Culture and Power Structures

Often more informal controls predominate in organizations, even when formal controls are present. Often these types of informal controls are defined as the corporate culture. Smircich (1983) sees culture used in two different ways by organizational theorists. In one usage culture describes an attribute or quality internal to a group (p. 58). "In this sense culture is a possession-- a fairly stable set of of taken-for-granted assumptions, shared beliefs, meanings, and values that form a kind of backdrop for action" (p. 58). External societal culture can affect organizations, and internal culture can be possess like an organization would possess a technology.

Researchers in this perspective focus on the functional aspects of culture and it's impact on organizational unification and control (Smircich and Calas, 1988). Schein notes that with culture "these assumptions and beliefs are learned responses to a group's problems of survival in its external environment and its problems of internal integration" (Schein, 1985 p. 6). Much of the 1980's management literature focused on how to develop "strong" cultures (Deal and Kennedy, 1982).

Myerson and Martin (1987) emphasize the diversity of subcultures within organizations.