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Engineering Culture: Control and Commitment in a High-Tech Corporation Paperback – August 28, 2006

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1592135462 ISBN-10: 1592135463 Edition: Revised

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"this is one of the finest ethnographies of an organization culture I have read." Administrative Science Quarterly "This book provides a much needed balance to the organizational-culture literature that is sweeping the organizational-behavior field and from there making its way into popular culture. The book presents an important account and perhaps an important warning." Paul Dimaggio, professor of sociology, Princeton University "Kunda finds a dark side to the new management desire to 'bind employees' hearts and minds to the corporate interest.'... The pervasive employee response is irony--acceptance and detachment at the same time. Thus the culture undermines itself." --Sloan Management Review "Using detailed descriptions of everyday rituals and interactions in which the 'corporate culture' is brought to life, as well as excerpts of in-depth interviews, the author portrays vividly the tension caused by managerial control and the forms of individual experience it produces." --Science Books & Films "[Engineering Culture] is a wonderfully ironic account of corporate life in the fast lanes of the high-tech trades... Kunda's display of the emotional underlife of organizational fun-and-games is a most revealing one." --John Van Maanen, MIT

From the Publisher

An analysis of corporate culture from the inside

Culture Section Book Award, American Sociological Association

AAUP Book Jacket Award --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press; Revised edition (August 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592135463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592135462
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "candrews@socy.umd.edu" on July 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book provides an excellent portrayal (though an ethnographic study) of a company which utilizes corporate culture as a means of control. The company expends great energy at inculcating an ideology that results in the employees putting the company and their work at it above all else, exhibited not only in discourse, but in failed marriages and overtime. This text illustrates how employees are converted into missionaires who will follow productions schedules and management strategies with religious zeal, oblivious to their personal lives and the cost of these new commitments. It would be interesting to see what these types of companies are doing today to manipulate and extract full faith and commitment from employees. A must read for software engineers and those who study organizations and org. psych.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Raquel Puente on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Kunda in his book explains that culture could be used as a powerful weapon that the organization uses against the workers to manipulate and finally control them, reaching the organization's goals. The author supports this idea through the study of the High Technologies Corporation (HTC) case, a "state of the art" company that designs, develops, manufactures, sells, and services a number of popular high-tech products. The company has been a high-tech success story through three decades of existence. According with Kunda, culture is a set of rules that support the relationship between the company and the people, specifically it is compound by rules for behaviors, thoughts and emotions. The conformation of this set is carried out by the interaction within workers and between the company, it means that each individual within the company could be affecting the organization culture (interactive effect). Kunda explains that the company sees the culture as a reengineering process, where it have to be redesigns and maintained to get the goals of the company. On another way, control is the effect to internalize and institutionalize the set of rules to get involve and part of the organization. Once obtained this level, the worker will be internally committed, strongly identified with company's goals, and intrinsically satisfied by his or her work; therefore, he or she will not need the company to be coercive with them to play his or her own role in the job. A company uses rituals as the machinery to model the culture. These rituals in HTC are conformed by structural speeches, presentations, meetings, lectures, parties, team and inter-group meetings and training workshops.Read more ›
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Recommended in better understanding culture and how it can control companies and the lives of many people who work in them. This book gets into the details of the culture of an engineering company which ultimately drove many of the employees to put their work first, before anything else in their lives. It's a great book for leaders of small and large teams.
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I read this book after hearing a Kunda lecture. He's informative and engaging, and I've been able to apply the learnings from this book to frequently-occurring business situations. A good read!
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