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Engineering Culture: Control and Commitment in a High-Tech Corporation Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1592135462 ISBN-10: 1592135463 Edition: Revised

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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: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 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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9 of 14 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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pecos Bill on July 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great read for anyone considering how to integrate team, new employees, acquisitions and management fit. We start out learning what culture is and how each company has culture at the smallest levels, and how productivity can be enhanced or hindered by how management deals with culture. The book goes on to discuss how difficult it is to change culture and when an attempt is made, management from all levels needs to believe and act on this change. The book goes on to mention how actions are louder than words and management needs to massage culture to get the highest performance of it's people.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By punafish on August 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
Would love to buy it. But only if you put it on Kindle. If you can translate it into so many different languages surely you can get it uploaded and on line, no? Sounds like a win-win proposition for all.
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5 of 14 people found the following review helpful By talkaboutquality VINE VOICE on November 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Let an anthropologist walk around freely in a high-tech company, studying what people say to each other and why, and you get "ethnography of corporate culture". I suppose the reason companies allow (or even invite) this kind of study is to see if their attempts to mold corporate culture for better productivity really work.

Simple answer: no, it doesn't. You can try to manage culture, and control people's thoughts and reactions, but if you do it strongly enough to have an effect, people will notice. It can create cynicism as well as emotional conflict as people try to reconcile membership in the company culture with their feelings of being manipulated. Kunda is thorough, and honest -- transparently describing his own methods in an epilogue chapter.

I gave it a 3 only because I found it a long read to read about someone else's corporate culture. Better, perhaps, to take time here and there to think about our own.
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