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The Corporate Culture Survival Guide Hardcover – August 17, 2009
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No, it's not. In The Corporate Culture Survival Guide, Edgar Schein reveals how that's merely the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg that managers ignore at the peril of their company's future. Underneath lies the much-harder-to-grasp "essence" of the company, the "learned, shared, tacit assumptions on which people base their daily behavior." These assumptions are learned over time and in different internal and external environments, becoming, as Schein puts it, the "residue of success." As these assumptions influence all aspects of how a company functions, discovering their nature and cause is vital to the success of any new organization-wide venture or strategy. In the second half of the book, Schein illustrates how, using this knowledge, a company's culture can be deliberately created or changed. Supported by numerous case-study examples, his advice is pertinent to startups, mature companies, and blended organizations.
If you're the type of manager that needs a quick-fix solution, with simple catch phrases and an easy Five Step Program to Success, this book is not for you. Nor are the benefits to be gained from acquiring the depth of knowledge and insight needed to understand, work with, and transform your corporate culture. Using intelligent, lucid prose, Schein provides this kind of insight and more; he tells cautionary as well as inspiring tales of what this insight can mean for your company, and offers useful suggestions for putting knowledge into practice. --S. Ketchum --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
In this context, Edgar Schein argues that "The bigger danger in trying to understand culture is to oversimplfy it in our minds". Therefore, according to Schein, instead of say that culture is 'the way we do things around here', 'the rites and rituals of our compay', 'the company climate', 'the reward system', 'our basic values', and so on, a better way to think about culture is to realize that it exists at several 'levels'. Thus, he firstly categorizes culture into three levels (more detailed discussion see Chapter Two):
1. 'Artifacts': These are visible organizational structures and processes (hard to decipher).
2. 'Espoused Values': These are strategies, goals, and philosophies of an organization(espoused justifications).
3. 'Shared Tacit Assumptions': These are unconscious, taken-for-granted beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, and feelings (ultimate source of values and action).
Hence, after reviewing popular views on culture, he abstractly defines culture as the sum total of all the shared, taken-for-granted assumptions that a group has learned throughout its history. And to give a more realistic view of what culture covers, he outlines the areas in which cultural assumptions make a difference as below (more detailed discussion see Chapter Three). At this point, he argues that "cultural assumptions involve not only the internal workings of the organization but, more important, how the organization views itself in relation to its various environments". In other words, culture is deep, extensive, and complex. It covers all aspects of reality and human functioning.
1. External Survival Issues
* Mission, strategy, goals
* Means: structure, systems, processes
* Measurement: error-detection and correction systems
2. Internal Integration Issues
* Common language and concepts
* Group boundaries and identity
* The nature of authority and relationships
* Allocation of rewards and status
3. Deeper Underlying Assumptions
* Human relationship to nature
* The nature of reality and truth
* The nature of human nature
* The nature of human relationships
* The nature of time and space
Within this general principles, he examines all aspects of culture throughout the book, and finally he argues that "Learning about culture is requires effort. You have to enlarge your perception. You have to examine your own thought process. You have to accept that there are other ways to think and do things".
All well and good, a solid practical guide to corporate culture, however where I am finding practical use for Schein's work is in e-business. Schein proves very useful for factoring the cultural dimensions into e-business transformation. I believe that anyone attempting a transformation to become an e-business needs to thoroughly understand corporate culture - something not found in the e-business materials I have seen so far. Schein offers a way of looking at corporate culture that goes beyond the usual platitudes, and attempts to give the reader insights into real understanding. This book should be on the e-business change agent's shelf.