Organizational Culture

provides a sweeping interdisciplinary overview of the organizational culture literature, showing how and why researchers have disagreed about such fundamental questions as: What is organizational culture? What are the major theoretical perspectives used to understand cultures in organizations? How can a researcher decipher the political interests inherent in research that claims to be political neutral – merely “descriptive”?

Expert author Joanne Martin examines a variety of conflicting ways to study cultures in organizations, including different theoretical orientations, political ideologies (managerial, critical, and apparently neutral); methods (qualitative, quantitative, and hybrid approaches), and styles of writing about culture (ranging from traditional to postmodern and experimental). In addition, she offers a guide for those who might want to study culture themselves, addressing such issues as: What qualitative, quantitative, and hybrid methods can be used to study culture? What standards are used when reviewers evaluate these various types of research? What innovative ways of writing about culture have been introduced? And finally, what are the most important unanswered questions for future organizational culture researchers?

Intended for graduate students and established scholars who need to understand, value, and utilize highly divergent approaches to the study of culture. The book will also be useful for researchers who do not study culture, but who are interested in the ways political interests affect scholarly writing, the ways critical and managerial approaches to theory differ, the use and justification of qualitative methods in domains where quantitative methods are the norm.

The Culture Wars

The culture wars

To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

—Blake (1863/2000, p. 285)

Some researchers choose to study a single cultural context in great detail and depth, in effect seeing the world in a grain of sand—that is, they study culture with a sample size of one cultural context. Other researchers react with disdain to such case studies and prefer to study many cultures, even if that means understanding less about each one. Such differences in methods choices occur because cultural researchers make radically different assumptions regarding fundamental issues. To further complicate matters, some cultural researchers (myself included) have changed their positions on these issues ...

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