Article

Organization Culture

Mary Ann Glynn, Simona Giorgi and Christi Lockwood

in Management

ISBN: 9780199846740
Published online January 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0059
Organization Culture

Show Summary Details

Preview

The concept of organizational culture was introduced to the field of management and organization studies in the late 1970s, and it began to attract significant scholarly attention in the early to mid-1980s. Building on insights from sociology and anthropology, organizational scholars argued that organizations could possess distinct cultures, or sets of shared values, beliefs, and norms that guide the attitudes and actions of organizational members. Researchers suggested that organizational culture could significantly affect organizational outcomes, reasoning that culture could be used as a resource to affect employee actions, distinguish firms from one another, and create competitive advantage for those with superior cultures. As such, understanding organizational culture has traditionally been seen as an avenue for equipping business leaders with the tools needed to enable effective performance through the creation and management of an appropriate culture. Although early studies of organizational culture generally portrayed it as consistent among employees, across levels and between departments, subsequent work spoke to the possibility of heterogeneous manifestations of culture within a single organization, suggesting that the creation and maintenance of a desired organizational culture may be more complex and nuanced than initially understood. As such, theoretical paradigms and research methods used for inquiry in this area have been diverse. For example, while some scholars have studied culture from a functionalist standpoint, focusing on normative forces promoting homogeneity and uniformity, others have approached it from an interpretive paradigm, emphasizing the meanings that social actions have for individuals in organizations. Methodologically, studies have employed both qualitative and quantitative methods, each of which has yielded unique insights on some aspects of culture. As a result, researchers in management and organization have taken a range of approaches to understanding organizational culture, from exploring the forces that may create and change culture, to studying it as a driver of performance and effectiveness, to linking it with identity and employee personality. The readings here reflect this diversity in theoretical and methodological approaches and are organized as follows. The first sections provide an introduction to organizational culture, including introductory works, early contributions, overviews, and textbooks. Next, major paradigmatic approaches are reviewed, and the roles of culture in organizational life, as independent variable, dependent variable, and moderator, are discussed. Then, methodological approaches are reviewed, investigating culture and related concepts. Finally, disciplinary influences and emerging approaches are discussed.

Article.  10219 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.