In the early ’80s, Allan Kennedy and Terry Deal launched a new field of inquiry and practice, with the publication of Corporate Cultures, in which they argued that distinct types of cultures evolve within companies and have a direct impact on strategy and performance. Fifteen years later, the authors have teamed up to assess the effects of globalization, short-termism, technology, downsizing, outsourcing, mergers, and reengineering on corporate culture. They find that despite these tremendous pressures, organizations, by their very nature, will create self-reinforcing communities; the pattern today is for mini-cultures to form within the larger corporation. The challenge for managers and leaders at all levels is to find ways to knit these cultures together to unleash learning and encourage everyone to take ownership and pride in their work. Taking examples from innovative companies around the world, the authors offer new strategies for “exercising cultural leadership,” — rebuilding the cultural fabric of the organization, energizing the workforce, enhancing corporate performance, and preparing for new challenges in the 21st century.
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