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The Corporate Culture Survival Guide

SKU: 9781119212287
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Effective, sustainable cultural change requires evolution, not disruption

The Corporate Culture Survival Guide is the essential primer and practical guide every organization needs. Corporate culture pioneer Edgar H. Schein breaks the concept of 'culture' down into real terms, delving into the behaviors, values, and shared assumptions that define it, and explains why culture is the central factor in an organization's successor failure. This new third edition is designed specifically for practitioners needing to apply these practices in real-world settings, and has been updated with new coverage of globalization, technology, and managerial competencies. You'll learn how to get past subconscious bias to assess whether or not your existing culture truly serves your organization, and how to introduce change and manage the change process over time for a best-case-scenario outcome. Case studies illustrate successful change in real companies, providing models and setting the bar for dismantling dysfunctional cultures.

Corporate culture begins with the founder, and evolvesor notover time. Is your culture working for or against your organization? How can it be optimized? This book separates the truth from the nonsense to provide real-world guidance on initiating and managing cultural change.

  • Understand when to assess your culture, and how to do it objectively
  • Learn how cultures evolve and change over time, for better or worse
  • Discover the reality of multiculturalism amidst the rise of globalization
  • Evolve your culture to more effectively serve your organization

Each of us is a part of many cultureswhat you do, where you live, where you grew up, what you enjoy, how you live; in the workplace, many different people with many different cultures come together toward a common goalwill these cultures clash or synergize? The Corporate Culture Survival Guide shows you how to create an overarching corporate culture that gets everyone on the same page to drive your organization's success.


Ed Schein is Professor Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management. He was educated at the University of Chicago, Stanford University, and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology. He worked at the Walter Reed Institute of Research for four years and then joined MIT, where he taught until 2005. He has published extensively-- _Organizational Psychology_, 3d Ed. (1980), _Process Consultation Revisited_ (1999), career dynamics (_Career Anchors_, 4th ed. With John Van Maanen, 2013), _Organizational Culture and Leadership_, 5th Ed. (2016), _The Corporate Culture Survival Guide_, 2d Ed., (2009), a cultural analysis of Singapore's economic miracle (_Strategic Pragmatism_, 1996), and Digital Equipment Corp.'s rise and fall (_DEC is Dead; Long Live DEC_, 2003).


In this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous ("VUCA") world, corporate culture is comparatively stableit is not easily changed. While culture may shift alongside a strategic pivot or digital transformation, intentional efforts to reshape culture often stymie even the most resilient change makers.

In this new edition, the authors introduce powerful new concepts to highlight that culture has many elements, and that change is not a single linear process but a complex interweaving of changes that require systems thinking. Organizational culture is comprised of layers of technical, social, occupational norms within variable macroculture belief systems in which multi-national corporations operate. In order to lead an organization through culture change successfully, culture champions must be able to understand all the elements of the culture, identify where and why various elements need to be changed, and apply a change model that fits within the company's existing dynamic. The difficulty inherent in doing all that makes culture change a serious, but not insurmountable, problem.

The Corporate Culture Survival Guide has long been a go-to text for change leaders looking to create culture in a start-up, evolve culture alongside growth, and sometimes even change it in the mature organization. This updated edition guides readers through the complicated process of understanding corporate culture in the globalized, tech-saturated reality in which we now find ourselves. The authors demystify corporate culture through stories of change success and failure. Through these case studies framed around practical analytical approaches, the authors show how complex culture change can occur in the right circumstances, and with the right leadership.

Problems with existing corporate culture often come to light only in subtle moments of disjointedness in part of an organization and incongruity across an organization. These diffuse and hard-to-identify symptoms can seem innocuous, but they can also snowball, leading to issues with productivity, safety, high turnover, employee disengagement, and failure to innovate. The stories in this book enable readers to see, hear, and sense the often-hidden culture issues that may be holding their organizations back.

Authors and culture gurus Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein embrace the fact that every organization is unique, and every culture change initiative must reflect that uniqueness. Practical without being prescriptive, this book empowers executives, managers, and change agents at every level to think through corporate culture and lead their organizations toward change solutions that fit.