Worldview and perception of organizational culture: Factors distinguishing dominant cultures from subcultures and managers from non-managers in northeastern United States workplaces

Date of Completion

January 1996


Business Administration, Management|Education, Adult and Continuing|Psychology, Industrial




Two major challenges face the American workforce: (1) globalization of the economy (requiring corporate responsiveness to philosophical and pragmatic dimensions of world cultures and economic systems), and (2) management of a changing workforce.^ This exploratory study quantitatively assessed respondents' worldview and perception of organizational culture and profiled the dimensions of dominant cultures and subcultures. Furthermore, it examined whether age, gender, education, ethnicity, worldview, and perception of organizational culture could predict group membership (manager or non-manager).^ The theoretical framework evolved from C. Kluckhohn's (1951, 1956) and F. R. Kluckhohn & Strodbeck's (1961) value orientations and value-emphases in different cultures, Ibrahim's (1984) conceptualization of worldview, and Schein's (1990, 1992) studies of organizational culture and leadership. Data were collected with two Likert type instruments: A Scale to Assess World Views (SAWV), developed by Ibrahim & Kahn (1984), and an Organizational Perception Survey (OPS), developed by Toczyska (1993). Descriptive statistics were used to distinguish dominant cultures from subcultures; t-tests were utilized to distinguish worldview and perception of organizational culture of managers from non-managers; and discriminant function analysis was used to predict group membership (manager or non-manager).^ The respondents (N = 174) constituted a relatively homogenous group in terms of nationality (93.1% born in the United States) and education (average 4.5 years of college). The dominant culture of the sample reflected the following beliefs: human nature is good (51%); social relations are based on individual goals (66.9%); and relationship to nature is based on harmonious co-existence (53.1%). Time and Activity dimensions reflected three separate subcultures instead of one dominant culture, and produced statistically significant differences between managers and non-managers. Non-managers had a stronger Past orientation; managers had a stronger Doing orientation.^ Providing top quality services and products was perceived as the most important value of organizational culture. Nonetheless, statistically significant differences occurred between managers and non-managers with regard to providing these top quality services and products; and with regard to perception of corporate risk taking, debating ideas, diversity of thought, and the value of being the most important company in the field. Overall, individual perception of organizational culture was the strongest predictor of group membership separating managers from non-managers. ^