August, 2007

Towards a Corporate Cultural Theory

  • Anthony Evans

    Assistant Professor of Economics, ESCP-EAP European School of Management
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Despite the significance and impact of corporate culture upon organisational performance, rigorous ethnographic techniques are relatively absent in the management literature. This won't do-culture is too important to be left undefined and unrefined, and analysts need a deeper awareness of the anthropological and sociological frameworks that can clarify cultural analysis. This working paper intends to outline the Grid/Group framework (which has subsequently become known as "Cultural Theory" (CT)) from the perspective of corporations, to demonstrate not only why culture matters, but also how it can be analysed. It will demonstrate the relationship between the cultural factors listed, to show how they complement and conflict with each other. In this working paper, Anthony Evans builds this case in three phases. Firstly, he introduces Cultural Theory in the context of corporate management to provide a solid theoretical framework for what follows. Secondly, he will looks at "ideal-type organisations," which are conceptual exercises designed to clarify the salient characteristics of the four cultures. Thirdly, he uses these ideal types to shed light on the following important corporate phenomena: dealing with the whistleblower; the hidden costs of highly regulated industries; the use of internal markets; and coping with nihilism.