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The context in which today’s organizations are operating is one of volatility, ambiguity and complexity leading to unprecedented levels of change. In this setting change is rather the rule than the exception. As change is the new normality, the speed, magnitude and, consequently, the importance of change capability to organizations has increased. As Change Management proceed throughout the management of the seven Pillars of Organizational Development (cf. Southampton Business School (SBS) has endorsed a project to partner with companies in their change effort, starting with the first Pillar of company success, Organizational Climate. Organizational Climate is at the forefront of organizational development and high performing systems. It provides the first step for change and development.




















Grounded on evidence-based management, a comprehensive tool for organizational development and change management is offered to companies since the endorsement of SBS and the funding program. The C.O.B.A.L.T. SEA (Soton Evaluation Analytical) Climate Survey provides a comprehensive organizational check-up and is now open for collaborating partners. The C.O.B.A.L.T. SEA quantifies the organizational Climate and compares into a practical tool for engagement and High Performing organizations.


  • Based on more than 20 years of research and practice with organizational climate and high performing systems;
  • Meets academics and psychometrics standards and provides norms and benchmarks based on research samples across the globe and in different industry sectors;
  • Provides a complete check-up and an integrated map for OD and high performing systems;
  • “Takes the guesswork out of change” by supporting policy makers, HR directors and leaders in identifying concrete levers for strategic HRM.

The C.O.B.A.L.T. SEA Climate Survey returns a dynamic organizational check-up and is at the foundation of strategic HRM. Data are interpreted at the aggregate level to surface significant policies, practices and procedures and their impact on the system. The output and the library of development activities provide suggestions for development and performance enhancement. The output is in the form of Trends-, Benchmark and Predictive-Analytics.




Organizational Climate is a combination of elements that fit together in different forms, shapes, combinations. Change management means recombining the elements in light of the Vision and the organizational Mission. This compares into organizational development, growth, and high performing systems. 


The C.O.B.A.L.T. SEA Climate Survey maps progress using the levers for change and organizational performance. Is based on a flexible tool and a simple approach that combines

  • Web-based front end for organizations data entry
  • Backend database
  • Reporting capability – Artificial intelligence engine
  • Organization facing interaction that provides AI based analysis and outcomes enabling organizations to make swift evidence-based decisions on change management.


  • Surfaces employees cognitive appraisal through a systematic and structured feedback;
  • Highlights your company strengths and developmental needs;
  • Identifies the strategic factors for high performing systems
The Multi-Factor Climate Survey for High Performing


The C.O.B.A.L.T. SEA Climate Survey is based on 63 statements ranked with a 5-point Likert-type scale that converge into Six first order factors (C.O.B.A.L.T.). These are cognitive appraisals of organizational policies, practices and procedures and a throughout description that returns directions for development.

C for Communication: how information are transmitted and shared (diffusion/clarity) as well as the communication paths.

  • O for Openness: the openness and dynamism in the decision making (OD) and the Openness to Innovation (OI). This also means openness to progress, to new or challenging ideas or methods, and the company engagement with personal development and organizational growth.
  • B for Balance or how the organization is “walking its talk”. This means the efficacy of systems and the operational declination of declared values and objectives in terms of Fairness and progress (BF, fairness/equity), other than how the company is perceived externally. The second part is the appraisal of a balanced Reward system in its multiple facets (BR), e.g., equity, social fairness, perception of impartiality of the retributive systems and career paths.
  • A for Autonomy: perceived self-government and discretion in the sphere of competence at work (AI, individual) and job crafting, and the transparency and clarity of the Job description (AD): how clear the roles and tasks are and the awareness of the individual responsibility, also considering the wider scenario or the embeddedness within the system.
  • L for Leadership:relations across levels in terms of both perceived style of leadership and the development potential in the vertical relations. 
  • T for Team and Task engagement, or group cohesion (team spirit, TS) and task engagement/Job involvement (TJ), the latter being the engagement with the role and position and in the general system and the overall investment with work.
  • A seventh scale has been recently added to measure Cultural Agility, a basis for global companies.

Dr. Alessia D’Amato (A.D’ or

Prof. Malcolm Higgs (

Southampton Business School, Southampton University, UK

Dr. Alberto Crescentini (

S.U.P.S.I., Università della Svizzera Italiana, CH

SOUTHAMPTON UNIVERSITY is a research-intensive university and a founding member of the prestigious Russell Group. Its successes are acknowledged in international and UK league table rankings and with prestigious awards. For ambitious leaders who want to change the world, SOUTHAMPTON BUSINESS SCHOOL offers a truly distinctive multidisciplinary and integrated approach, and links with many of the world’s leading companies. The world-class, cutting-edge research shapes future business practice and SBS provides a responsible educational experience that connects people and organizations to deliver ground-breaking social and economic impact. The world-leading academics deliver management research and education with rigor and relevance, solving real-world problems faced by businesses, organizations and governments. ( )


The output of the C.O.B.A.L.T. SEA Climate Survey is:



  • Month 1-2: Administration of a web-based survey to a cross-section of employees.
  • Month 3: discussion of the results with the company management and selected groups of employees. Action plan.
  • Months 4-10: implementation of selected actions.
  • Months 11-12: a second web-based survey is administered.
  • Months 13: the output is discussed within the company.

Networking activities with other participating companies to share best practices in OD and to enable a broader reference point in terms of best practices and recommendations to meet corporate vision and sustained development.


Workshops on the C.O.B.A.L.T. SEA can be provided on request to companies. Using interactive, experiential learning techniques the C.O.B.A.L.T. SEA Workshops have been delivered in academic and professional conferences as well at partnering organizations in three continents (Europe, America and Asia). Workshops start with discussions about the foundation of the model and the psychometric properties and a throughout discussion on the application and how to exploit the resulting output. This also means recommendations and practical frameworks for development. Workshops will prepare your company to:

  • Quantify your organizational climate and provide a comprehensive organizational check-up, and track data-driven organizational change;
  • Interpret and use the statistical information provided in the resulting report;
  • Utilize our library for change initiatives;
  • Align the change management initiatives to your company’s mission, vision and desired outcomes;
  • Creating operating and ideal climate profiles and an action plan for moving from the operating to the ideal;
  • Understanding connections between causal factors, outcomes and high performing work systems;
  • Pinpoint areas of improvement to achieve high performing systems;
  • Identify levers for talent development and business growth;
  • Debrief and communicate feedback reports.

There is no cost for participation as the project is funded by Southampton Business School. Companies seeking to take the Tool should contact the project team.

  • Practical,
  • Diagnostic and
  • Focused on change management.