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OtherWise by Dick Martin

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19Organizational Culture

The media love to trot out references to the “slow and lumbering culture” of big companies like AT&T, General Motors, and IBM, especially when they can be contrasted with the “quick, entrepreneurial cultures” of tech companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google. And there is some truth in their observation. Small companies generally do act more quickly and decisively than large ones; start-ups are, by their very nature, less risk-averse than long-established companies.

But Geert Hofstede’s research (see Chapter Eighteen) shows that organizational cultures differ mainly at the level of symbols, heroes, and rituals, which are more superficial than the cultures of nations. The cultures of organizations are rooted in practices ...

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