Managing Organizational Culture: Compliance or Genuine Change?

Emmanuel Ogbonna, Lloyd C. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The issue of managing culture is of key importance within management theory and practice. A number of extant studies have found that attempts to ‘manage’ culture frequently degenerate into the enforcement of espoused behaviours. The objective of this paper is to provide empirical evidence and discussion of the consequences of management attempts to change culture. The paper reviews existing theory pertaining to organizational culture change and presents the desire to control as the rationale for management attempts to modify culture. After a brief discussion of the research design and methodology employed, the findings of a single case study are presented. The findings suggest that within the case study organization, a recent change initiative had resulted in changes to material manifestations, behaviours and in some cases values. However, it is noted that modifications to values could be the result of ‘instrumental value compliance’. The paper culminates with conclusions, implications and suggestions for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-288
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998


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