Organizational Culture

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ALFRED

P.

WORKING PAPER SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:

A DYNAMIC MODEL

EDGAR H. SCHEIN

WP#1412-83

FEBRUARY 1983

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 02139

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:

A DYNAMIC MODEL

EDGAR H. SCHEIN

WP#1412-83

FEBRUARY 1983

ly 18/83

0086H

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE:

A DYNAMIC MODEL^

Edgar H. Schein Sloan School of Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology

January, 1983

-1-

Introductlon
The

purpose

of

this

paper

Is

to

describe
is

and
on
a

argue
a

for

a

formal
of
of

model

of

organizational
and

culture
1

which
will

built

dynamic

model

learning

group

dynamics.

present

formal
of

definition
the

organizational culture and then elaborate each element

definition

as a way of explicating the implications of this way of thinking.

My

purpose

in

approaching
for

the

concept

in

this

manner
cultures

is

to

lay

a

conceptual

foundation

analyzing

organizational

which

will

make it possible for different observers and students of organizations to

begin to use a common frame of reference.

The approach

taken here

falls

into what Sanday (1979) would call the "holistic" approach, as distin-

guished from the "semlotic" or "behavioral," though
taking
a

I

hope to show that by

dynamic

evolutionary

point

of

view
I

one

can

incorporate

in

a

useful way all three of these approaches,

am making the assumption that

one needs to know more than the "shared understandings" which the semlotic

view advocates, in that even if we understand an organization well enough to live in it, we do not necessarily understand how an organization got

to

be that way, or where

it to

is headed in the

future.

I

also believe that we

cannot
have
a

really

begin

manage

or

change

organiiy in a few key places.

.noLt

CHitpifte

oCC'cuiL

•>!

these

ideas and

their

iiipiication

with

more

ttior;.uf;b

docaututii' Ion

is currently in preparatior. iu book form,
2.

An application
acr.'ss

of

these

ideas

to

the

study
oi

of

(;rgr.ni,?,-iti



n:;

cultuies, as contrasted with the culture
in

otj^vinlr.rit I'ii-s

can
ira J

be

found

Evan

(1976,

Cb.

15),
In

Other

studie^i

of

cros;i-cu

I

I

coDiparlBons

are not

reviewed

detail here,

e,g,,

Hofscerle,

198'):

England, 1975,

-22-
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