Defining "Culture" And "Organizational Culture": From Anthropology To The Office

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Executive Summary

The topic of organizational culture is increasingly understood as a company asset that can be used to increase business performance. While important, organizational culture is a slippery concept to concretely define. This paper deals with the historical development and foundational understandings of both the term culture, from anthropology, and its appropriation by industrial organization researchers to organizational culture. A foundational definition by Edgar Schein of MIT's Sloan School of Management is arrived at as well as the notion that culture can be observed at three levels of the organization: artifacts, espoused values, and basic assumptions.

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