Managing culture change: can it ever be ethical?

Jean Woodall (Kingston University, Kingston upon Thames, UK)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Publication date: 1 December 1996


Considers corporate culture management as an area where ethical concern and analysis has been weak. Examines justification of corporate culture management as an essential ingredient for corporate success, and finds little evidence to support a consequentialist ethic. Proceeds to identify areas where ethical issues might arise in the process of corporate culture change, particularly the role of change agents, and the ethical outcomes of the “unfreeze‐change‐refreeze” process. Illustrates these by reference to two case studies of corporate culture change programmes. Finally, concludes with reflection on potential ethical frameworks for the interpretation and guidance of corporate culture management initiatives. Makes a case for communitarian ethics, and outlines their implications for culture management.



Woodall, J. (1996), "Managing culture change: can it ever be ethical?", Personnel Review, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 26-40.

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Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited

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