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Organisational culture and meaning after a merger: challenges regarding craft, identity and values in the lab

Bolade-Ogunfodun, O. ORCID: (2017) Organisational culture and meaning after a merger: challenges regarding craft, identity and values in the lab. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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This study is an ethnographic analysis of culture and meaning in a post-merger organisational context. It adopts the Geertzian notion of culture as the main conceptual framework which emphasises patterns of meaning and patterns of interaction (Geertz, 1973). In contrast to the dominant positivist epistemological approaches to mainstream organisational culture studies, this study takes an interpretivist approach. The focus is on less dominant perspectives (voices) in the post-merger organisation as a way to highlight and challenge assumptions about the nature and role of people within mechanisms underlying expressions of culture. The research questions address the nature and sources of meaning systems in a culturally diverse post-merger community and investigate responses to observed incongruences. Using an ethnographic case study methodology, post-merger cultural interactions are explored. A thematic approach is adopted for the analysis of data and main findings show the significance of the nature of creative knowledge work in the acquired population’s culture. Findings reveal how incongruence in meanings emerges from interactions between the craft culture and imposed organisational values underpinning the bureaucratic post-merger context. In addition, the study uncovers nuanced connections between craft identity, practice and the person as salient elements of the meaning system in the professionals’ community, incompatible with the more dominant market-driven ethics in the organisation. Findings also show the ethical challenges which emerge for the acquired team from the coexistence of incompatible meanings. The ethical challenges arise from the protective role played by the craft in preserving the acquired team’s meaning system against assimilation by the acquirer’s culture. These findings are relevant for studies on knowledge workers, cultural implications of strategic alliances and inform ethical concerns around incompatible values as described in Aristotelian virtue ethics theory. The cultural analysis is thus critically expanded and connected with concerns in the international business literature and relevant ethical debates.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Akrivou, K. and Latsis, J.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
ID Code:75395


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