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Cultures in Organizations: Three Perspectives [Paperback]

Joanne Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

December 3, 1992 0195071646 978-0195071641 First Edition
This is essentially a textbook in organizational culture. But, unlike most textbooks authors, Professor Martin is making a contribution to the field in that she focuses on a way of looking at the field that is new. In the past, those who have studied organizational culture have usually done so from one of three perspectives: 1) "Integration" - all members of an organization share a consensus of values and purpose; 2) "Differentiation" - there are frequent conflicts among groups in organizations with limited consensus; 3) "Fragmentation" - there is considereable ambiguity in organizations with consensus coexisting with conflict, and much change among groups. The author argues that the best way to view organizations is to see them through all three perspectives - each revealing a different kind of truth. The author has done extensive research studying the organizational culture of a large California high technology firm (which is not identified in the book). She interviewed many employees at different levels and in different departments, and used surveys to extend the interviews. Her work is like an ethnography in which the researcher's own perspectives and cultural norms have to be accounted for. As a result, the book explores what she learned from her studies and how she learned it.

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Editorial Reviews


"Undoubtedly one of the most intelligent and coherent works to date on the topic of organizational culture."--Academy of Management Review

"A truly insightful look which explains culture, organizations and a post-modern perspective in a clean and interesting manner."--Don R. Osborn, Bellarmine University

"Great book! It's going right onto my organizational theory seminar required reading."--Howard Aldrick, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Joanne Martin is an astute and insightful analyst of organizational culture, who continually probes below the surface to reveal the reality buried beneath official pronouncements."--Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of When Giants Learn to Dance

"A pioneering effort by a leading student of organizational culture to bring order to the maze of perspectives that this research area has thus far comprised....An insightful and articulate volume that will challenge scholars at the same time it edifies students. One need not accept the author's theoretical relativism in order to appreciate and embrace the practical reflexivity that she advocates and that the book exemplifies. This is a book that the organizational-culture field has needed."--Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University

"A work of intellectual depth and synthesis enlivened by a direct and personal writing style."--Andrew M. Pettigrew, Warwick Business School

"Every social scientist should read this book. Joanne Martin makes Ockham's razor as obsolete as Gillette made the straight razor. She shows why clear, simple theories block scientific progress, and she shows us a better way to theorize."--William H. Starbuck, Stern School of Business, New York University

"Martin has mastered the elusive concept of organizational culture and shows us how to think about it and think with it. This book should become the conceptual benchmark for future studies of culture."--Karl E. Weick, The University of Michigan

"The strength--and educational value--of this book is that it gives the reader the comfort of a solid theoretical framework and, at the same time, the desire to go beyond it."--Pasquale Gagliardi, Istituto Studi Direzionale

"One of the best references I've seen."--Velma M. Guillory-Taylor, Sonoma State University

About the Author

Joanne Martin is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business and also, by courtesy, in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. Author or co-author of four books and numerous articles, she has served as Chair of the Organization and Management Theory Division and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Management, and is a fellow both of the American Psychological Society and of the American Psychological Association.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (December 3, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195071646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195071641
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenge to the idea that the CEO creates culture February 26, 2012
Uses studies of an unnamed Californian tech company to offer three cultural perspectives.
One is the intergregationist view, common in many studies of business culture as one that sees an organisation's culture driven by its CEO and senior management.
The second is the differentiational view (Martin's favoured perspective), where an organisation is seen as primarily having many interacting sub-cultures.
The third, the fragmentation perspective is almost an anti-cultural view that down plays the whole concept of culture.
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