Defining Corporate Culture

How Social Scientists Define Culture, Values and Tradeoffs among Them

by Lindsay Daugherty

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An effort to move beyond the rhetoric and firmly establish an understanding of corporate culture would greatly contribute to any attempts to describe, measure, or alter culture in a corporate setting. This paper is prepared as part of an ongoing project on “Corporate Cultures: Meaning and Measurement” under the LRN-RAND Center on Corporate Law, Ethics and Governance. While the project will eventually develop a framework through which it is possible to measure corporate culture, the first step was to develop a clear and concise definition of the frequently used and sometimes obscure concept of “culture” in various social science literatures. This literature review was conducted in an effort to clarify and improve understanding of this terminology.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Methodology

  • Chapter Three

    Early Cultural Theories in the Social Sciences

  • Chapter Four

    Modern and Post-Modern Cultural Theories

  • Chapter Five

    Organizational Studies and the Notion of Corporate Culture

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusion

The research described in this report was conducted by the LRN-RAND Center for Corporate Ethics, Law, and Governance.

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