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Chapter 2: Theoretical Concepts

Organizational Culture

Defining organizational culture. The term culture, as defined by the school of

cognitive anthropology, consists of the psychological structures, which guide individuals’

and groups’ behavior. For instance, Goodenough who is representative of that school of

thought, pointed out that the culture of society: ”consists of whatever it is one to know or

believe in order to operate in a manner acceptable to its members” (In Geertz, 1973,

p.11). The term organizational culture has a similar meaning, only, it is applied to the

concept of organization instead of society. For instance, Eliot Jaques provides the

following description of the culture of a factory:

“The culture of the factory is its customary and traditional way of thinking and of

doing things, which is shared to a greater or lesser extent by all its members, and which

new members must learn, and at least partially accept… Culture is part of the second

nature of those who have been with the firm for a long time.” (1951: 251).

Culture, thus, consists of the set of assumptions, values, norms, symbols and

artifacts within the organization, which convey meaning to employees regarding what is

expected and shape individual and group behavior (Enz, 1988; Hatch, 1993; O’Reilly et

al, 1991; Rousseau, 1990). Schein (1985) defined culture as, “A pattern of shared basic

assumptions that the group learned as it solved problems of external adaptation and

internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to

be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to

these problems.” (p.12). Martin and Siehl (1983) viewed culture as the glue, which holds

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