Oranizational culture may, as organizational discourse analysis, mean many things and is very hard to delimit and specify. A lot of writings labelled 'organizational culture' share with discourse analysis a strong interest in language use in organizational settings, but many texts sidestep any theme related to language and focus on something else: behavior, minds, emotions, values, cognitions. Again, other authors are more vague on how they conceive language: more general notions of meanings, expressions or communications are used. As I see it, a cultural approach to organizations would be language-sensitive, but not necessarily language-focused.
This chapter contains a comparision between a cultural and a discursive approach. Very briefly, my point is that a cultural approach focuses more broadly on shared. moderately stable forms of meaning that are only partly verbalized. Culture concerns systems of meanings and symbolism involving take-for-granted elements in need of decyphering. Myths, basic assumptions about human nature, the environment, etc. are seldom directly espoused. They are partly non-conscious and occasionally 'language-distant', that is, not necessarily directly espoused, but call for reading between and behind the lines. A discursive understanding looks more specifically on language in use and views meaning as discursively constituted and typically as unstable. This understanding would call not so much for 'deeper' analysis, but for the identification and tracing of discourses and their efforts.
© Mats Alvesson 2004