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Organizational Culture Study

Smelser (1980) has defined the term "culture"" as a set of definitions of reality held in common by people who share a distinctive way of life. By the phrase "definitions of reality" Smelser refers to the norms, values, social products, and ideologies of the cultural group. In organizational theory, organizations are said to fit the broad definition of culture such as that provided by Smelser. For this reason, current organizational research has studied organizations as cultures (Trujillo, 1982, 1983).

One perspective of the organization as a culture has focused on the nature of communications in the organization and how this communication affects organizational members (Smircich, 1983; Van Maanen, 1985; Pacanowskky & O'Donnell-Trujillo, 1982; Pettigrew, 1970). This communication perspective holds that communications and communications-related activities provide meaning to the organization, thereby sustaining it. Thus, the communication perspective of organizations as cultures would state that there must be analysis of both the nature and the effects of organizational communication in order to understand any organization as a culture.

The proposed study focuses upon examining one particular organization from the standpoint of the communication-culture perspective of organizational theory. The selected organization is Martin Luther King Law and Public Service High School (LPS) a small, urban high school which has a specialized curriculum study of law and public service.

The proposed study has the purpose of examining communication and communication-related activities at LPS in order to determine how the school functions as a culture. This general purpose will be accomplished by collecting data from students, teachers, and staff. In order to fully understand the nature of collected data, and its relation to the communication/culture perspective, a brief sketch of the several areas of inquiry can be presented here. In ...

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