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< previous page page_12 next page > Page 12 Studies in international relations suggest that typical features of culture, at the national level, are shared language, religion and history, and in general a mutual sense of belonging. At the level of the firm a culture is a shared reality, or a socially constructed reality (of values and beliefs), that deems certain social practices to be normal, acceptable and desirable. Culture is extremely important in all organisations because it determines how organisations react, for example, to change and what changes are perceived to be feasible. Culture can act as a conservative restraining force or can generate innovation. The need to manage culture is becoming increasingly recognised as in various Quality Management theories. When or why is the cultural view useful in practice? When it shows that "rational" aspects of organisational life are only rational in terms of the "installed" culture and that there are other values with
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