Culture Clash – How organizational culture affects effective crisis management
2008 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Given the importance of organizational culture in explaining organizational behavior, it is surprising that research on how organizational culture affects organizations’ ability to react to and act in times of crisis has received limited interest. In this paper we examine how specific organizational cultures affected crisis responses in three cases – the handling of the so called anthrax letters in Sweden by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) in 2001, the electrical power company Birka Energy’s management of a big tunnel fire in Stockholm, Sweden in 2001 and the television broadcasting company TV 4’s response to September 11, 2001. The cases have been researched by the use of a detailed process tracing of the main decision making occasions that the organizations confronted that e.g. included interviews with key participants in the crisis management. The studies show that in the FOI case, the democratic expert advisory culture led to a crisis response that was characterized by vague leadership and lack of decision making capacity. In the case of Birka Energy, the technical engineering culture resulted in a crisis response that lacked understanding of symbolic and communicative dimensions of crisis communication, focusing solely on the technical and operational parts of the crisis. The TV 4 case on the other hand shows a flexible organizational culture that managed to handle the change in mission.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Research subject Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot krishantering och internationell samverkan
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-2555OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-2555DiVA: diva2:525911
The 24th EGOS Colloquium at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, 10-12 July 2008