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On Reading Organisational Culture

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JournalOrganization Studies
DatePublished - Jul 1992
Issue number3
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)331-355
Original languageEnglish


The study of organizational cultures has been dominated by an interpretative approach which has emphasized the production of culture at the expense of the creativity shown by the consumers of cuiture, organizational members. 'Corpor ate culture' is distinguished from 'workplace' or 'organizational' cultures, and a number of other problems emerging within the literature are identified. These are presented as organizational culture versus cultural organization; cultural plurali ties ; rationality and the irrational; common knowledge and its constitution; power and ideology; and individualism and subjectivity. It is then argued, after a detailed discussion of concepts drawn primarily from a close reading of the work of Jacques Derrida, that a postmodern approach to organizational culture would recast the problems in terms of a revised conceptualization of subjectivity, and would formulate culture as paradox, otherness, seduction, and discourse. This would entail studying the 'bricolage' of organizational members within the 'microphysics' of what de Certeau calls the 'tactics of everyday practice'.

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