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Can training improve organisational culture?

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Experimental evidence from Ghana’s civil service

Abstract: Organizational culture is an important driver of organizational performance, but evidence on how to improve performance-oriented organizational cultures is scarce – especially in the public sector. We partnered with Ghana’s Civil Service to design a new innovation training module geared towards such culture change and deliver it on a randomized basis to midlevel bureaucrats in central government. The intervention was delivered at full scale by integrating it into the Civil Service’s standard training routine for one year. We find that the training improved organizational culture and performance 6-18 months post-training. Our design was split between an individual-focused training arm and one in which officials from an entire organizational unit were trained together. Our results are completely driven by the individual-focused arm, with the team-based treatment arm having no impact on culture or performance. We discuss potential explanations for this difference in effectiveness. Simple and scalable training interventions can thus have significant impacts on culture and performance, but their design matters.

Authors: Michel Azulai, University College London and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Imran Rasul, University College London and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Daniel Rogger, World Bank Development Impact Evaluation Research Department, and Martin J. Williams, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

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