A conceptual approach to studying the organisational culture of construction projects

Thayaparan Gajendran, Graham Brewer, Andrew R J Dainty, Goran Runeson


Abstract

Studying the culture of project organisations requires a robust theoretical framework, which provides a platform for generating understanding. It is argued that cultural analysis frameworks are most effectively conceptualised from multiple philosophical and multi-methodological positions. To this end this paper presents a cultural analysis framework for studying construction project organisations, based on a synthesis of the culture literature. Four key aspects underpinning organisational cultural framework are explored: the paradigms used to conceptualise organisational culture, the methods by which individuals represent and assess cultural dimensions, the cultural perspectives assumed by the observer when defining and describing culture, and the managers’ orientation to culture in their organisations. The proposed framework comprises three synthesised cultural philosophical positions: integration-technical, differentiation-practical and fragmentation-emancipation. These philosophical positions span the polar extremes defining the cultural paradigm continuum, which together provide researchers and organisational managers with a sound foundation from which to study the culture of project organisations.

 

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