Postmodern Pictures of Culture: A Postmodem Reflection on the "Modem Notion' of Corporate Culture

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This article challenges the modern concept of corporate culture by using ideas from the postmodern critique of modernism. Postmodernism is treated as a source of critical inspiration when creating contrasting images to the modern assumptions of cultural depth, unity, and consistency. Opposed to modernism, postmodernism has focused on superficial multiplicity, difference, and discontinuity in which the notion of verified truth has lost its meaning to notions of successful and seductive truths competing in the postmodern marketplace. In this article, postmodernism questions three dominant assumptions behind modem conceptualizations of corporate culture and shows how the same cultural expressions, described by these modernist assumptions, may be represented from a postmodernist point of view. First, postmodernism questions the modernist assumption of corporate culture as patterns of meanings and values located at the depth of the organization, which are expressed through a variety of symbols and artifacts. Second, postmodernism questions the notion of corporate culture as a vehicle for the specific identity of organizations. Lastly, postmodernism strikes against the modem assumption that corporate culture is able to regulate the behavior of the members of the organization through meaningful events and internalized knowledge. Postmodernism asks new critical questions of the cultural revival of the 1980s and presents new and alternative ways of perceiving corporate culture, highlighting the schism between modernism and postmodernism in postindustrial organizations.
TidsskriftInternational Studies of Management and Organization
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)15-35
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 1992