On reading any management or organisational psychology book, it would seem that organisational culture is a core construct of the discipline, taken for granted as essential for understanding organisational activity and change.

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Core question: Why is organisational culture so popular?

 

On reading any management or organisational psychology book, it would seem that organisational culture is a core construct of the discipline, taken for granted as essential for understanding organisational activity and change. But, organisational culture only entered management discourse during the 1980s and has remained a core and popular concept ever since. Why is this?

 

Some ideas:

·         Org Cult is popular because it is efficacious (i.e., it works!) – it relates to organisationally salient (i.e., important) outcomes such as productivity, competitiveness. What is the evidence for this assertion? Alvesson (1998) describes this explanation as an “intra-scientific” reason.

·         Org Cult is popular because it serves the interests of all those involved in developing and applying it; in what Alvesson (1990) described as a “market” with producers and buyers and, today, with many consultants brokering (i.e., negotiating) the relationship between producers and users. 

·         Org Cult is popular because it is like a basic “fashion” item in management rhetoric (i.e., persuasive communications) – always in style but ever-changing so that those discussing it seem to always be “on trend”. 

 

You may agree with all of the above, or none, but you should engage with or at least consider all of them. You may have many more ideas on the topic or none. You may decide to ask those in the world of work about it, or not. Your objective is to compile a well-substantiated response to the core question, explaining the sustained popularity of organisational culture. You will be evaluated on the strength of the analysis you present and the way that you present it.

 

Your assignment will be graded according to the grading schedule, so please examine the narrative descriptions for each mark in the schedule.

I strongly recommend that you read Alvesson (1990) and anything you can find on the effectiveness of organisational culture:   Alvesson, M. (1990). On the popularity of organisational culture. Acta Sociologica, 33(1), 31–49. https://doi.org/10.1177/000169939003300103

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