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Title: An ethnographic study of organisational culture in an isolated oil community
Author: Toutoungi, Ioanni
ISNI:       0000 0001 3535 6224
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2006
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This research is an ethnographic study of organisational culture in an isolated oil community by studying an international oil service contractor in a remote part of Egypt.  Data collection methods included on-site observations, photographs, in-depth interviews and informal conversations across organisational hierarchies in order to capture and understand behaviour and perceptions from a range of employees.  Fieldwork findings were transcribed and coded manually to identify core organisational values such as trust, respect, pride, safety and underlying factors: namely religion, familial cohesion and pace of work that underpinned work interactions and social relations.  Attention was then given to the influence formal and informal subgroups (with their attitudes, beliefs and values) had in shaping the compound’s culture. This thesis makes three main contributions to the organisational culture literature.  Firstly, it shows that culture is fluid, contested and complex within an isolated oil community and argues that culture cannot be treated as a monolithic stereotype, such as ‘macho’ as it is portrayed in much of the oil related literature.  Instead, the ethnographic findings demonstrated that there is a difference between espoused and actual behaviour and that softer values such as cohesion, trust and respect, underpinned work and social relations and highlighted the importance of family-type bonds between workers.  Secondly, it offers an understanding of the formation of informal subgroups which appear to act as family surrogates to compensate for the absence from home.  Thirdly, it contributes to the literature on workplace ethnography by providing theoretical and methodological insights into the study of culture in an isolated work community which would normally be both unwelcome and uncommon in a ‘closed industry’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available