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Schein on Organisational Culture

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Schein on Organisational Culture

Culture is expressed by Handy as being: 'the way we do things around here'. This means the sum total of the belief, knowledge, attitudes, norms and customs that prevail in an organisation.

This page looks at Schein's ideas on corporate culture.


Schein argues that the first leaders of a company create the culture of an organisation. Once the culture exists, the attributes/criteria for the later leaders are determined by the culture.Thus the link between culture and leadership is very strong.

Schein further commented that it if leaders are to lead, itis essential that they understand the culture of the organisation.

In order to try and define culture, Schein described three levels:

  • Artefacts - these are the aspects of culture that can be easily seen, e.g. the way that people dress.
  • Espoused values - these are the strategies and goals of an organisation, including company slogans etc.
  • Basic assumptions and values - these are difficult to identify as they are unseen, and exist mainly at the unconscious level.

New employees find the last level of culture the most difficult tounderstand, and lack of understanding of the basic values is one of themain contributors to failure when trying to implement change.

Other writers on culture

 Please click on the following for further details:

Created at 6/20/2012 3:43 PM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London
Last modified at 11/13/2012 2:23 PM  by System Account  (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

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ACCAPEDIA - Schein on Organisational Culture