Using image theory, we presented a theoretical framework for examining the influence of organizational culture on decision making. Then we presented four studies that tested some implications of the theory.
Study 1 found that the OCS is sensitive to cultural fragmentation, in that it produced different results for two organizations that, on prior grounds, were expected to differ in fragmentation.
Study 2 found support for the hypothesis that the decisions of an organization's members are influenced by the degree to which the features of the options are compatible with the features the organization's own culture.
Study 3 found that an organization's members are more likely to endorse a management decision if the features of the decision are compatible with the features of the organization's culture.
Study 4 found that the greater the difference between subjects' assessments of an organization's culture as they perceived it to be now and as they thought it actually ought to be, the less committed they reported themselves to be to the organization, the less satisfied they reported themselves to be with their jobs, and the more inclined they reported themselves to be to leave their jobs. These results are similar to those obtained by O'Reilly, Chatman, and Caldwell ( 1991) for the relationship between person-organization fit and satisfaction and inclination to leave, as well as those cited previously by Shockley-Zalabak and Morley ( 1989) for the relationship between the size of the discrepancy between ideal organizational life and perceived organizational life on the one hand and employees' satisfaction with the organization and estimations of its quality and overall effectiveness on the other. The results also echo the results obtained by Bissell and Beach (chapter 5, this volume) for the discrepancy between ideal supervision and perceived supervision on the one hand and job and organizational satisfaction on the other.
While acknowledging that there is much to be done and that these experiments are preliminary, we conclude from these results that the image theory characterization of organizational culture and its influence on decision making holds promise for further research on organizational decision making. Moreover, by tying culture to decision making, the practical, managerial implications of studying culture become clearer. For example, in light of the trend in business to flatten organizational hierarchies and empower lower-level employees, the role of culture as a metalevel coordinator of decision making becomes of considerable interest. The research we