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Organizational Culture and Symbols


Continental Airlines. What cultural symbols are used by your organizations? Symbols are ... myths surrounds Southwest Airlines? What myths surround your ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Organizational Culture and Symbols

Organizational Culture and Symbols
  • Chapter 12

Value of Symbols
  • Cope with trauma
  • 9/11 Patriotic
  • Flags
  • Sing on Capitol steps
  • Share Interest/Loyalty
  • HOGs (Harley Owners)
  • Apparel of every kind
  • What are symbols associated with your

Symbolic Frame Assumptions
  • What is most important is not what happens but
    what it means
  • Activity and meaning are loosely coupled events
    have multiple meanings because people interpret
    experience differently
  • In the face of widespread uncertainty and
    ambiguity, people create symbols to resolve
    confusion, increase predictability, find
    direction, and anchor hope and faith
  • Many events and processes are more important for
    what is expressed than what is produced.
  • Culture is the glue that holds and organization
    together and unites people around shared values
    and beliefs.

Views Through The Symbolic Framework
  • Life is more serendipitous than linear
  • Symbols embody culture
  • Is culture a product or process?
  • Do leaders shape culture, or are they shaped by

What Are the Cultural Symbols?
  • Nordstrom Department Stores
  • Volvo Automobiles
  • Continental Airlines
  • What cultural symbols are used by your

Symbols are
  • Myths
  • Originate in the founding of the organization
  • What myths surrounds Southwest Airlines?
  • What myths surround your organizations?

Symbols are
  • Values
  • Define what the organization stands for
  • How do values and goals differ?
  • What are Southwests core values?
  • What are the core values of your organization?

Symbols are
  • Vision
  • Sense of purpose an image of what the future
    might become
  • What was E-bay founders vision?
  • Henry Ford had a vision that horses would
    disappear from streets and a car would be in
    every yard
  • What was Martin Luther Kings vision?
  • What is your organizations vision?
  • What was the myth surrounding e-bay?
  • Why are myths perpetuated?

Symbols are
  • Heroes and Heroines
  • Who does the organization recognize?
  • Who does the organization admire?
  • Home Depot recognized who?
  • Who are the heroes and heroines in our society
  • Who does the Bible teach are heroes?

Symbols are
  • Stories and Fairy Tales
  • More than entertainment
  • More than moral instruction
  • Medium for communicating corporate myths
  • Offer comfort, reassurance, direction, hope

Story Telling Serves to
  • Pass along corporate traditions
  • Train employees
  • Empower people
  • Recognize accomplishments
  • Spread the word
  • Have fun
  • Recruit and hire the right people
  • Make sales
  • Develop better managers

Symbols are
  • Rituals and ceremony
  • What is the difference between ritual and
  • Create order, clarity, and predictability - can
    soften grief, celebrate
  • What are examples of personal rituals?
  • What are examples of corporate rituals?

Symbols are
  • Ceremony
  • Stabilize, convey messages to external
  • What are some religious ceremonies?
  • What are their purposes?
  • What are some academic ceremonies?
  • What are their purposes?
  • What ceremonies do your organizations create?
  • What are their purposes?

Symbols are
  • Metaphor, Humor, and Play
  • Indirect ways to grapple with issues too complex,
    mysterious, or threatening to approach head-on.
  • Make the strange familiar
  • What are some Biblical metaphors?
  • What are metaphors we teach children?
  • What are your organizational metaphors?