• Viktor Hugo Brastrup Clasen
  • Freja Cortsen Brandt
3. term, Applied Philosophy, Master (Master Programme)
This master’s thesis explores the subject of good organizational culture, and how to secure it in organizations. The common interest for exploring this subject is due to a presumption that people throughout their working life spend a large part of their waking hours at work. The workplace, as an organization, thus has a great influence on the quality of life of its members. This influence extends outward as well, and may impact many parts of society depending on the reach of the organization. For these reasons, it is apparent that organizations ought to have some responsibility toward managing this influence in a morally sound way. The culture in an organization is a large factor in how the organization’s influence is managed. Thus, a good organizational culture is essential to ensuring that the influence of organizations is for good rather than bad.
Therefore the question explored in this master’s thesis is: What obligations must members of an organization take in order to improve and secure a good organizational culture?
Throughout the thesis, we will initially explore the theoretical meaning of what an organization is, what culture is, what good organizational culture is, and how one creates good organizational culture. Major theorists for this include Schein & Schein, Liza Herzog, and Kristian Høyer Toft among others. The knowledge we gain from this theoretical exploration gives us a general idea about good organizational culture. However, the complex nature of organizations, being composed of a multitude of different individuals, necessitates an individualized analysis of each organization. Thus, the thesis goes on to a case analysis, first of Activision Blizzard, a corporation thought to have a bad organizational culture, and afterwards of Ben & Jerry’s a corporation thought to have a good organizational culture. Both corporations were selected based on assessments from surface-level knowledge about them. Each analysis explores the corporation’s organizational culture, identifying what part of it is good and bad. Afterwards, we discuss some key questions posed by our subject, namely whether an organization could even be held socially responsible to improve their culture, and what theoretical nuances we could not cover, owing to the limitations of the thesis.
Our findings were as follows: a culture is vastly complex due to the interactions between individuals, no less so in an organization. For such a culture to be ‘good’, it must support morally sound behaviour of its members while also counteracting morally unsound behaviour. But the actual obligations must be in a more concrete form than simply demanding these two norms from people, but the obligations must adhere to the norms. This is why the case analysis is of much importance in order to identify concrete and individual issues for them to improve. Analysing the two cases revealed that both showed signs of bad organizational culture, although Activision Blizzard to a much worse degree than Ben & Jerry’s. The analysis also revealed a stark difference between how both corporations presented themselves and what their actual organizational culture was. For this reason, in the discussion we used Philip Pettit to conclude that a major goal for each corporation would be to align their culture with the one they presented, which would not only improve the culture but also make them more trustworthy. Addressing the perspective of organizations as agents, and the relationship between ethics and profit, we found that organizations are not agents in themselves, but rather constituted of agents, the most influential of whom should bear the greatest responsibility for the culture. Being a fact that these cultures are affected by money profit, agents of influence should also be aware of the vices money profit contributes to each organization, and make an active stand to counteract those vices.
Publication date1 Mar 2022
Number of pages138
ID: 456990303