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Notes on Engineering Culture

Reference:Kunda,G.(1992).EngineeringCulture:ControlandCommitmentinaHighTechCorporation. Philadelphia,PA:TempleUniversityPress.

Chapter 1 "Culture and organization" Description of Tech. A company where there is a strong culture of work
Dave Carpenter is a manager that work long hours The idea is to educate people without them knowing it o let them work off some steam o show them that they are not out on their own Generate enthusiasm o celebrate some of the successes o make his presence felt Ellen Cohen will run a "Culture module" in a presentation She gave up coding and started to make educational modules Culture is a people issue - a personnel OD (Organizational Development) type of thing That company is a dangerous place. People can get hurt, lose marriages, but the work is rewarding (apparently) For both of them the culture has a dual nature It is the context It is also the object of their work lives

Culture is a mechanism of control


It is generally viewed as the shared rules governing cognitive and affective aspects of membership in an organization According to Edgar Shein, there is a potentially manageable relationship between the behavior of senior managers and cultural outcomes Understanding the practical consequences of normative in bureaucratic settings becomes very important

Consequences of control (There are distinct views)


The view of supporters and proponents It is the wave of the future Normative is liberating: it erases conflict between organization and individual o Freedom o Autonomy o Creativity It is technically feasible The view of critics It is a tyranny The soul is lost It is dysfunctional o Cannot last o The cost is too high and there is no loyalty o In the example, there is a poor tech guy that became an alcoholic because he couldn't cope

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Notes on Engineering Culture

Chapter 3 "Ideology: Tech Culture Codified" Direct voice of managerial authority


"The company philosophy" Videotape or the big guy's speech

The voice of expert authority


Papers Reports memos attributed to internal experts

The voice of objective authority


Selective representation of outside materials Press clippings

Chapter 4: "Presentation rituals: Talking ideology" (Ritual and normative control are an integral part at Tech) They are characterized by a decentralization of power
Agents of control are everywhere People are constantly observed Mini-dramas of symbolic power are everywhere

Presentation rituals are occasions for reinforcing the display of managerially sanctioned member role
They are mechanisms for mediating normative demands and normative responses The mediating function is not easy Juxtaposition of ideology and common sense Juxtaposition of subject and agent Juxtaposition of obligation and choice The final question is What is a real -or a false- self?

Chapter 5: Self and organization The organizational self is a part of the sense of self that individuals associate with membership in the organization The organizational self is an arena of two types of struggles
First, attempt to delineate and control the boundaries of an organizational self in the face of experienced organizational pressures and also the own impulses Second, members seek to control both cognitive and affective responses within the bounded organization itself

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