The glorious failure

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article describes an organizational intervention that was considered highly successful on first sight and in the short term. However, after some time it emerged that the effects of this organizational intervention were surprisingly different from what had been planned and foreseen. A deeper analysis indicates the substantive effects of the basic assumptions (not always conscious) of management, foremen, workers, and the professional team conducting the intervention. The dynamics of influence of these assumptions and the possible overall implications for organizational interventions are discussed. One of the popular models for analysis of organizational cultures, suggested by Schein (1990), distinguishes among three levels of culture: (a) the overt, visible level, which includes the characteristic behaviors of the organization's members (dress style, mannerisms, rituals, ways of speaking); (b) the organization's central values, which form a kind of "codex" or "cognitive map" guiding members' behavior; and (c) the level of "basic assumptions." The last level, which is also the deepest level, is the most abstract and the hardest to describe. To borrow an image from the world of computers, the "basic assumptions" are the operating system, "organizational values" are the application program, and "behaviors" are the actual applications.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)27-45
    Number of pages19
    JournalThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1997

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Applied Psychology


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