Making the invisible visible


The SOQ® examines psychological aspects of the work environment - commonly referred to as “workplace climate.” We use it to help people make the invisible visible - their perceptions of the environment in which they work and their impact on the likelihood they will use their creativity and problem solving to produce innovation or sustain change.

The SOQ measures the climate for creativity, innovation, and change on nine dimensions:

  • Challenge and Involvement - the degree to which people are involved in daily operations, long-term goals, and visions.
  • Freedom - the independence in behavior exerted by the people in the organization.
  • Trust/Openness - the emotional safety in relationships.
  • Idea Time - the amount of time people can use (and do use) for elaborating new ideas.
  • Playfulness/Humor - the spontaneity and ease displayed in the workplace.
  • Conflicts - the presence of personal and emotional tensions (in contrast to idea tensions in the debates dimension) in the organization.
  • Idea Support - the ways new ideas are treated.
  • Debates - the occurrence of encounters and disagreements between viewpoints, ideas, experiences and knowledge.
  • Risk-Taking – the tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity exposed in the workplace.
All the dimensions are positively associated with innovation and change except Conflict. Working environments with high levels of conflict are less likely to sustain innovation and the commercial success that can come with it.
The power behind SOQ is that the dimensions it measures have been validated against measures of organizational innovation.

The link between climate and innovation

Research over the past 30 years has examined the relationship between peoples' perception of the organizational climate and the organizations’ ability to:
  • develop original products and services
  • deliver these products to the marketplace
  • commercialize original and successful products
Organizations were categorized as innovative, average, and stagnated based on their product performance and commercial success.
  • Innovative organizations developed more new products and services, moved them to the marketplace quickly, and were commercially successful overall.
  • Stagnated organizations were unable to control development of new products and services, had difficulty getting them to market in a timely and cost-effective manner and were commercially in trouble.
  • Average organisations fell in the middle.

Deliverables from an SOQ

The SOQ has two parts. Part A contains 53 questions that provide scores on the nine climate dimensions identified above. These scores represent people’s perceptions of the extent to which the behaviors described by the dimensions are present in the climate.
Results from part A include:
  • Scores on the nine dimensions including means, standard deviations, and ranges for each group assessed. Data can also be presented in radar format.
  • Climate scores compared to other US and international organizations for comparison purposes. Results can also be compared to previous data collection conducted within the your organization (if applicable).
SOQ Part B contains three short-answer questions.
  • These questions provide participants an opportunity to elaborate on their perceptions of the climate. They are asked to identify specific factors in the environment which support and hinder their innovation and creativity, as well as what they might do to improve the climate for innovation. The participants’ actual responses are provided in a report and can be used in the presentation of SOQ results. All participants’ names and references to specific individuals in the setting are removed in the report to protect the confidentiality. If requested, data obtained from SOQ Part B can be analyzed using a qualitative research method called constant comparison. Optional results from Part B include:
  • Level I Analysis - Key themes in participant responses identifying factors in the environment that support and inhibit creativity, as well as actions they would take to improve the climate.
  • Level II Analysis - Participant responses are linked directly to the nine dimensions of the climate identified above to support understanding and action to address challenges associated with specific climate dimensions.
  • SOQ Part B may also be modified to include a larger number of questions based upon your needs.

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It is also possible to compare people’s perceptions of the climate with a variety of other factors including their orientation to creativity; their perceptions of the creative products they produce; and the characteristics of the thinking processes they use when identifying and developing innovations. Additional information is available about these measures upon request. If you have any questions about the climate or the SOQ, please contact either:
+44 (0) 1844 290700 or info@perspectiv.co.uk