Information, communication and organizational culture : a grounded theory approach
This research is focused on information and communication phenomena within one industrial organisation. From its intellectual situation within the interpretive epistemological tradition the thesis seeks to demonstrate the utility of the case study approach combined with the style of qualitative analysis known as 'grounded theory' for scholars interested in furthering their understanding of the information dimension of complex organisations. More specifically, a preliminary examination of the data set in conjunction with a theoretical position which posited the socially and cognitive constructed nature of organisations quite naturally led to the case study material being interpreted through the prism of the cultural metaphor. Chapter 1 provides an account of the methodological and research design principles, issues and assumptions on which this research has been predicated. Chapter 2 gives an overview of the data collected in the form of brief summaries of the central themes which have been used to analyse the case study organisation. The cultural perspective on organisations is then presented in Chapter 3. Acquaintance with the content of the cultural approach to Complex organisations is required in order to facilitate the reader's understanding of Chapters 4-10 in which the data are examined and analysed. Chapter 4 gives a short introduction to the case study organisation at which the research was conducted. Chapters 5-8 are detailed case study analyses of four of the organisation's principal subsidiaries. These are followed by a macro-organisational analysis which examines the cultural and information/communication profiles that have been developed for the subsidiaries within the total socio-organisational context. Chapter 9's emphasis on the core categories omits some important aspects of the organisation's culture (its strengths, weaknesses, the issue of control and its relative stability) which are dealt with in Chapter 10. Chapter 11 provides a description and analysis of a new product launch conducted by the organisation: the chapter seeks to evaluate the merits of using an approach which emphasises information/communication and cultural variables for the understanding and analysis of organisational behaviour. Finally, Chapter 12 sets out some of the conclusions that can be drawn from this research project. It takes a critical look at the research design and methodology employed and introduces Kuhn's (1962) concept of a paradigm which is used as a descriptive and analytical tool for evaluating the cultural perspective. Some further conceptualisation of the cases and the new product launch is attempted and process models of complex organisations in general and organisational culture in particular are derived and explained. The inter-relation of information and communication phenomena and organisational culture is further elaborated first normatively in the form of typologies and second prescriptively in terms of the use value of culture for information and communication studies. The conclusions are then summarised and recommendations for further research are made.