Corporations, Culture, and Commitment: Motivation and Social Control in Organizations


The notion of "corporate culture" has received widespread attention in the past several years. But what is meant by the term and why should managers be concerned with it? Culture can be thought of as a mechanism for social control. As such, culture is important for both the implementation of strategy and as a mechanism for generating commitment among organizational members. Based on a comparison of strong culture organizations, ranging from cults and religious organizations to strong culture firms, this article argues that culture and commitment result from: systems of participation that rely on processes of incremental commitment; management as symbolic action that helps employees interpret their reasons for working; strong and consistent cues from fellow workers that focus attention and shape attitudes and behavior; and comprehensive reward systems that use recognition and approval. These techniques characterize "strong culture" organizations.
Subjects: Article Summaries, Organizational Behavior
Source: Charles O’Reilly, California Management Review, Summer 1989

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