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Chapter 5 - Kelsey Porter COMM 2600 February 8 2009 Chapter...

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Kelsey Porter COMM 2600 February 8, 2009 Chapter 5: Cultural Studies of Organizations and Communication A. The Cultural Approach  o Within every national culture there are thousands of smaller cultures based on  religion, ethnicity, geography, and a myriad of other factors  o Culture: meaningful orders of persons and things; historically transmitted pattern  of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed  in symbolic form by means of which men [ sic ] communicate, perpetuate, and  develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life o An organizational culture is a pattern of shared basic assumptions that have  been invented, discovered, and/or developed by a group as it learns to cope with  problems of external adaptation and internal integration o A cultural is like a religion in that both locate a set of common beliefs and values  that prescribes a general view of order and explanation  o Most cultures include various sects or subcultures that share the common order  but whose ways of understanding or carrying out their beliefs differ  o Cultures as Symbolic Constructions To say that a word or thing is symbolic means that it stands for something  other than itself  Organizational Culture     : stands for the actions, ways of thinking, practices,  stories, and artifacts that characterize a particular organization (study the  culture of an organization through close examination of its symbolic  environment as well as through its use of symbols  Kenneth Burke   “Definition of Man” – helps us understand why symbols  both represent other things and evoke other symbolic possibilities  Symbols do not only stand for other things; they also shape out  understandings of those things and help us to identify their meanings and  uses. Symbols are instruments of human understanding and action o Cultural Elements Metaphors     : figures of speech that define an unfamiliar experience in  terms of another more familiar one (“family” “machine” “ship”) Rituals     : “dramatize” a culture’s day-to-day routines for accomplishing  tasks to annual organization-wide celebrations of top performers (new  product launches, office birthday celebrations, sales conferences, etc.) Stories     : convey to members what and who is valued by the culture, how 
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things are to be done, and the consequences for cultural compliance and/ or deviation Artifacts     : the tangible and physical features of an organization;  contributes to its culture (office d é cor, spatial arrangements, corporate  art, dress codes, graffiti, etc.)
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