Corporate Culture: Illuminating the Black Hole

By Brock, M. E.; Martin, L. E. et al. | People & Strategy, March 2008 | Go to article overview

Corporate Culture: Illuminating the Black Hole


Brock, M. E., Martin, L. E., Buckley, Ronald, M., People & Strategy


Corporate Culture: Illuminating the Black Hole

Author: Jerome Want

Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2006.

Corporate culture has become a popular topic in management and business circles, and one need only glance briefly at any scholarly literature or popular business publications for the proof of its popularity. It influences many facets of an organization and is reflected in myriad processes (e.g., leadership, management effectiveness, communication, decision making, organizational behavior, and in tolerance for risk and innovation), which heavily influence the bottom line of an organization. In the western business world, managers often look for the "quick fix" to help their organizations become more successful, often judging success by the bottom line (Mamman & Saffu, 1998; Kilmann, 1989) instead of focusing on culture and lasting success.

In his book, Corporate Culture: Illuminating the Black Hole, Dr. Jerome Want recognizes these trends. He posits that corporate culture has been under-appreciated, underutilized, and widely misunderstood as a lever for sustainable success. This book provides an excellent reference to a broad view of corporate culture in US organizations.

Corporate culture, as defined by the author, is the reflection of "attitudes, belief systems, dreams, behaviors, rites and rituals of the company ... [as well as evident] through the conduct and performance of its employees and management" (p. 42). Although culture is of utmost importance to the maintenance and development of any organization, it is commonly ignored or put on the back burner by many executives. When organizations are experiencing shortcomings, they fail to key in on culture as a cause and culture building as a solution, in favor of fads and fix-all solutions.

This book calls attention to the importance of corporate culture in today's radically changing business world, through a discussion of the business change cycle and the hierarchy of corporate cultures. Throughout the book there is an emphasis on the need for close evaluation of culture as the reason for failure or success of a given organizational entity. Further, the author provides ample anecdotal evidence for a direct connection between high-performing cultures and strong financial outcomes. The reader of this book learns the importance of corporate culture to continued success in the rapidly changing, increasingly global business world, as well as how to identify failing and high-performing cultures, and gains insight to different applications to develop, maintain, and enhance culture.

The author contends that culture is recognized by organizational leaders, but often is not viewed as important. As illustrated in the text, corporate leaders typically have one of three responses when asked about culture: "I don't know,.... I don't know how," and "I don't care" (p. 148). The problem with these responses is that in fast-changing business climates, leaders with the ability to evaluate and continually develop their cultures are a necessity. Higher-level managers have a direct influence on the culture of their organization and its influence on performance outcomes. More often than not, if top-level managers do not view an issue as important, other members of the organization will not see it as crucial either.

Leaders and managers of high-performing cultures realize that building, maintaining, and continually developing a culture is a complex, difficult, and dynamic task. They also realize that culture change is not going to work if they simply try to change employee values without changing how the organization operates (Schermerhorn, et al., 2004). Further, good managers realize that positive culture change will not come from increased downsizing, radical restructuring, or one-time fixes.

The author does an outstanding job of providing a number of examples, including Enron, Kmart, AOL, Harley Davidson, and Nucor, to illustrate how different leadership techniques can result in positive or negative cultural momentum. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Corporate Culture: Illuminating the Black Hole
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.