Theory_of_Organizational_Culture - Theory of Organizational...

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Theory of Organizational Culture 1 THEORY OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE Background Culture is a powerful force within organizations. Organizational culture shapes decisions, determines priorities, influences behavior and affects outcomes (Miner, 2007). It can be a source of organizational strength or a factor in organizational weakness. The concept of organizational culture has its roots in anthropology. Although the term culture has been given meaning a lot of times, most meanings make out that culture is historically and socially built; embraces common practices, values and knowledge that veteran members of an organization pass on to newcomers by way of socialization; and is utilized to form a group’s progression, material yield, and aptitude to endure. The definition of culture includes both structural influences such as the technologies of production, market conditions, and organizational and industry regulations, and human variables such as leadership style, socialization processes, communication norms and the social construction of values. Organizational culture has attracted limited attention in the past. Not until the early 1980s did practitioners and the academic community accept the idea that organizational culture was worthy of study. Research summarized by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman, Stanley Davis, William Ouchi, Edgar Schein, and a few others has provided a beginning foundation for future, more rigorous research. At this point, available research supports the idea that organizational culture exists, is a powerful factor in worker behavior, and differs within each organization, even within divisions and sections of the same organization. It may be useful in helping managers and workers understand their roles and relative success in the dynamics of the organization. In this paper, focus will be on Edgar Schein, being one of the most quoted analysts of corporate culture. Edgar Schein’s initial concern was with the change process and with his own particular approach to organization development (process consultation). Only as it became
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Theory of Organizational Culture 2 evident that this approach would benefit from a broader theoretical concept did he delve into the area of leadership and its role in influencing organizational culture (Schein, 2004). In the end what emerged was a comprehensive culture theory in which top managers were significant actors. In this theory, culture served in a number o respects as a substitute for hierarchy (and thus bureaucracy). Thus Schein’s theory offers an alternative to bureaucracy not only in its early and continuing focus on organizational development, but in its subsequent elaboration of the culture construct as a tool for human organization that can in certain respects replace aspects of bureaucracy. Theoretical Basics
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This note was uploaded on 03/02/2011 for the course MGMT 505 taught by Professor Spitz during the Spring '11 term at Deep Springs.

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Theory_of_Organizational_Culture - Theory of Organizational...

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