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What happened is prologue: creative divergence and corporate culture fabrication

Carolan McLarney (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Edward Chung (St Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin, USA)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 August 2000



Culture is an overarching phenomenon that helps individuals make sense of their world. However, culture is not an unchanging “given.” Members of a society actively create culture and, through their activities and interactions, sustain or change this culture. In an organizational setting, culture gives meaning to each person’s membership in the social stage that is the workplace. In the process of cultural creation and sustenance, the past is often used as a harbinger of things to come. How an organization effectively uses the past to shape its present culture is a major focus of this study. This article is an ethnographic study of how culture is fabricated, sustained, and renewed in a small advertising firm. The authors propose three interpretive themes – nightmare avoidance, “Richardism,” and dream building – and develop these into a framework using Drucker’s three entrepreneurial strategies. A fourth strategy, creative divergence, emerges from our in‐depth analysis of EMC.



McLarney, C. and Chung, E. (2000), "What happened is prologue: creative divergence and corporate culture fabrication", Management Decision, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 410-419.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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