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The third theory concerned with relationships between communication and culture is:

Organizational Culture Theory

Mhairi Turnbull

Organizational Culture (Culture of an Organization)


Focuses on specific settings of the workplace Scholars of this theory explain how communication creates, sustains, and expresses the values and ideology of particular work environments.

Where did this wonderful theory come from?


Clifford Geertz (1973)
Anthropologist who strongly influenced the study of organizational culture Cultures are ways of life that are sustained through stories, rituals, and other symbolic activities that continuously vitalize meanings among members.

Developing the Theory


Theorists built upon Geertzs general observations and developed organizational culture theory: A theory that views organizations as cultures that are produced and reproduced through communication activities among members of organizations.

What You Have to Look Forward to!


Vocabulary Stories Rites and Rituals Thick Description

Vocabulary
Language of an organization reflect and express the norms and ideology of the organization

Stories
Theorists: Michael Pacanowsky and Nick ODonnell Trujillo identified three kinds of stories Corporate stories: convey the values, style, and history of an organization. Stories told to socialize new members into the culture of an organization Personal stories: accounts that announce how people see themselves, and how they wish to be seen by others. Collegial stories: offer an account of other members of the organization.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xzTbFI9sg8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPgSZ0RfCNo

Rites
Rites: dramatic, planned sets of activities that bring together aspects of culture ideology into a single event.
Theorists: Harrison Trice and Janice Beyer (1984)
Identified 6 kinds of organizational rites
Rites of Passage- mark entry into different levels of organizations Rites of Integration- affirm and enhance the sense of community in an organization Rites of Degradation- punish members of organizations in order to express the organizations disapproval Rites of Enhancement- showing praise and glory on individuals or teams who represent the organizations self-image Renewal Rites- revitalize organizations Conflict Resolution- regularized methods of dealing with differences and discord

Rituals
Rituals: forms of communication that occur regularly and that members of an organization perceive as familiar and routine parts of organizational life.

Repeated communication performances that express a particular value or role definition. Personal rituals Social rituals Task rituals
Performances that individuals routinely engage in to define themselves

Standardized performances that affirm relationships among members of organizations


Repeated activities that help members of an organization perform their jobs

Thick Description
Ethnography: a method of learning about communication that is not confined to the realm of performance (studying how cultures work)
Organizational culture was built largely on ethnographic research Ethnographers rely on thick description
Calls attention to the methods emphasis on interpreting the entwined layers of meaning that constitute organizational life.

A Little More About Thick Description


Engaging in thick description requires learning about the details of daily rites, rituals, and other activities, so it is extremely time consuming
The ideal role for researchers is that of a true participant, who can observe and understand an organization from the inside.

Critical Assessment
We have a winner!
Response to organizational culture theory has been more positive than many of the other theories. Just one critique
Theory has limited generalizability
The claim is that case studies of individual organizations do not, and cannot produce knowledge about organizations in general. BUT, studies of particular organizations do give us the generalizable knowledge that in most or all organizations members engage in rites, rituals, and storytelling.