The Corporate Culture Survival Guide

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9780787946999: The Corporate Culture Survival Guide
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Corporate culture pioneer Edgar H. Schein gets back to basics and delivers a dynamite primer on changing cultures packed with practical advice. Here, Schein separates the sense from the nonsense regarding culture change theory and practice and tells in plain terms how readers can assess their organization to determine if its current culture fits its people and products. He then examines corporate culture on three levels--behaviors, values, and shared assumptions--and shows how each factors into change initiatives. Framed around the questions managers ask most often, the book uses case studies to show what successful change looks like and to demonstrate how you can dismantle a dysfunctional culture.

A Warren Bennis Book

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Review:

Culture. We blithely use the term for just about anything--a vibrant culture, a dominant culture, a corporate culture. But do we really know what we're saying, what culture really means? Or do we most often assume that the term is just a convenient way to group those with a common purpose or goal and a method for achieving it? Isn't a corporate culture, for example, just "the way we do things around here"?

No, it's not. In The Corporate Culture Survival Guide, Edgar Schein reveals how that's merely the tip of the iceberg, an iceberg that managers ignore at the peril of their company's future. Underneath lies the much-harder-to-grasp "essence" of the company, the "learned, shared, tacit assumptions on which people base their daily behavior." These assumptions are learned over time and in different internal and external environments, becoming, as Schein puts it, the "residue of success." As these assumptions influence all aspects of how a company functions, discovering their nature and cause is vital to the success of any new organization-wide venture or strategy. In the second half of the book, Schein illustrates how, using this knowledge, a company's culture can be deliberately created or changed. Supported by numerous case-study examples, his advice is pertinent to startups, mature companies, and blended organizations.

If you're the type of manager that needs a quick-fix solution, with simple catch phrases and an easy Five Step Program to Success, this book is not for you. Nor are the benefits to be gained from acquiring the depth of knowledge and insight needed to understand, work with, and transform your corporate culture. Using intelligent, lucid prose, Schein provides this kind of insight and more; he tells cautionary as well as inspiring tales of what this insight can mean for your company, and offers useful suggestions for putting knowledge into practice. --S. Ketchum

From the Back Cover:

Corporate culture, once an ivory-tower topic for business scholars and sociologists, has become an issue of vital concern to managers, executives, and consultants on the front lines of change. Why? Because the increasing number of mergers, acquisitions, and reengineerings happening today have put corporate cultures on a collision course, and managers who want to integrate must first understand the complex mix of behaviors, values, and shared assumptions that underlie the way organizations operate.
While most managers are familiar with the concept of corporate culture, many lack a complete understanding of what it is, how it operates, and what they can do to improve it. Edgar Schein, a pioneer in the study of corporate cultures and the field's reigning expert, has helped thousands of scholars and change agents grasp the cultural dynamics at work in today's companies. Now he makes his extensive experience and expert advice available to managers everywhere in this engaging guide.
Framing his chapters around the questions managers most often ask—What is corporate culture? How can I assess it? How can I change it?—Schein defines in plain terms the ingredients of corporate culture and explains how they influence the way people do their jobs. He gives readers clear guidance for evaluating their organization's current culture and determining whether it continues to be the best fit for its people, goals, and products. He also provides practical advice for effecting culture change in companies of all kinds in a format that anyone can readily understand and follow.
Although companies may understand which aspect of their operation they need to alter in order to stay competitive, their attempts often fail when they try to impose new systems onto old modus operandi. The Corporate Culture Survival Guide gives change leaders the tools they need to work with the culture they have in order to get the results they want.

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Publisher: Jossey-Bass, 2009
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