The spiderweb method helps to identify the identity and image of an organization. It was originally developed by Bernstein in 1986 and later extensively described by Van Riel. The method is a creative work form in which the ideas and images of each participant equally weighted. The spiderweb method offers an attractive, appealing and simple view of what people think about a brand or organization.
The spiderweb method
The spiderweb is a method for the quantitative measurement of the core values of the organization, such as professionalism, impact, accessibility, openness, activity, honesty, etc. Everyone’s opinion counts equally. For example, management will gain insight into values of the employees and the size of the gap between current and desired situation.
The collection of data takes place in meetings or through surveys. A representative group of employees scores eight core values for the current and the desired identity, for example by a number from 1 to 10. The resulting image gives rise to further discussion about the desired situation. And also gives direction for a strategic roadmap.
The spiderweb method is to be applied to determine the identity based on a the outcome of the survey. From research or from surveys of customer groups it is clear to see what is the current and what is the desired image. If the organizational examines identity as well as image, the spiderweb reveals four interesting ‘gaps’.
The spiderweb method uses equal weighting of the ideas and images of respondents. Such equality stifles the creative ideas of the individual participant. This is unfortunate, because it is precisely that one, brilliant, eccentric idea that can determine the identity of the organization. This disadvantage can be overcome by giving respondents the opportunity to explain their scores or add their associations to the core values.