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Management Theory of Edgar Schein

Jeanne Dininni

Let the Edgar Schein organizational culture and leadership model transform your company

Edgar Schein's management theory focuses on the culture within an organization. According to Schein, culture is the primary source ...

According to Schein, culture is the primary source of resistance to change within an organization, and an accurate understanding of organizational dynamics begins with recognizing this fact. Edgar Schein theory presents 3 levels of culture, which are necessary to understand for effective leadership: artifacts (surface cultures, such as dress, which are easily seen but difficult to decipher), espoused values (conscious goals, strategies and philosophies), and basic assumptions (unconscious beliefs and values that form the core of culture and affect everything we do).

Schein also analyzed group dynamics based on his theory of organizational culture. According to Schein theory, groups operate within the group culture in the same way that organizations operate within the culture of the organization. His model divides informal groups into 3 classifications:

  1. Horizontal cliques, or informal groups of similar organizational rank who work in close proximity;
  2. Vertical cliques, or groups containing various ranks within the same department; and
  3. The last set identified by Schein's management theory, mixed cliques, or groups containing members of different ranks, departments and locations.

Acquire some background information on Schein management theory

Numerous websites provide valuable information about Schein theory. In addition to diagrams and summaries of Schein's principles, you'll find various instructional materials that can help you develop the background knowledge and practical expertise to put Schein's management theory to work for your company.

Seek guidance as you incorporate Schein management theory into your company's program

Consultants with knowledge and experience in the management theory of Edgar Schein can guide you in maximizing the benefit of his principles in your own company's unique environment.

Investigate Schein management resources which can help you implement his advice

Tools and resources available online can help you more easily implement Edgar Schein's management theories. Activities, games, exercises and other Edgar Schein theory-based products, information and services can help you learn the principles most valuable to your business.

Official Ed Schein Website, maintained by MIT, where Schein teaches at the Sloan School of Management.

  • Be sure to take advantage of as many online tools and resources as possible to develop a clear understanding of the value that Schein management theories can have for your company.
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Jeanne Dininni