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This chapter is from the book

How This Book Is Organized

The book is divided into four parts. The first deals with what culture is and isn't, ways in which it is associated with performance, and how it relates to other important determinants of success over an organization's life cycle. It might as well be titled "thinking clearly about culture." The implication is that people often don't.

The second part presents results of an effort to determine just how and to what degree culture matters in fostering effective performance. In it, I set forth a Four R economic "model" that describes the information that is necessary to measure culture's impact on the bottom line. That is combined with a description of noneconomic variables (the most important indicators of culture at work) derived from case studies of many organizations and organized into a culture cycle. The Four R and culture cycle concepts are then utilized in a field study for which findings and conclusions are reported.

In the third part, the attention shifts to the impact of culture on innovation; the ability of an organization to survive during times of adversity; its capability to operate globally, possibly with several subcultures; and its ability to adapt to changing technological, social, and legal challenges.

The role of leadership in shaping, sustaining, and changing culture is the subject of the final part.

Chapters 1 through 4 cover theories behind the development of cultures. If you're interested in measuring the impact of culture on your own organization, you will benefit from a close look at Chapters 5 through 7 as well as the appendixes. Practicing managers may also be interested in Chapters 8 through 12, which explore the impact of culture from various vantage points. Senior managers may be most interested in Chapters 13 and 14. Summaries of each chapter should help you understand content you don't otherwise read in detail.

Throughout the book, you'll see cultures through the eyes of leaders in both for-profit and not-for-profit (including government) organizations. Some have failed, providing good object lessons. But others have shaped, fostered, and generally relied on cultures to achieve not only strategic goals but, more importantly, places to work that attract and inspire human beings to develop themselves.

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