Organizational Culture: the Case of Turkish Construction Industry

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Organizational culture: the case of Turkish construction industry Ela Oney-Yazıcı, Heyecan Giritli, Gulfer Topcu-Oraz and Emrah Acar Department of Architecture, Division of Project and Construction Management, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey Abstract

Purpose – The main stimulus of this study is to examine the cultural profile of construction organizations within the context of Turkish construction industry. Design/methodology/approach – This study is a part of a cross-cultural research, initiated by CIB W112 (Working Commission W112 of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction), concurrently ongoing in 15 different countries. Data were collected from 107 contracting and 27 architectural firms, by means of a questionnaire based on OCAI (Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument), a well-known and widely used measurement tool developed by Cameron and Quinn (1999). Findings – The findings show that the Turkish construction industry has been dominated by firms with a mixture of clan and hierarchy cultures. In addition, the analysis reported here indicates cultural differences at organizational level in terms of firm type, size, and age. Originality/value – This paper contributes to the understanding of organizational culture in the construction industry by providing empirical evidence from the Turkish construction industry. As future research direction, it highlights the need of a cross-cultural comparison among different countries, and an investigation of the effects of cultural profiles of the organizational members on organizational culture. Keywords Organizational culture, Construction industry, Turkey Paper type Research paper

Turkish construction industry 519

Introduction Understanding of organizational culture is fundamental to examine what goes on in organizations, how to run them and how to improve them (Schein, 1992). Organizational culture is defined as the shared assumptions, beliefs and “normal behaviors” (norms) present in an organization. Most organizational scholars and observers recognize that organizational culture has a powerful effect on the performance and long-term effectiveness of organizations. Cameron and Quinn (1999) propose that what differentiates successful firms from others is their organizational culture. With the worldwide globalization trends, special attention has been given to the study of organizations and their cultures. Empirical studies of organizational culture have been carried out across various countries and industries (Hofstede, 1997; Trompenaars and Hampton-Turner, 1998; Cameron and Quinn, 1999; see among others). In comparison there seems to be a limited number of published studies related The funding for this study was provided by the Istanbul Technical University, Turkey and is gratefully acknowledged.

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management Vol. 14 No. 6, 2007 pp. 519-531 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0969-9988 DOI 10.1108/09699980710828996

ECAM 14,6

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to the subject in project-based industries such as construction (Ankrah and Langford, 2005; Low and Shi, 2001; Zhang, and Liu, 2006). After reviewing research on organizational culture, Ankrah and Langford (2005) have concluded that there is a need to become more aware of the importance of this phenomenon and its impact on organizational performance in the construction industry. The main reasons for the growing importance of the organizational culture can be explained by the internationalization of the construction markets (Low and Shi, 2001), and the fragmented nature of the industry (Hillebrant, 2000). It is a well-known fact that international construction firms have faced many problems due to conflicts, confrontations, misunderstandings, and the differences in ways of doing business with other cultures (Gould and Joyce, 2000)....
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