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   Course Title    Organizational Culture
Lecturer    Alla Anisimova
Institution    Novosibirsk State University
Country    Russia


Course objective

 

The objective of the course is to help students think about organization from a cultural perspective. To reach this goal it is necessary to make students familiar with both theoretical frameworks for understanding organizational culture and with some methodological and practical issues of organizational consulting. The course discusses the origin and development of organizational culture as a field of study and outlines the existing methodological and theoretical approaches to organizational culture. It also attempts to raise discussion on the highly debatable issues of post-modern perspectives on organizational culture and multi-paradigmatic approaches to organizational studies. In addition some aspects of management consulting focused on cultural issues are considered.

 

Role of the course in the overall degree curriculum

 

The course is designed as one of the few optional courses for the students of the 4th and 5th year of education. For those who choose the course, however, the credits received for the course are compulsory and contribute to the overall degree grades.

 

The course “Organizational Culture” is one of the few courses in the curriculum dealing with the issues of organization and management. It supplements such compulsory courses as “Sociology of Organizations”, “Organizational Behaviour” and “Introduction to Management”. At the same time, since the course is focused on the metaphor of culture and its use for organizational analysis the links with cultural anthropology and ethnography are obvious. In the course of the work students revise theories, research methods and meta-theoretical assumptions which they discussed in the other courses from an organizational perspective.

 

Methods used

 

The course consists of lectures and seminars. During the lectures material is presented by the instructor, however students are encouraged to ask questions and to initiate discussion when needed. During the seminars students make presentations on selected topics to supplement and develop issues discussed in the lectures. The reading materials are used as a basis for these presentations. The discussion of issues presented follows the presentation. The class participants are expected to be familiar with the article used for presentation in order to be able to take part in the discussion.

 

The final paper for the course requires conducting case study research in the organization selected by the student. The analysis of organizational culture based on empirical data and theoretical grounds discussed in the course is required for the final paper’s positive grading and successful completion of the course.

 

Course content

 

Week 1.The concept of organizational culture. Origin of organizational study field. Its links with cultural anthropology, organization theory and comparative management.

Readings:

Smircich L. Concepts of Culture and Organizational Analysis, Administrative Science Quarterly, 28 (1983) (pp.339-358)

Yvan Allaire, Mihaela E. Firsirotu “Theories of Organizational Culture”, Organizational Studies, 3, 1984

O.S. Vihansky, A.I. Naumov “Management” (pp.419-429)

Mats Alvesson “Cultural Perspectives on Organizations”, 1993 (pp. 14-26)

 

Week 2. Theories of organizational culture. Different anthropological traditions (cognitive, structuralist, symbolic schools) and conceptualization of organizational culture.

Readings:

Smircich L. Concepts of Culture and Organizational Analysis, Administrative Science Quarterly, 28 (1983) (pp.339-358)

Yvan Allaire, Mihaela E. Firsirotu “Theories of Organizational Culture”, Organizational Studies, 3, 1984

 

Week 3. Sociological paradigms and organizational analysis. Functionalist paradigm vs. interpretive paradigm in organization theory.

Readings:

Gareth MorganParadigm diversity in organizational research” in “The theory and philosophy of organizations” (edited by J. Hassard, D Pym), 1990, (pp13-29)

G. Burrell, G Morgan,“Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis”, 1979

(pp. 23-28)

 

Week 4. Functionalism and interpretivism in organizational culture studies. Culture as a variable. Culture as a root metaphor. The metaphor concept. Metaphors for culture.

Readings:

Mats Alvesson “Cultural Perspectives on Organizations”, 1993 (pp.9-44)

G. Burrell, G Morgan,“Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis”, 1979

(pp. 41-48, 106-118, 227-235, 240-253)

 

Week 5. Functionalist organizational culture studies. Organizational culture and national culture. Work of G. Hofstede, five dimensions of culture.

Readings:

G. Hofstede, “Cultures and Organizations”, 1994.

 

Week 6. Methodological issues in cross-cultural management research.

Readings:

“International and Cross-Cultural management research”, J-C Usunier, 1998

 

Week 7. The interpretive paradigm and the study of organizations. Ethnomethodological approaches to the study of organizational activities. Phenomenology and the study of organizational activities. Culture as a social construction, culture as a “sense-making” process.

Readings:

G. Burrell, G. Morgan, “Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis”, 1979 (pp. 261-275)

“The theory and philosophy of organizations”, 1990, (pp. 97-108),

Berger,Luckmann “The social construction of reality”, 1966

Schutz, A. ”Selected readings”

Smircich L. “Organizations as shared meanings” in “Organizational symbolism”, (1983), Greenwich, CT: JAI Press (pp. 55-65)

Garfinkel, H. “Studies in ethnomethodology”, 1967

 

Week 8. Organizational symbolism.

Readings:

Mats Alvesson “Cultural Perspectives on Organizations”, 1993 (pp. 60-66)

The theory and philosophy of organizations” (edited by J. Hassard, D Pym), 1990, (pp. 83-96)

Pondy, L., Frost, P., Morgan, G “Organizational symbolism”, (1983), Greenwich, CT: JAI Press

 

Week 9. Emancipatory approach to organizational culture, taking work into account.

Readings:

Mats Alvesson “Cultural Perspectives on Organizations”, 1993, (pp. 46-52, 66-70), “The theory and philosophy of organizations” (edited by J. Hassard, D Pym), 1990, (pp. 63-83)

 

Week 10. Integration, differentiation and fragmentation as three perspective approaches to organizational culture analysis (Martin J, Meyerson D.). Basic assumptions and characteristics of the three approaches. Areas of application, advantages and limitations of the three approaches. Three-perspective approach as meta-theoretical construction.

Readings:

Martin, J., Meyerson, D, “Integration, differentiation and ambiguity”,1991

 

Week 11. Methodology of organizational research. Mono-method, complex mono-method. Organizational ethnography. Anthropology of work and fieldwork processes.

Readings:

The theory and philosophy of organizations” (edited by J. Hassard, D Pym), 1990, (pp. 30-44),

Helen Schawartzman, “Ethnography in Organizations”, 1993, SAGE University paper

 

Weeks 12 and 13. Organizational consulting: entering the organization, diagnosing, implementing change.

Readings:

Management consulting (Compilation of readings)

 

Week 14. Post-modern perspective in organizational culture studies, multi-paradigmatic approach to organizational culture studies.

Readings:

The theory and philosophy of organizations” (edited by J. Hassard, D Pym), 1990 (pp. 219-233, 167-197, 233-243)

M. Schultz, M.J. Hatch, “Living with multiple paradigms”, Academy of Management Review, 1996, Vol. 21, No 2, 529-557

J. Martin, P. Frost, “The Organizational Culture War Games: a Struggle for Intellectual Dominance”

 

Grading:

Individual oral presentation at the seminar: 30% of final grade

Final essay based on the individual organizational analysis: 60 % of final grade

Class participation: 10% of final grade 



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