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Handbook for Strategic HR by OD Network

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CHAPTER 32

Corporate Culture

Edgar H. Schein

How to Think About and Define “Culture”

To understand corporate culture one must first understand the concept of culture. A chronic issue in conceptualizing culture is whether to think of culture as a static property of a given organization—its shared customs, beliefs, norms, values, and tacit assumptions or whether to think of culture as a dynamic human process of constructing shared meaning (Frost et al, 1985). Culture creation is one of the unique characteristics of humans, being based on our capacity to be self-conscious and able to see ourselves and others from each others’ points of view. It is this reflexive capacity of humans that makes culture possible. At the same time, it is the human need ...

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