FAQs

Survey Theory and Methodology

1.  What is the Organizational Climate and Diversity Assessment (OCDA)?
2.  What is the theory behind the survey?
3.  This seems like a hodgepodge of measures, how is it all connected?
4.  Why are there so many diversity questions on the survey and why are they important?
5.  Why is my institution participating in this project?
6.  As a team leader, will I be identified in the survey?
7.  Why are we being asked to self-identify my team/work unit/group?
8.  How will the survey assure my anonymity?
9.  How small can a group be before the results are no longer anonymous? How small can a team be before it is too small for demographic?
10.  How many people need to respond from a team for it to be considered representative? What is a reliable number?
11.  How will the results be reported to us?
12.  How can the survey results be confidential when respondents are asked to provide their e-mail address for the incentive prize drawing?

Survey Implementation

13.  How will the ClimateQUAL®: OCDA be conducted?
14.  Can I see a copy of the survey?
15.  How long will the survey be available to staff to complete?
16.  How much of my time with the survey require?
17.  Can I start and stop the survey?
18.  Where can I complete the survey? Can I switch computers in mid-stream?
19.  Who should we contact if we experience technical problems with the survey form?
20.  Is the survey data encrypted?
21.  Who will notify the local incentive prizewinners?
22.  Is it possible to provide feedback about the survey?

Survey Theory and Methodology

1. What is the Organizational Climate and Diversity Assessment (OCDA)?
The ClimateQUAL®: OCDA survey contains questions designed to understand how organizational procedures and policies effect customer perception of service quality in a library setting. The results of the survey can help in the development of a healthy organization. A healthy organization is one in which consistent messages regarding its policies and procedures are provided to all employees. This consistency can translate into improved customer perception of service quality. The survey is in two parts. The first part of the survey asks respondents to answer questions related to their designated team or work unit.  In the second part, respondents answer based on individual membership in a group (i.e., membership in minority groups including, but not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, rank, and age).

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2.  What is the theory behind the survey?
Issues of diversity, fairness, and improving customer service are major concerns to many institutions. Research in the organizational sciences suggests that these issues are not separate concerns. Rather, these concerns are interrelated and when organizations focus on these issues in an integrated fashion, they are called "healthy organizations." A healthy organization is defined as one in which employees feel empowered and believe that the organization values diversity. It is an organization in which the policies, practices, and procedures are administered fairly and employees believe that they are treated fairly. And it is an organization in which the policies, practices, and procedures facilitate the attainment of one or more organizational goals (e.g., productivity, efficiency, safety).

The study that you are participating in is derived from the work of Benjamin Schneider and his Service Climate Model (Schneider, 1990; Schneider & Bowen, 1993, 1995). According to this model, organizational leaders establish the policies, practices, and procedures which subsequently are the primary drivers of employee climate perceptions. The term "climate perceptions" refers to the interpretative framework employees use to understand and predict what behavior is rewarded, supported, and expected in the organization (Schneider, 1990). The Schneider Service Climate model suggests that employees moderate their behavior to be consistent with and as a reaction to the perceived organizational climate. When the organization's climate sends two kinds of messages (i.e., concern for employees and concern for customers), positive changes in user satisfaction are expected. The "concern for employees" climate message is created when organizational policies suggest that things like teamwork, diversity, and justice are valued. The "concern for customers" climate message is created when the organizational policies suggest that customers are valued. Organizations appear to value their customers when they do such things as restructure the work environment to improve customer service and/or offer training and other resources to improve employee customer related skills and knowledge. When both of these climate sources are operating, resultant employee behavior is hypothesized to positively affect customer perceptions, relations and satisfaction.

The purpose of the present study is to test and extend the Schneider model in a library context. It is also designed to develop a feedback instrument to assist research libraries in monitoring and improving their organization's health (i.e., diversity and fairness) as well as customer service.

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3.  This seems like a hodgepodge of measures, how is it all connected?
The ClimateQUAL®: OCDA measures a number of constructs identified to be associated with a healthy organization. While it may not appear on the surface that the questions contained in the survey are related, prior research with the instrument at the University of Maryland has shown these questions to indeed provide valid indicators of organizational health.

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4.  Why are there so many diversity questions on the survey and why are they important?
There are two kinds of diversity measured in the ClimateQUAL®: OCDA survey: surface and deep diversity. Surface diversity refers to groups who members differ in terms of their visible characteristics. For example, eye color, skin color, texture of hair, height, and gender are examples of differences among group members which result in surface diversity. Deep diversity, on the other hand, refers to groups whose members differ in terms of their inner characteristics. member differences in terms of values, interests, competencies, personality, beliefs, and assumptions are examples of ways by which groups can differ in terms of deep diversity. While surface and deep diversity are related (i.e., there is a connection between surface differences among people and cultural/value differences), the relationship among these two types of diversity are clearly not perfect.

Surface diversity is extremely important when groups first form. Racial or gender differences may result in misunderstandings and/or conflict among members of newly formed groups. However, over time, group members begin to look past these surface differences as they learn about the inner characteristics of other group members.

The theory underlying the ClimateQUAL®: OCDA survey predicts that both types of diversity are needed for groups to be effective in the long run. Surface diversity is important a) for ethical reasons, b) for the potential it brings in increasing deep diversity, and c) for attracting and retaining customers and potential new employees. Deep diversity is important because groups with deep diversity tend to have the behavioral flexibility to react creatively to the dynamic demands of their customers.

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5.  Why is my institution participating in this project?
University of Maryland received a number of inquiries about their organizational climate work from colleagues at various institutions. It became clear that a number of institutions shared the same interest of better understanding the climate of our organizations. Many libraries have been discussing diversity issues and identifying ways to address them for quite some time. They are all looking for ways to strengthen their organizations and develop a healthy climate.

The University of Maryland team began asking the question: can the ClimateQUAL®: OCDA survey be used by other institutions and if so, what would need to happen to make this work. This led to a partnership between UM, Dr. Paul Hanges, Director of the Industrial/Organizational Psychology Department, and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). One consideration was whether the ClimateQUAL®: OCDA instrument could be developed into something similar to the LibQUAL+® process.

The Dean and administrative staff of your library expressed interest in participating in this project and contributing to the research about the ClimateQUAL®: OCDA survey instrument and implementation process. Your library’s participation is greatly appreciated. Together we are on the leading edge of creating an invaluable tool from which we hope that yours and many libraries will benefit. Phase I of the project tested the survey and based on the feedback they provided the survey was refined, eliminating questions that did not provide meaningful data. After Phase II of the project, the team refined the survey even further. We are continuing to develop a method for automating the reporting system.

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6.  As a team leader, will I be identified in the survey?
There is a question on the survey that asks team leaders to self-identify themselves. The importance of asking this question is to test the theory that leaders have behavioral, emotional and psychological consequences on the staff in the team. Leaders also offer a unique perspective on the climate of the team and the organization. This data will not be isolated in any way so that an individual team leader can be identified.

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7.  Why are we being asked to self-identify my team/work unit/group?
This information will help Dr. Paul Hanges identify specific themes or overarching issues for that specific group. No data will be reported for any particular group if it means that individuals can be identified or confidentiality will be violated in any way. We need to ask for the information when you complete the survey so that it is available for the research.

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8.  How will the survey assure my anonymity?
Your responses will be sent to a central location at the Association of Research Libraries. They will not be stored at your institution and cannot be accessed by anyone at your institution.

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9.  How small can a group be before the results are no longer anonymous? How small can a team be before it is too small for demographic identification?
If the response rate from a particular group is such that individuals can be identified in any way, the data will not be reported for that group. Dr. Paul Hanges and his research assistants will ensure that confidentiality is respected in all cases of reporting the results back to your institution.

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10.  How many people need to respond from a team for it to be considered representative? What is a reliable number?
The more responses for a particular team the better, but a 60-70% return rate for a team is considered good.

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11.  How will the results be reported to us?
A report for each institution will be prepared based on the analysis of the survey responses for your institution. This report will be shared with the Administration of your library. Results are reported in the aggregate. Download a sample report (PDF).

The raw quantitative data are not shared with your library.  The comments are shared verbatim with your library.

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12.  How can the survey results be confidential when respondents are asked to provide their e-mail address for the incentive prize drawing?
The respondent’s privacy is protected in two ways. First, very indirect information about the computer being used to take the survey is captured; it would be difficult to use this information to trace the individual. Second, everything possible is done to separate personal information from survey responses. E-mail addresses are saved in a separate file so there is no way to link your email to your survey response. This process ensures confidentiality when entering the incentive drawings.

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Survey Implementation

13.  How will the ClimateQUAL®: OCDA be conducted?
You will receive an e-mail asking you to take the survey and providing you with a URL. When you click on the URL, it will take you to the survey and you may begin to take it. The completed surveys will be sent to a central location at the Association of Research Libraries. The results will be analyzed by the staff of the Statistics and Assessment Program at ARL and reports will be provided to your institution.

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14.  Can I see a copy of the survey?
There are three major reasons why we do not share a copy of the survey. The first is that ClimateQUAL®: OCDA is a research project designed to measure immediate responses. Second, the survey instrument is proprietary and is released only to participating institutions' employees when the survey is to be completed online. For these reasons, we do not share a copy of the survey ahead of time. Third, project leaders need to control availability of the instrument so that institutions, without expert analysis and assurances of confidentially, do not attempt to employ the survey on their own.  For this reason, we do not share a copy of the survey after an institution completes the survey.  To help you get a sense of the scales and dimensions in ClimateQUAL®, please see the sample questions available on this website at https://www.climatequal.org/about/concepts/sample.

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15.  How long will the survey be available to staff to complete?
The survey will be available to staff for a three week period.

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16.  How much of my time with the survey require?
Response time varies widely from person to person, but it is safe to budget 20 to 50 minutes for completion.

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17.  Can I start and stop the survey?
Each institution will decide if the survey will be administered in a single setting, or if survey takers will be allowed to save and return to their survey later. Please discuss this option with your library’s primary survey contact.

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18.  Where can I complete the survey? Can I switch computers in mid-stream?
You can complete the survey at a number of locations including at your desktop, at home or in a computer lab setting. The choice is up to you. You MUST complete the survey on the same computer at which you began the process.

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19.  Who should we contact if we experience technical problems with the survey form?
If you experience technical problems with survey form (such as pages not loading, blank pages, not being able to advance through the survey, etc.), you should first contact your local IT personnel. If the problem cannot be resolved locally, send an e-mail message to climatequal@arl.org, providing the following information about your computer system: platform (e.g. Windows 2000/XP, Macintosh 9.1, etc.), browser type and version (e.g. Netscape 7xx, IE 7.0, etc.) and a brief description of the problem, including what was being done when the problem occurred and the survey page on which the problem was experience.

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20.  Is the survey data encrypted?
Yes. The survey uses SSL (secure socket layer) encryption.

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21.  Who will notify the local incentive prizewinners?
There are two options for notifying the individual incentive winners: Either 1) Your library will notify the individual incentive winners, or 2) Upon request, the ClimateQUAL®: OCDA Team will notify the individual incentive winners.  If your library decides to notify the individual incentive winners, the ClimateQUAL®: OCDA Team will send your institution a list of the winners.

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22.  Is it possible to provide feedback about the survey?
Yes, please send your survey feedback to climatequal@arl.org.

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