing organizational surveys that work!" (Salvatore V. Falletta, manager, global HR research, Intel Corporation)

"The many tools that Church and Waclawski offer alone make this book a treasure chest. . . . A considerable array of figures, examples, and samples that are helpful to the experienced and inexperienced practitioner (and consultant), including sample scripts and content for communications and focus groups." (David W. Bracken, partner, Mercer Delta Counseling, LLC)

"A great primer on organizational surveys. Church and Waclawski integrate into their approach to surveying both the science of the field and the art of practice in dynamic organizations. . . . Will provide valuable discussions among even the most seasoned professionals as well as insight for those just starting out in the field." (Karen B. Paul, manager, HR Measurement Systems)