Organizational culture – a popular but also a very complex concept – has been identified as an influential factor affecting the successes and failures of organizational change efforts. Many empirical organizational culture studies have been carried out in information systems (IS) research. However, culture is a very versatile concept, and there are many controversies in both defining and applying it. Therefore, this paper reviews different conceptions of organizational culture in the existing literature – in anthropology, organizational studies and in IS research. Also recent criticism on the existing conceptions is presented. Furthermore, organizational change is also a complex concept, due to which this paper discusses also differing conceptions of organizational change and conceptions of change employed in the empirical IS literature. Finally, a framework for the analysis of organizational culture and change is developed. The framework identifies three positions on organizational culture and change: optimist, pessimist and relativist, and discusses their implications. The optimist position is criticized of relying on very naïve notions of culture and change. The pessimist position can be criticized of lacking relevance to practice. Finally, the relativist position is recommended as the most realistic position for the prospective IS research on organizational culture and change.
Iivari, Netta, "The Role of Organizational Culture in Organizational Change - Identifying a Realistic Position for Prospective IS Research" (2005). ECIS 2005 Proceedings. 46.