Guy B. Adams
CaliforniaState University, Hayward
University of Missouri, Columbia
A concept in or an approach to the study of organizations focusing on elements thought to be overlooked by the more prevalent functional and rational approaches such as organizational design, human relations, systems, and organizational politics. The study may focus on organizational artifacts, such as stories, symbols, ceremonies, rituals, myths, sagas, tales, heroes, taboos, jargon, slang, metaphors, gestures, signs, humor, gossip, rumor, and proverbs, and/or on the values, beliefs, and feelings that are seen as underlying such artifacts; and/or on the context-specific meanings made by members of the organization and other organizationally relevant publics, as well as researchers' interpretations of those meanings. Which of these is seen as defining organizational culture depends on the way "culture" is understood. Organizational culture studies developed largely in the 1980s, although there are earlier works that can be included under this heading. Simultaneous developments in Europe and the U.S. largely followed distinct themes.
Culture as a concept has historically been the concern of anthropologists, who, however, have developed no consensus on its definition. Various schools of thought and methodologies within anthropology have influ