Theory Synthesis Essay

4137 words - 17 pages

PUB 502

I. Theories of Organizational Culture and Change

Organizational Culture and Change theories were first introduced between the 1950’s and 1960’s, but gained an unsavory reputation in the 1980’s. The origins of this theory came from the realization that U.S. companies and government agencies had lost their competitiveness and agility during the last three decades of the 20th century (Shafritz, Ott, Jang, 2011, pg. 338). This was in addition to the understanding that organizational change required more than structural or functional tweaking but instead that that organizational cultures had to be ...view middle of the document...

, 2011, pg.338). Thus, organizations must replace these cultures with cultures where horizontal relations, open and accessible networks, flexibility, responsiveness, individual and group empowerment, diversity, and customer service are valued (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg. 338). In order to do so one must understand the theory of organizational culture, the organizational culture perspective, as well as the existing culture of an organization (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg. 338).
The Organizational Culture perspective is a set of organization theories with its own assumptions about organizational realities and relationships (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg. 338). This perspective challenges the basic views of the more rational perspectives (Modern structural, organization economics, and systems/environment theories). For example, how organizations make decisions and how and why organizations and the people in them act as they do (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg. 339). The organizational theory perspective assumes that many organizational behaviors and decisions are not determined by rational analysis (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg.339). Instead, organizational culture theorists believe that they are predetermined by the patterns of basic assumptions held by members of an organization (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg. 339). Meaning that “reality” is established by and among the people in organizations in other words the organizational culture (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg. 342). It is believed that the reason these patterns exist and continue to influence behavior is because they have repeatedly led people to make decisions that worked in the past (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg.339). Overall, the organizational culture perspective believes that the modern structural, organizational economic, and systems/environment schools of organization theory are using the wrong tools in their attempts to understand and predict organizational behavior (Shafritz et al., 340).
There are several theorists that contributed to the early writings of organizational culture theory. They include, Dr. W. Edward Denning who took the 1950 trip to Japan and succeeded in convincing a number of Japanese executives to adopt his approach to statistical quality control (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg. 343). Elliot Jacques who wrote The Changing Culture of a Factory in 1951, Herbert Kaufman, Becker, Greer, Hughes, and Strauss, John Van Maanen, and much more. Thomas Sergiovanni and John Corbally, Edgar Schein, Vija Sathe, Ralph Kilman, and Gareth Morgan however, contributed to the first comprehensive, theoretically based, integrative writings on organizational culture and these writings were published between 1984 and 1986 (Shafritz et al., 2011, pg.338). For this synthesis I will focus on the works of five authors: Edgar Schein, Joanne Martin, William G. Ouchi, and Diana Whitney.
Edgar Schien wrote The Concept of Organizational Culture: Why Bother. His definition of organizational culture consists of a model that has...

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