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Organizational Culture

Organizational Culture
Mapping the Terrain

August 2001 | 415 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Organizational Culture provides a sweeping interdisciplinary overview of the organizational culture literature, showing how and why researchers have disagreed about such fundamental questions as: What is organizational culture? What are the major theoretical perspectives used to understand cultures in organizations? How can a researcher decipher the political interests inherent in research that claims to be political neutral -- merely "descriptive"?

Expert author Joanne Martin examines a variety of conflicting ways to study cultures in organizations, including different theoretical orientations, political ideologies (managerial, critical, and apparently neutral); methods (qualitative, quantitative, and hybrid approaches), and styles of writing about culture (ranging from traditional to postmodern and experimental). In addition, she offers a guide for those who might want to study culture themselves, addressing such issues as: What qualitative, quantitative, and hybrid methods can be used to study culture? What standards are used when reviewers evaluate these various types of research? What innovative ways of writing about culture have been introduced? And finally, what are the most important unanswered questions for future organizational culture researchers?

Intended for graduate students and established scholars who need to understand, value, and utilize highly divergent approaches to the study of culture. The book will also be useful for researchers who do not study culture, but who are interested in the ways political interests affect scholarly writing, the ways critical and managerial approaches to theory differ, the use and justification of qualitative methods in domains where quantitative methods are the norm.

An Introduction and Overview
The Culture Wars
Pieces of the Puzzle
What Is Culture? What Is not Culture?

Single-Perspective Theories of Culture
A Three-Perspective Theory of Culture
Interests and Claims of Neutrality
To Count or Not to Count?
Putting It All Together
Reviews of Sample Studies

Writing about Cultures
A Crisis of Representation?

Cultural Boundaries
Moveable, Fluctuating, Permeable, Blurred and Dangerous

Terra Incognita
Ideas for Future Research


very good book. describes the important role of OC relevant to performance. differentiates between three different perspectives in OC
Will be relevant for final year students more than year 1 or 2

Mr Oran Doherty
Department of Business, Letterkenny Institute of Technology
October 15, 2014
Key features
  • Provides an interdisciplinary overview of organizational culture
  • Examines a variety of conflicting ways to study cultures in organizations, including different theoretical orientations, political ideologies, methods, and styles of writing about culture
  • Dissects and sifts cultural studies based on very different intellectual traditions, and shows how, taken in combination, these cultural studies reveal insights not available from other types of organizational research.

"Joanne Martin leads us elegantly through the vast labyrinth of organizational cultures with a style of argument which is both light and engagé, elegant and acute. Her book grips the reader with all the intricacies of a detective story while subtly forcing the organization researcher to re-examine his/her reflexivity."

—Antonio Strati, Universities of Trento and Siena, Italy

"Joanne Martin's analytic gaze roams far and wide across the organizational culture terrain. Nothing escapes her attention: from underlying assumptions to methodological preferences, from political agendas to narrative styles. Writing in a style that is at once relentlessly academic and highly personal, she creates an elegant map of the chaotic field of organizational culture research, highlighting its debates and dilemmas, accomplishments and shortcomings. She has produced an insightful and engaging book that should become a foundational text both for students wishing to make sense of the field and for practicing researchers working on its frontiers."

—Gideon Kunda, Tel Aviv University

"Organizational culture is a complex, elusive concept. Martin's book provides a remarkably balanced, deep, and exceptionally well-written treatment of the topic. It will be read profitably by members of the diverse audiences for which she is writing."

—Walter Nord, University of South Florida

"Organizational Culture is the perfect book for scholars new to the topic and it is a treasure trove of ideas, sources, critiques and challenges for experienced researchers. Joanne Martin writes with insight and a keen sense of what needs to be surfaced, examined and studied for us to better understand the complex nature and meanings of organizational culture. Her approach is inclusive, accessible and endlessly instructive. It is a wonderful contribution to the literature on culture."

—Peter J. Frost, University of British Columbia 

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