Article

Meta-theoretical Controversies in Studying Organizational Culture

Joanne Martin

in The Oxford Handbook of Organization Theory

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199275250
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199275250.003.0015

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

 Meta-theoretical Controversies in Studying Organizational Culture

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To understand the contemporary state of organizational culture theory and research, it is necessary to grapple with some of the major intellectual disputes that have swept through the humanities and social sciences in recent years. Some researchers choose to study a single cultural context, in great detail and depth. This article deals with five controversies which include: objectivity and subjectivity; etic (outsider) and emic (insider) research; generalizable and context-specific research; focus and breadth; and level of depth. These issues are introduced in terms relevant to all branches of organizational studies. Their particular application to cultural studies is also discussed here. These disputes are usually framed as struggles between opposing terms — dichotomies, such as ‘objectivity and subjectivity’ or ‘etic and emic’.

Keywords: organizational culture theory; social sciences; objectivity; subjectivity; etic research; emic research

Article.  11736 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Research Methods

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