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The role of subcultures in agile organizations

  • Author(s): Boisnier, A
  • Chatman, JA
  • et al.

© 2003 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. Our goal in this chapter is to develop a framework for understanding how subcultures influence strong culture organizations’ agility. We begin with the proposition that organizations benefit from simultaneously managing strong, stable cultures while maintaining the flexibility and adaptability necessary to survive the ebbs and flows of turbulent environments (e.g., Tushman & O'Reilly, 1996). We then distinguish among various types of values to consider how subcultures can co-exist and evolve within strong organizational cultures. We also investigate the conditions that stimulate subcultures to emerge from individual, group, and organizational levels of analysis. Finally, we describe how subcultures can increase organizational agility by providing a source of creativity and flexibility.

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