Corporate Culture

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Chapter 9 Corporate Culture by Gideon Kunda The article by Kunda is a glimpse into the life of one office of a real high-technology company that he calls "Tech". The title of the article is "Corporate Culture" and refers to the two different kinds of engineers that Tech employs: the technological engineers that get products to market and the sociological engineers who are hard at work promoting the "corporate culture". This "culture" consists of a complicated, interlinked system of metaphors, stories, slogans, speeches, and ritual forms that provide through symbolic means what could never be achieved by coercion or direct force: an enthusiastic workforce that puts in extremely long hours of creative work with relatively little hope of advancement.

Techs management or cultural engineers, use a variety of methods to spread what it claims is a non-authoritarian, informal, and flexible work environment that enhances and rewards individual commitment, initiative, and creativity while promoting personal growth.

Kunda demonstrates, however, that these persistent efforts mask an elaborate and subtle form of normative control in which the members' minds and hearts become the target of corporate influence. It is clearly evident that Dave Carpenter one of the cultural engineers for Tech is trying to do just that, he says "Power plays don't work. You can't make "˜em do anything. They have to want to. So you have to work through the culture. The idea is to educate people without them knowing it. Have religion and not know how they got it." An everyday example of people being educated whether they want to or not are advertisements on television, the internet, magazines and so on.

There is a great deal of effort that regularly goes into creating this atmosphere. The "corporate culture" staff at Tech are continually engaged in documentation and assessment...