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Organizational Culture and Leadership, 5th Edition by Peter Schein, Edgar H. Schein

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5A DEVELOPMENTAL GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION IN SINGAPORE

Can this culture model be usefully applied to a different type of organization? To test this I decided to include a shortened version of one of the chapters from my book on the culture study I had done in the early 1990s as a paid researcher in Singapore (Schein, 1996b).

Case 3: Singapore’s Economic Development Board

In thirty years Singapore has gone from being a third world country with a per capita GDP of $500 to having a per capita GDP of $15,000 and being on the edge of the rich industrial world. No country has ever developed faster.

(Lester Thurow from Foreword to Schein, 1996b)

The case of Singapore illustrates the structure of cultural analysis very well, because the visible artifacts of the dictatorial repressive political regime that evolved there cannot be understood without locating the taken-for-granted basic assumptions the leaders had when they founded an independent Singapore in the early 1960s. Singapore’s story begins with a vision shared by its political leader, Lee Kuan Yew, and his fellow British-educated colleagues, who were combining their shared vision with a desire to make this ex-British colony into a “global city with total business capabilities.”

This shared vision can be thought of as the “espoused beliefs and values” of the culture model. What makes the case interesting is that it is one of the rare cases I have encountered in which the artifacts, the espoused values, and the underlying assumptions ...

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