Dr Mala Singh is the executive director of People and Culture.

This project promotes a



The scenario on the left is about simple acts of caring – something that is also an important part of the Organisational Citizenship Behaviour Project (OCBP) that People and Culture, together with Student Life, will soon be launching. This project will support phase two of the NWU Culture Project.


 A number of staff and students participated in the first phase of the NWU Culture Project last year.


Phase two of the project was scheduled for earlier this year, but due to the current restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the activities have had to be revised.


The project aims to take stock of how staff and students understand and experience the values of the university in their everyday lives. It will also encourage them to go beyond the call of duty to benefit the university as a whole.


How it will work


The four week-long project will start up slowly in September, and intensify over time.


During the first week, staff and students will receive communication from top management about their expectations and the rolling out of OCBP. In the second and third weeks, it will be the turn of staff and students to share their insights.


Concluding the project during week four, all staff and students will be invited to share their experiences and, with their permission, these stories will be shared through various NWU communication channels.


Encouraging simple acts


Dr Mala Singh, executive director of People and Culture, says that the OCBP is not directly linked to job descriptions or academic work, but rather to the preferred behaviours that the university encourages as part of its culture.


This initiative calls on everyone to embed the basic tenets of OCBP in their daily tasks, and to combine individual and collective efforts to make the university the best place for study and work. The project aims to instil an ethic of care, encouraging simple acts such as switching off the lights when you leave the office, alerting your colleague that they left their headlights on, recycling, and helping students who are in need, for instance.


Achieving these five goals


Mala says that with this project the university aims to achieve five goals.

The project aims to create and sustain a “feel-good” message regarding the university and its current values, encourage preferred behaviours that are aligned with the NWU values, and gain insight into how staff and students understand and live the values of the NWU.


It also aims to collect feedback on how staff and students experience the values through their lived experiences and to incorporate the insights and data received from this project into the “To-Be” culture (Phase 2 of the NWU Culture Project).


Staff and students are encouraged to participate in this project to help the NWU achieve its “To Be” culture aims.


Thandi switches off the lights before locking her office door, because saving energy is good for not only the university’s electricity bill, but also for the planet.


In the parking area she gets into her car. With a feeling of gratitude she listens to the soft hum of the car’s engine. If Lucy had not let her know this morning that she had left the headlights on, she would have been left stranded with a flat battery.