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The SIO Culture Model

A Comprehensive Framework for Understanding Workplace Cultures

The SIO Culture Model was developed by our CEO and Founder, Jessica Jaymes Purdy. It offers a sophisticated approach to understanding and analyzing organizational culture, providing a nuanced, intersectional framework for assessing culture across three culture dimensions, while recognizing the complex interplay of institutional dynamics that shape them.

decorative hexagon honeycomb

culture made tangible

The Three Culture Dimensions

Social Culture examines how employees experience and feel within the culture, focusing on:

Diversity: How differences in identity, background, and experience are valued and leveraged.

Equity: The fairness and justice in power, opportunities, treatment, and outcomes for all groups.

Inclusion: The degree to which all groups feel welcomed, respected, supported, and able to participate fully.

Belonging: How much employees feel accepted, connected, and able to bring their authentic selves to work.

Authenticity: The level of genuineness, honesty, and integrity employees feel they can exhibit.

Psychological Safety: The belief that one won't be punished or humiliated for speaking up, asking questions, or making mistakes.

Related Institutional Dynamics

Informal Habits: Everyday behaviors that become norms significantly shape the social culture.

Power Dynamics: Who holds influence affects equity, inclusion, and psychological safety.

Communication Patterns: How information flows impact feelings of inclusion and belonging.

Understanding Workplace Cultures

Organizations are complex culture ecosystems comprised of people with different identities and experiences and the microcultures that exist around them. The SIO Culture Model recognizes this complexity and provides a framework for understanding how various elements interact:

Intended vs. Permitted Cultures

Intended cultures are explicitly communicated behaviors and expectations, often reflected in the Ideological Culture dimension. 


Permitted cultures are organic and implicitly allowed behaviors, often manifesting in the Social and Operational Culture dimensions.

Macro and Microcultures

Graphic representation of how microcultures within the permitted culture of an organizations can fall fully within, partially within, or fully outside of the intended culture.

Macro-cultures encompass the entirety of an organization's culture across all three SIO dimensions.


Micro-cultures are subcultures within the macro-culture, which exist at every level of an organization.


The SIO Culture Model, particularly through its Social Culture dimension, recognizes that each person holds multiple identities. Addressing all forms of systemic inequality is crucial for fostering an inclusive culture of belonging.

By examining these complex interactions through the lens of the three SIO Culture dimensions, organizations can develop a nuanced understanding of their culture and implement targeted strategies for improvement.

SIO Culture Model  Within organizational culture are 3 culture dimensions: Social Culture, Ideological Culture, Operational Culture. Within each culture dimension there are 6 culture elements. Social Culture: Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, authenticity, psychological safety.  Ideological Culture: Hierarchy, authority, communication, priorities, efficiency, collaboration. Operational Culture: Innovation, productivity, agility, ethics, community, wellbeing

Organizational Culture Quality Assessment

The SIO Culture Model is implemented using the proprietary Organizational Culture Quality Assessment (OCQA), a web-based survey tool designed to measure workplace culture comprehensively.


The OCQA is a powerful tool that translates the theoretical framework of the SIO Culture Model into practical, data-driven insights for organizational leaders and HR professionals.

By taking a nuanced view of macro and micro cultures, and by distinguishing between intended and permitted cultures, the SIO Culture Model facilitates targeted culture change initiatives specific to an organization's unique needs, moving beyond generic best practices. When combined with the OCQA, it provides a comprehensive solution for understanding, measuring, and improving organizational culture.

Key Features

  • Assesses and scores an organization across all 18 cultural elements of the SIO Model

  • Provides a baseline measurement of the current organizational culture

  • Identifies misalignments between micro- and macro-cultures

  • Highlights gaps between intended and permitted cultures

  • Offers actionable insights for targeted culture change initiatives

  • Enables tracking of culture change efforts over time

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