This book is a practical guide to “reading” the culture of organizations and to understanding the implications of culture for organizational effectiveness. Sharing their experiences from over 25 years of consulting and teaching, the authors make the process of cultural analysis practical and applicable. Beginning with an explanation of the theories of organizational culture, the book provides guidance on collecting information, leading students through qualitative research methods of observation, interviewing, and analyzing written texts. Students come away equipped to apply cultural insights to fostering diversity, supporting organizational change, making leadership more dynamic, understanding the link between ethics and culture, and achieving personal growth.

Key Features

Application activities are integrated throughout each chapter: Inviting students to apply the concepts learned, these activities can also be used in class or for assignments.; Four contexts chapters contain topical cases and examples: These chapters demonstrate the value of cultural analysis as students consider the implications for change, ethics, diversity, and leadership.; Includes numerous real-life examples: Based on the authors' extensive consulting experience, these examples help students see the material applied in context.; NEW! Expanded discussion of ethics with related cases, and sections on multicultural organizations, generational diversity, the use of dialogue groups, and intercultural training bring the text thoroughly up to date.

Introduction: Setting the Stage

Introduction: Setting the stage

All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.

—Shakespeare, 1564–1616, As You Like It, Burchell (Ed.), 1954, p. 42


  • Reflect on the pervasiveness of organizations in our lives
  • State the goal of cultural analysis
  • Apply guides for selecting an organization for analysis

Stage Terms:

  • Organizational culture
  • Cultural analysis
  • Organization
  • Organizational performance

Cradle to Grave

When we ask students to name and describe an organization, they often first think of a workplace they have been a part of as an adult. However, by focusing on workplaces, we miss the great variety of organizations that shape and define us throughout our lives. Our first experiences in organizations were like many ...

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