Organizational Culture: Mapping the Terrain


Joanne Martin

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  • Foundations for Organizational Science: A Sage Publications Series

    Series Editor

    David Whetten, Brigham Young University


    Peter J. Frost, University of British Columbia

    Anne S. Huff, University of Colorado and Cranfield University (UK)

    Benjamin Schneider, University of Maryland

    M. Susan Taylor, University of Maryland

    Andrew Van de Ven, University of Minnesota

    The FOUNDATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL SCIENCE series supports the development of students, faculty, and prospective organizational science professionals through the publication of texts authored by leading organizational scientists. Each volume provides a highly personal, hands-on introduction to a core topic or theory and challenges the reader toÿ20explore promising avenues for future theory development and empirical application.

    Books in This Series


    Edited by L. L. Cummings and Peter J. Frost


    Karl E. Weick


    W. Richard Scott


    Peter J. Frost and M. Susan Taylor

    RESEARCHERS HOOKED ON TEACHING: Noted Scholars Discuss the Synergies of Teaching and Research

    Rae Andr, and Peter J. Frost

    THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DECISION MAKING: People in Organizations

    Lee Roy Beach


    Robert Folger and Russell Cropanzano

    RECRUITING EMPLOYEES: Individual and Organizational Perspectives

    Alison E. Barber


    Arthur P. Brief

    IDENTITY IN ORGANIZATIONS: Building Theory Through Conversations

    Edited by David Whetten and Paul Godfrey

    PERSONNEL SELECTION: A Theoretical Approach

    Neal Schmitt and David Chan

    BUILDING STRATEGY FROM THE MIDDLE: Reconceptualizing Strategy Process

    Steven W. Floyd and Bill Wooldridge

    MISSING ORGANIZATIONAL LINKAGES: Tools for Cross-Level Research

    Paul S. Goodman


    Lex Donaldson

    ORGANIZATIONAL STRESS: A Review and Critique of Theory, Research, and Applications

    Cary L. Cooper, Philip J. Dewe, and Michael P. O'Driscoll


    W. Richard Scott

    ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE: Mapping the Terrain

    Joanne Martin


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    List of Tables and Figures

    Introduction to the Series

    The title of this series, Foundations for Organizational Science (FOS), denotes a distinctive focus. FOS books are educational aids for mastering the core theories, essential tools, and emerging perspectives that constitute the field of organizational science (broadly conceived to include organizational behavior, organizational theory, human resource management, and business strategy). Our ambitious goal is to assemble the “essential library” for members of our professional community.

    The vision for the series emerged from conversations with several colleagues, including Peter Frost, Anne Huff, Rick Mowday, Benjamin Schneider, Susan Taylor, and Andy Van de Ven. Many common interests emerged from these sympathetic encounters, including enhancing the quality of doctoral education by providing broader access to the master teachers in our field, “bottling” the experience and insights of some of the founding scholars in our field before they retire, and providing professional development opportunities for colleagues seeking to broaden their understanding of the rapidly expanding subfields within organizational science.

    Our unique learning objectives are reflected in an unusual set of instructions to FOS authors. They are encouraged to (a) “write the way they teach,” framing their book as an extension of their teaching notes rather than as the expansion of a handbook chapter; (b) pass on their “craft knowledge” to the next generation of scholars, making them wiser and not just smarter; (c) share with their “virtual students and colleagues” the insider tips and best bets for research that are normally reserved for one-on-one mentoring sessions; and (d) make the complexity of their subject matter comprehensible to nonexperts so that readers can share their puzzlement, fascination, and intrigue.

    We are proud of the group of highly qualified authors who have embraced the unique educational perspective of our “Foundations” series. We encourage your suggestions for how these books can better satisfy your learning needs—as a newcomer to the field preparing for prelims or developing a dissertation proposal or as an established scholar seeking to broaden your knowledge and proficiency.

    DavidA.Whetten Series Editor


    Any lengthy book gets written with much help. An exceptionally generous group of friends and anonymous reviewers undertook the gargantuan task of critiquing an early draft of the manuscript. Peter Frost offered, as always, a mix of support and keen insight. Dave Whetton, the editor of the Foundations for Organizational Science series, did as I asked and challenged my assumptions and assertions as hard as he could. He did so with panache and cogency, and even after my greatest efforts to respond fully, his arguments continue to ring in my ears. Ralph Stablein and Walter Nord helped me to maintain a critical perspective and sharpened my discussion of qualitative methods. Gideon Kunda spent hours reading and arguing about the ideas in this book, increasing my awareness, and making it very difficult for me to settle for easy answers to tough problems. Deb Meyerson, coauthor of articles that were the genesis of the three-perspective view of culture, was again a partner in this endeavor. She found what I had not said, what I should have said, and what I should not say. A second group of helpful friends gave detailed critiques of chapters in their areas of expertise: Mary Jo Hatch, Hazel Markus, Michael Morris, Denise Rousseau, and Majken Schultz. The diversity of views that these critics offered made this a much better book, although perhaps to their credit they might disown some of the views I express.

    This book was also written with the help of people who never saw the manuscript but whose intellectual ghosts sat on my shoulders as I wrote. Linda Smircich and Marta Calás, through their work and through memories of the long talks we have had throughout the years, constantly pulled me toward more radical theories and methods. This was exceptionally valuable because I am usually surrounded by more conservative intellectual influences. John Van Maanen's work has taught me that it is essential that a cultural portrait capture the complex diversity of views held by lower-level employees. John also writes like an angel, albeit an angel with an eye for irony, an ear for what is not said, and a voice unlike any other. Although I did not attain his grace with words, his work encouraged me to try. Ed Schein, one of the fathers of organizational culture research, has taught me with patience and persistence to honor his ideas with the depth of understanding they deserve. In addition to these guiding ghosts, I thank the doctoral student-collaborators who worked with me on the studies that form the empirical backbone of the cultural theory presented in this book: Alan Wilkins, who first introduced me to the topic of culture; Caren Siehl, Melanie Powers, Michael Boehm, Sim Sitkin, Martha Feldman, Mary Jo Hatch, Kathy Knopoff, and Christine Beckman; and Deb Meyerson, my most frequent coauthor, co-conspirator, and friend. These people have been my teachers.

    The references section at the end of this volume is long enough to be a book in itself. Lea Richards, my faculty assistant, spent long days tracking down disappearing citations and doing all the unrewarding, picky work involved in constructing such a reference list. Linda Bethel typed and drew the most difficult figures and tables and also gave Lea much needed help when the references needed proofing. The Graduate School of Business at Stanford University has been consistently generous in its support of my research and writing, not in the least by attracting such fine doctoral students.

    On a more personal note, I have two Beaux to thank. The younger one, Beau M. Sheil, is my son. His love of life and fine sense of humor are a pleasure and a reminder of what is important. For decades, my husband, the other Beau Sheil, has been a constant source of love and encouragement (including much appreciated computer expertise and proofreading for this manuscript). He is the rock that supports all else in my life, including this book. Thank you all.


    To Beau A. Sheil, my husband, and Beau M. Sheil, my son, who constantly remind me of what is important.

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    Name Index

    About the Author

    Joanne Martin is the Fred H. Merrill Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, where she also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Sociology. She received a PhD in social psychology from Harvard University. She has served in various positions, including as a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Management. In August 2000, she received the Academy's Distinguished Educator of the Year award. She also serves on the board of directors of Consulting Psychologist Press and on various advisory boards. She is author of more than 60 articles and five books, including Cultures in Organizations: Three Perspectives (1992) and Refraining Organizational Culture (coedited with P. Frost, L. Moore, M. Louis, & C. Lundberg; Sage, 1991). Her current research interests include both culture and gender.

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