- List of Contributors
- Introduction: The Need for Meta-theoretical Reflection in Organization Theory
- Organization Theory as a Positive Science
- Organization Theory as an Interpretive Science
- Organization Theory as a Critical Science? Forms of Analysis and ‘New Organizational Forms’
- Organization Theory as a Postmodern Science
- The Origins of Organization Theory
- The Historical and Epistemological Foundations of Organization Theory: Fusing Sociological Theory with Engineering Discourse
- Feminist Theory and Organization Theory: A Dialogue on New Bases
- The Styles and the Stylists of Organization Theory
- Pluralism, Scientific Progress, and the Structure of Organization Theory
- The Agency/Structure Dilemma in Organization Theory: Open Doors and Brick Walls
- Modes of Explanation in Organization Theory
- Micro and Macro Perspectives in Organization Theory: A Tale of Incommensurability
- Economic versus Sociological Approaches to Organization Theory
- Meta-theoretical Controversies in Studying Organizational Culture
- Actionable Knowledge
- Theory and Practice in the Real World
- Organization Theory and Ethics: Varieties and Dynamics of Constrained Optimization
- Character and Virtue in an Era of Turbulent Capitalism
- The Future of Organization Theory: Prospects and Limitations
- Managing Organization Futures in a Changing World of Power/Knowledge
- The Future of Organization Studies: Beyond the Selection–Adaptation Debate
- At Home from Mars to Somalia: Recounting Organization Studies
- New Times, Fresh Challenges: Reflections on the Past and the Future of Organization Theory
Abstract and Keywords
To understand the contemporary state of organizational culture theory and research, it is necessary to grapple with some of the major intellectual disputes that have swept through the humanities and social sciences in recent years. Some researchers choose to study a single cultural context, in great detail and depth. This article deals with five controversies which include: objectivity and subjectivity; etic (outsider) and emic (insider) research; generalizable and context-specific research; focus and breadth; and level of depth. These issues are introduced in terms relevant to all branches of organizational studies. Their particular application to cultural studies is also discussed here. These disputes are usually framed as struggles between opposing terms — dichotomies, such as ‘objectivity and subjectivity’ or ‘etic and emic’.
Joanne Martin is the Fred H. Merrill Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. She holds a BA from Smith College, a Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology and Social Relations at Harvard University, and an Honorary Doctorate in Economics and Business Administration from the Copenhagen Business School. She recently received the Distinguished Educator award from the Academy of Management and the Centennial Medal for ‘contributions to society’ from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard. She serves on the Advisory Board of the International Centre for Research in Organizational Discourse, Strategy, and Change for the Universities of Melbourne, Sydney, London, and McGill. She has published many articles and five books including Cultures in Organizations: Three Perspectives (1992) and Organizational Culture: Mapping the Terrain (2002). In 2005 she received an honorary doctorate from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and the Distinguished Scholar award from the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management.
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