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Use of an innovative colour-based personality-profiling (PP) tool to guide culture-change strategies among different healthcare worker (HCW) groups


Most current infection control (IC) culture-change programs are standardised and do not take into account possible differences between HCWs.


1. Identify PP features among various HCW categories to inform the development of a personality-based educational culture-change “blueprint” to improve uptake of IC initiatives.

2. Compare the accuracy of PPs derived from the Human Resources (HR) database at 5 Australian hospitals (HR-Ps) with those derived from direct participant surveys (PS-Ps) from these sites.

3. Use findings to develop targeted marketing strategies for each HCW group.


We used an innovative colour-based PP tool (ColourGrid; framework based on Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory) to identify PPs using: Basic HR data (gender, age, home postcode and suburb, employment status, HCW category) and ColourGrid surveys completed by HCWs at the 5 sites. HR-Ps and PS-Ps were compared for 3 HCW categories – Doctors (D), Nurses/Allied (N-A) and Support staff (SS). Among Ds, PS-Ps were compared for senior hospital clinicians (full-time [SMO] vs part-time [VMO]) and junior staff (interns/fellows [HMO]).


HR data was obtained for 34 243 HCWs, with 1045 completing a ColourGrid survey. HR-Ps suggested that HCWs are substantially different to the general Australian population, being more affluent; established; well informed; likely to adopt new technology and new experiences; often cynical about advertising messages; challenging to others who do not share their interests or concerns; want to make a difference and leave a heritage of success. HR-Ps and PS-Ps were highly concordant for all 3 HCW categories (D, N-A, SS) – with both suggesting a need for messaging differences. Overall, Ds exhibited more individualism, lower power distance and less uncertainty avoidance, but PS-Ps were different for SMO vs VMO vs HMO suggesting targeted messaging strategies are critical.


PP identified major differences among D, N-A and SS; and a need for targeted marketing strategies. Among Ds, subtle but important, differences also exist that need consideration if culture-change initiatives are to be successful.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Grayson, L., Macesic, N., Xuereb, C. et al. Use of an innovative colour-based personality-profiling (PP) tool to guide culture-change strategies among different healthcare worker (HCW) groups. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control 4 (Suppl 1), I9 (2015).

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