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Chapter 3: Hypotheses Development

Organizational Culture as Antecedent of Work Roles

According to the interdependent role-systems model (Graen, 1976),

organizational culture is among the organizational factors that determine the set of role

demands placed on a specific individual. Katz & Kahn (1978) also emphasized the

importance of organizational factors in determining roles and argued that roles are the

cognitive linking mechanisms between organizational stimuli and individuals because

they “confront” organizational members with the system’s expectations (1978: 220).

Organizational culture research specifically suggests that organizational culture

establishes shared norms and expectations throughout the organization (Cooke &

Lafferty, 1986; Cooke & Szumal, 2000; Denison & Mishra, 1995; Schein, 1985) and the

sensemaking literature suggests that people construct their perceptions of the world by

making sense of a socially-constructed environment (Weick, 1995). Organizational

culture permeates and defines the organizational environment, providing a means for the

organization and its leadership to communicate its expectations to organizational

members (Ashforth, 1985).

An important assumption of the organizational culture literature examining the

link between culture and effectiveness is that culture motivates and guides employee

behaviors by establishing norms and expectations. To date no research has empirically

examined the process through which culture may influence behaviors. Applying a role

theory and sensemaking perspective on behaviors in a social context, I propose that

culture provides the system of meaning, which informs the roles that individuals in the

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