Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2015


Organizational culture can be a competitive advantage to the extent of how employees learn underlying core values. Workplace rituals are symbolic mechanisms through which employees may learn to operate in a given particular culture. Yet, surprisingly little research exists examining how different rituals are used as learning mechanisms in different cultures. Drawing on Cameron and Quinn’s (1999) cultural framework, I examined four different types of organizational cultures: clan, hierarchy, market, and adhocracy. A total of 16, semi-structured interviews with managers, owners, and staff, along with 5 field observations were used to examine the link among rituals, learning, and culture. Findings suggest that the emphasis on emotional, cognitive, and behavioral rituals were linked with different cultures. Specifically, in clan-based cultures, learning of culture values occurred through personal belonging and trusting relationships; in an adhocracy-based culture, learning of cultural values occurred through collaborative creativity and empowerment; in market-based cultures, learning of cultural values occurred through performance and consistency (to sell); and in hierarchy-based cultures, learning of cultural values occurred through efficiency and consistency (of product). Theoretical and practical implications are addressed. Rituals help to foster a stronger culture that may contribute to a competitive advantage.

Included in

Business Commons