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Organizational Culture and Leadership (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership) 3rd Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787975975
ISBN-10: 0787975974
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Editorial Reviews


“This easy-to-read, practical guide is packed full of ideas, tools and techniques for influencing culture…” (Health Service Journal, 21st October 2004)

"Professional groups maintain their authority by…having specialised language, rituals and rules (Schein, 1992)." (Nursing Times, September 2006)

From the Back Cover

In this third edition of his classic book, Edgar Schein shows how to transform the abstract concept of culture into a practical tool that managers and students can use to understand the dynamics of organizations and change.

Organizational pioneer Schein updates his influential understanding of culture–what it is, how it is created, how it evolves, and how it can be changed. Focusing on today’s business realities, Schein draws on a wide range of contemporary research to redefine culture, offers new information on the topic of occupational cultures, and demonstrates the crucial role leaders play in successfully applying the principles of culture to achieve organizational goals. He also tackles the complex question of how an existing culture can be changed–one of the toughest challenges of leadership. The result is a vital resource for understanding and practicing organizational effectiveness.

Praise for Prior Editions of

"Worth reading again and again and again."

"An organizational development pioneer uses an anthropological approach to address a leader’s role in shaping group and organizational dynamics."
–Knowledge Management

"[Schein] is, to use an overworked word, a guru, the recognized expert in the field."
–Inside Business


Product Details

  • Series: J-B US non-Franchise Leadership (Book 211)
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 3 edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787975974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787975975
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lars Bergstrom VINE VOICE on October 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Containing a thorough background treatment of how to think about and measure culture along with a series of case studies, this book is a fairly comprehensive tome on the topic of culture. The analyses of both DEC and a major drug company really helped to drive home the depth of analysis required and the complexity of creating an action plan to change culture in a large organization.

However, what I was hoping to get out of this book was a framework not only for understanding culture, but also for affecting change within a smaller organization. This book fell short in that part, and seemed to imply that the best course of action is to:

1) Find a strong leader to take us through a crisis who makes sure that we follow their ways. Success will cause adoption.

2) Hire a consultant to study us on-site for an extended period of time, after which they will suggest major restructurings.

3) Split up groups and reform under leaders who have the attributes you want to encourage.

I was hoping for some form of prescription for bottoms-up, incremental change or something else similar as well as a more accessible set of tools for analysis, but didn't get that. Again, quite the comprehensive book on the background of culture - I feel much better educated on the subject. However, it didn't leave me with any new ideas on how to safely encourage specific cultural changes.
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Format: Paperback
For novices to org. culture, this book takes you on a thorough journey into the corners of what constitutes an organization's culture. My favorite take-away is that Schein made an abstract concept much more concrete. He creates a nice framework to view org. culture, gives examples continuously and provides many nuggets of knowledge. Plenty of useful references are given as well.

Perhaps because of my specific research, I unfortunately found myself with sporadic tabs through the book to catch the aforementioned nuggets. My unfulfilled hope was to find a more meaningful figure in which to place all the various interactions and cultural process (but perhaps that's for us other researchers to do). More up-to-date examples would also be useful.

In the end, a great read and even better reference book (but you'll have to do the organizing).
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Format: Hardcover
I first read Organizational Culture and Leadership more than a decade ago and recently re-read it after reading Organizational Development, edited by Joan V. Gallos and to which Edgar H. Schein provided the Foreword ("Observations on the State of Organization Development") and to which he contributed two articles, "Facilitate Process Interventions: Task Processes in Groups" and "So How Can You Assess Your Corporate Culture?" As Schein notes in the Foreword, the core of organization development (OD) has a number of elements that include "a concern with process, a focus on change, and an implicit as well as explicit concern for organizational effectiveness." I know of no one who has made more and more valuable contributions to the field of OD than has Schein. He is OD's pre-eminent knowledge leader.

He organizes the material in Organizational Culture and Leadership within three Parts:

Organizational Culture and Leadership Defined

Excerpt: "When one brings culture to the level of an organization and even down to groups within the organization, one can see clearly how culture is created, embedded, evolved, and ultimately manipulated, and, at the same time, how culture constrains, stabilizes, and provides structure and meaning to the group members. These dynamic processes of culture creation and management are the essence of leadership and make one realize that leadership and culture are two sides of the same coin...Leadership [must possess the ability and willingness] to step outside the culture that created the leader and start evolutionary change processes that are more adaptive. This ability to perceive the limitations of one's own culture and to evolve the culture adaptively is the essence and ultimate challenge of leadership.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Edgar Schein is the recognized leader in organizational culture these days. While most focus on his famous onion metaphor of culture with three layers of artifacts, espoused beliefs, and basic assumptions, this problematic metaphor must be set aside to see the deeper insights of this book. Those who focus on the onion metaphor get trapped in a static metaphor for a more dynamic concept. I don't think Schein intended organizational culture to be seen as static. I have the more recent version on my Kindle, but bought this earlier version to have a paper copy. The differences between the last two versions are not as large as the price difference.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book because my employer, like many large multi-national companies, is dealing with cultural change and leadership issues involving the development of a new global infrastructure to more efficiently engage and win large mega-deals requiring resources from multiple country locations. This book very clearly describes the various cultural issues and the important role of leadership in cross-cultural integration. It covers theory behind cultural behavior, but more importantly, it provides real-world insight into cultural dynamics. Moreover, it provides clear tactical advice for assessing your own company's cultural dynamics. It provides good, sound leadership advice in the context of cultural integration and change management.
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