Cultural theory and organizations: Analytical method and cases

Yochanan Altman, Yehuda Baruch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the context of the ongoing debate on the understanding of organizational culture, this paper presents a cultural theory of organizations (grid/group analysis) originating in anthropology. It is a generic model which proposes a conceptual framework for comparing organizations, organizing and change. The model identifies particular configurations of social relationships, dictating 'ways of life' (organizational cultures) which are both exclusive and differentiating. Three active cultures (and one passive) are identified: hierarchical, sectarian, market (and fatalistic). Two case studies demonstrating the descriptive power of the model are presented. One is a meta-organizational analysis of a large, complex organization: the Israeli Armed Forces. The other is an Israeli high-tech industrial enterprise undergoing a major organizational and cultural change. Finally, comparisons with other typological organizational models, and current cross-cultural theories of organization are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-785
Number of pages17
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998


  • Anthropology
  • Armed forces
  • Case studies
  • Cultural theory
  • Grid/group
  • High technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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