Culture as a tool for resistance

Topics: Organization, Organizational culture, Sociology Pages: 4 (1136 words) Published: March 18, 2014
Q.1 Culture as a tool to limit resistance.
A shift from bureaucratic organizational practices toward post-bureaucratic, more flexible and less hierarchical systems of organization, where employees are empowered to cope with emerging changes and fluctuating demands by continuously reshaping their organizational roles and to contest the way decisions are implemented, has created a need for managers to move away from roles based on authoritative and rational forms of control to more culturally based and ideational means, as a more viable way to cope with emerging changes and employee resistance as a response to these changes. In this paper, I will draw upon Josserand et al (2012) and Courpasson & Cleg (2012) to demonstrate changes in organizational culture and power tools brought about by the coming of post-bureaucratic era, and how these changing mechanisms encourage employee resistance through post-bureaucratical rhetoric of empowerment. I, then, alluding to the works of Brewis (2007) and Rossen (1988), will agree that culture is a powerful mechanism that aids contemporary managers in controlling and reconstructing employees’ behaviors and perceptions of the organizational values in line with those desired by management and illustrate the point with an example of the Christmas party taken from Rossen. I will conclude by saying that cultural control and resistance are in fact two interdependent variables and form a sort of a ‘vicious circle’ where one flows from another. According to Josserand et al (2012), contemporary organizational mechanisms have undergone a shift toward post-bureaucratic practices that rely on soft domination tools, such as socialization and enculturation, that promote organizational culture and humanistic values and facilitate the process of employees’ empowerment. Increased levels of employees’ autonomy and participation, extended levels of involvement into decision-making processes and redevelopment of organizational roles – all...

References: Brewis, J. 2007, ‘Culture’, in D. Knights & H. Willmott (eds), Introducing organizational behavior and management, Thomson, Australia, pp.344-372
Courpasson, D. & Clegg, S. 2012, ‘The polyarchic bureaucracy: cooperative resistance in the workplace and the construction of a new political structure of organizations’, Research in the sociology of organizations, vol. 34, pp. 55-79
Josserand, E., Villeseche, F. & Bardon, T. 2012, ‘Being an active member of a corporate alumni network: a critical appraisal’, Academy of Management Meetings, Boston, Massachusetts
Rosen, M. 1988, ‘You asked for it: Christmas at the bosses’ expense’, Journal of Management Studies, vol. 25, pp.463-480
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