The concept of a symbol concerns the meaning behind an object or a process being of greater importance than its function. Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal (2017) state that “the symbolic frame interprets and illuminates the basic issues of meaning and belief that make symbols so potent” (p. 241). The concept is rooted in several disciplines, such as psychology and sociology. Symbolic forms include myths, visions, values, rituals, and ceremonies among others. The chapters assigned to address the notion of organizational dynamics as a theatre as well. Chapter I of the book by Gideon Kunda, meanwhile, explores culture as concerning organizations, focusing on its aspect of normative control. This paper addresses the connections found while examining the two sources given.
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Stating that culture is both a product and a process, chapter XII deals with the question of whether organizations have culture, or are cultures themselves (Bolman & Deal, 2017). As a product, it is the company’s lore and wisdom. As a process, the company culture is renewed and recreated in the process of new hires’ induction. Re-phrased by Kunda (2009), culture is both the rules of work behavior and experience and a vehicle through which the above-mentioned is influenced. Corporate culture, thus, is a means of control, and normative control aiming at strengthening said culture can end in tyrannical leadership. Bolman and Deal (2017), expanding on the connection between culture and leadership, in the examples of BMW and Nordstrom enterprises establish a direct positive correlation between company culture and success.
Addressing the ritual and ceremony aspects of the symbolic frame, Chapter I states that their use needs to be overt; a creation of company philosophy is essential. The author addresses the use of such metaphors as “religion,” “family” and “marriage” in describing the work environment (Kunda, 2009, p. 7). Both sources enumerate certain war metaphors as well.
Chapter XIV addresses the notion of an organization as a theater, discussing whether the display of power is effective even when unsubstantiated. Chapter I of the book by Kunda (2009), meanwhile, elaborating on the subject of normative control, poses the question of the Lyndswille’s employees’ experiences being not authentic, but “stylized roles” (p. 17). Thus, tyrannical control is aimed at the private domains of self; it is an invasion of freedom and dignity.
Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2017). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass.
Kunda, G. (2006). Engineering culture: Control and commitment in a high-tech corporation (Revised ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.