What managers most often want to know about their organization's culture is how to change it……But what is recommended to managers on the basis of culture theory differs markedly according to the perspectives adopted' (Hatch and Cunliffe, 2013: 185).

Organizational Theory

Length:          2,000 words


The Question To Be Answered:

‘What managers most often want to know about their organization’s culture is how to change it……But what is recommended to managers on the basis of culture theory differs markedly according to the perspectives adopted’ (Hatch and Cunliffe, 2013: 185).


Choose two of the four perspectives (modernist, symbolic interpretivist, critical theory and postmodernism)and discuss their different views on organisational culture and how their advice to managers who are seeking to influence organisational culture might be different.



Required readings (located on blackboard site):


1.Chapter 6 and pp 311-318 (Hatch and Cunliffe)

2.Fleming, P and Spicer, A. (2003) ‘Working at a cynical distance: Implications for power, subjectivity and resistance’

3.Wilson, F. (2014) ‘Chapter 11: Culture’ in Organisational Behaviour and Work, pp. 224-241.


4.Xu, Y., and Weller, P., Inside the World Bank, â€œThe Staff and Their organizational Culture”, pp. 74-82.


Presentation/Structure of your answer/essay:


In this section you must provide an overview of your answer to the question; provide answers to the key what and why questions of your argument/answer. These should take the form of direct responses to the key issues raised by the question. Your argument should be informed by a critical analysis/engagement with the content of the essential readings.


Please keep in mind that in all sections of your response you must move past description to analysis, this means providing answers to the why questions that emerge from your key statements.

Exploration of your argument:

In this section of the essay you need to accomplish two tasks. 


First, you must explore the key perspectives showing how each perspective’s theoretical and metatheoretical approaches lead them to provide different insights into organisational culture.


Second, having demonstrated an understanding of the perspectives and their theoretical approaches to understanding organisational culture you then need to discuss how these understandings lead to different views on how best to manage or change organisational culture. In other words what does each of the perspectives have to say on this issue and why do they say it? What criticisms do they offer of each other and why?


You can address the above, two tasks sequentially; beginning with an exploration of the how and why of each of the chosen perspectives (ontology and epistemology), and second: an exploration of the positions advanced by two of the perspectives (modernist, symbolic interpretivist, critical theory and postmodernism) as they provide different advice to managers on how to go about changing or managing organisational culture. In your essay, you must consider at least two of the four perspectives. 


An alternative structural approach is to integrate the exploration of the how and why of each perspective and how each provides different insights into the nature of organisational culture and how best to manage organisational change. For example; explore the how and why of the modernist positions on organisational culture and then its application to modernist positions for managing and changing organisational culture. . On completing the how and why of the modernist position and its application then move on to the other selected perspective.


The two alternatives outlined above will enable you to present a clear direct and disciplined response to the question.


The whole response must be informed by an engagement with essential readings. You must draw upon and evaluate academic debates and arguments. This is not to be viewed as an exercise in which you make up a response off-the-top-of-your-head nor is it one in which you focus on description and ignore analysis.  While you may draw upon  examples  of organisational culture in actual organisations this should be done to illustrate differences in perspectives both theoretically and practically as they relate to understanding and managing organisational culture.



You must conclude with your general answer to the question. It should reiterate the key argument/answer to the question provided in the introduction and indicate to what extent it has been supported or challenged by your analysis of the debates and arguments of other authors. 

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