Changing a Leopard’s Spots: A New Research Direction for Organizational Culture in the Operations Management Field

September 2016 | Metters, Rich

Operations Management (OM) research on organizational culture has to change to be able to inform practice. Currently, organizational culture research in OM is largely confined to narrow topical and methodological niches and culture is most frequently used as an explanatory variable in quantitative, survey-based research. We argue that the relegation of culture to this niche is due to self-imposed methodological blinders that hobble the OM field. We then present four research imperatives to reinvigorate organizational culture research within our field. We urge OM scholars to view culture as a dynamic concept that can be influenced, to adopt alternative methods, to use non-traditional data sources, and to rethink assumptions about dependent variables. We also identify gaps in the current knowledge and new research questions for the OM domain. We conclude that the field of OM could greatly expand its understanding of organizational culture and in so doing greatly improve business practice, but that to do so will require a change in the culture of the operations management research community.



Production and Operations Management