Control and Commitment in a High-Tech Corporation. Labor & Social Change S.
In this intriguing ethnography of a large American high-tech corporation, Gideon Kunda offers a critical analysis of its much celebrated "corporate culture." In his extensive study of the company's engineering division, Kunda uses detailed descriptions of everyday rituals and interactions in which the culture is brought to life, excerpts from in-depth interviews and a wide variety of corporate texts to vividly portray managerial attempts to design and impose the culture and the ways in which it is experienced by members of the organization.The company's management, Kunda reveals, uses a variety of methods to promulgate what it claims is a non-authoritarian, informal, and flexible work environment that enhances and rewards individual commitment, initiative, and creativity while promoting personal growth. The author demonstrates, however, that these pervasive efforts mask an elaborate and subtle form of normative control in which the members' minds and hearts become the target of corporate influence. Gideon Kunda is a Lecturer in Sociology and Labor Studies at Tel Aviv University.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"[P]rovides a much needed balance to the organizational-culture literature that is sweeping the organizational-behavior field and...making its way into popular culture." --Paul DiMaggio "Kunda finds a dark side to the new management desire to 'bind employees' hearts and minds to the corporate interest.'... The pervasive employee response is irony--acceptance and detachment at the same time. Thus the culture undermines itself." --Sloan Management Review "Using detailed descriptions of everyday rituals and interactions in which the 'corporate culture' is brought to life, as well as excerpts of in-depth interviews, the author portrays vividly the tension caused by managerial control and the forms of individual experience it produces." --Science Books & Films "[Engineering Culture] is a wonderfully ironic account of corporate life in the fast lanes of the high-tech trades... Kunda's display of the emotional underlife of organizational fun-and-games is a most revealing one." --John Van Maanen, MIT