Since the establishment of the organizational culture construct, some organizational researchers have applied ideas directly from Schein (Pedersen, 1991; Pedersen & Sorensen, 1989; Phillips, 1990; Schultz, In press), whereas others have challenged his approach. For example, subculture researchers have disputed Schein's assumption that organizational cultures are unitary (Barley, 1983; Borum & Pedersen, 1992; Gregory, 1983; Louis, 1983; Martin & Siehl, 1983; Riley, 1983; Van Maanen & Barley, 1985; Young, 1989). Other researchers, noting the apparent ambivalence and ambiguity found in culture, have contested the idea that the function of culture is to maintain social structure (Feldman, 1991; Martin, 1992; Meyerson, 1991a, 1991b; Meyerson & Martin, 1987). Still others, working under the broad label of symbolic-interpretive research, have pursued perspectives that Schein ignored. The symbolic-interpretivists generally follow traditions established by Berger and Luckmann (1966) or Schutz (1970), focusing on symbols and symbolic behavior in organizations and interpreting these phenomena in a variety of ways (e.g., Alvesson, 1987; Alvesson & Berg, 1992; Broms & Gahmberg, 1983; Czarniawska-Joerges, 1988, 1992; Eisenberg & Riley, 1988; Kreiner, 1989; Pettigrew, 1979; Putnam, 1983; Rosen, 1985; Smircich, 1983; Smircich & Morgan, 1983; Turner, 1986; Wilkins, 1978). However, in spite of all these approaches to understanding organizational culture (for an overview see compendiums edited by Frost, Moore, Louis, Lundberg, & Martin, 1985, 1991; Gagliardi, 1990; Jones, Moore, & Snyder, 1988; Pondy, Frost, Morgan, & Dandridge, 1983; Turner, 1990), Schein's formulation remains one of the only conceptual models ever offered.
Although arguments against conceptual models of organizational culture have been made on the grounds that they oversimplify complex phenomena, such models serve an important role in guiding empirical research and generating...