Organisational Culture: Complexities in Multinational Corporations
Restricted Item. Print thesis available in the University of Auckland Library or may be available through Inter-Library Loan. Organisational culture offers a unique framework for enhancing our understanding of the symbolic and expressive aspects of organisational life. The recent acknowledgment of ambiguity, inconsistencies, contradictions, confusion, and paradox within organisations renders many of the previous theoretical and conceptual approaches inappropriate to the study of organisations. Despite the many advantages accrued from adopting a cultural perspective and the many valuable contributions culture research has made to organisation studies, there is a continued need to conduct empirical work in this area. Furthermore, many researchers lament the fact that practical implications arising from an increased understanding of cultural phenomena have been slow to emerge.This study examined these issues by exploring organisational culture from multiple levels and by testing Martin and Meyerson's framework (e.g. Martin, 1992; Meyerson & Martin, 1987) which offers multiple perspectives for understanding cultures (integration, differentiation" and fragmentation). The research was conducted in the New Zealand subsidiaries of two USA multinational organisations and was conducted from an interpretive paradigm using an ethnographic style of inquiry. An emergent research design was adopted so that data gathering techniques could be congruent with the cultures of the organisations of study.The increasing number of international corporations means that understanding these types of organisations is more critical and relevant than ever before. The relationship between organisational cultures and national culture has rarely been examined despite the implications this relationship has for the effective operation of international corporations. This study explored this relationship.The interplay between national and organisational cultures suggested that multinational corporations would be well served if they developed and promulgated the overall strategic direction, vision and goals of the company but encouraged local subsidiaries to develop this content into culturally appropriate and relevant policies, procedures and practices. The findings from this research indicated that forcing a dominant, home-country, and managerial culture upon subsidiary organisations in order to achieve a globally integrated corporate culture will be met with strong resistance. However, when choice was available, and the members believed in the direction, philosophy and approach of the international company, then the subsidiary was willing to emulate the perceived multinational culture.The application of a cultural lens for understanding change initiatives was also explored. In both case study organisations, a number of change programmes were initiated over the course of the fieldwork. None of these change initiatives were successfully implemented and/or maintained. Examples of the failed change attempts include valuing diversity, a shift to working in collaborative teams, achieving the quality standard of ISO 9000, and implementing relationship marketing. Organisational members resisted at various levels and in various ways all of these recent "fads". A gendered exploration of why these change initiatives failed was advanced which offered an alternative framework from which to view organisational cultures and change initiatives. Both organisations valued and endorsed traditional masculine approaches to organising and managing, while the underlying principles of the change initiatives were more clearly aligned with feminine characteristics. Exploring this disjuncture through a gendered lens offered a useful analytical tool from which to gain a better understanding of resistance to change. The implications of the findings are discussed and practical applications explored.
|Year of publication:||
|Authors:||Shepherd, Deborah M.|
|Type of publication:||Book / Working Paper|
|Type of publication (narrower categories):||Thesis|
PhD Thesis - University of Auckland
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