Management Attitude Shaping Cultural Sustainability in a Taxi Company—An Israeli Case Study

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Abstract

This research examined human interaction in a taxi driving company, analyzing the cultural influence of the management’s social definition of its employees. In addition, this case study examined the relevance of “activity theory” through the perspective of the “iceberg model”. Based on this model, the researcher explored the overt and practical layers of the organizational culture of the company as well as its hidden layers. The ethnographic research developed along qualitative lines: 28 interviews and 10 direct observations in the organizational setting. The research questions were: ‘How did the owners’ attitude shape the culture of their taxi company and how did their behavior influence cultural sustainability?’ The findings portrayed a culture of conflict, driven by the owners’ motivation to become rich quickly. The overt layers of the organizational culture included domineering managerial behavior, exploiting the drivers’ inferior status, creating a high level of stress, and openly humiliating them. The drivers were deeply dissatisfied, which led to high rates of turnover. Moreover, analyzing the social interactions in the firm uncovered the hidden agenda of the owners (i.e., the covert layers), which was to amass a fortune in a short time at the expense of their workers. The analysis highlighted the damage this capitalist managerial attitude caused to the organizational sustainability of the company. The managerial behavior caused high driver turnover, which led to a constant shortage of drivers and instability in the company. By focusing on one taxi driving company in northern Israel, this research enriches the literature in the fields of social interaction, activity theory, organizational culture, and sustainability. This paper presents insights that stem from “activity theory”, according to which managers can interact with their employees, overcoming mistrust and conflict, in order to enhance organizational sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13109
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume14
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the author.

Keywords

  • cab
  • driver turnover
  • management
  • organizational culture
  • sustainability
  • taxi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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