Four Organisational Cultures in the Australian Public Service: Assessing the Validity and Plausbility of Mary Douglas' Cultural Theory: Assessing the Validity and Plausibility of Mary Douglas’ Cultural Theory

Craig Matheson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper seeks to contribute to the study of organisational culture within the public sector by using Mary Douglas' cultural theory to analyse organisational cultures within the Australian Public Service (APS). It shows that the four cultures that she identifies, namely, hierarchy, individualism, egalitarianism, and fatalism, have been present within the APS. It also shows that these cultures can be explained in terms of variations in the extent of social regulation (grid) and social integration (group), as Douglas predicts in her theory. The article thereby shows that cultural theory is valid and it can contribute to the study of organisational cultures, particularly those within the public sector. It shows that the strength of these four cultures within the APS varies in accordance with organisational rank. Fatalism is strongest at junior and middle levels; individualism is strongest at senior levels whereas hierarchy is strongest at middle levels.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)644-657
    Number of pages14
    JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
    Volume77
    Issue number4
    Early online date2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

    Keywords

    • Australian Public Service
    • cultural theory
    • grid group theory
    • Mary Douglas
    • organisational culture

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Four Organisational Cultures in the Australian Public Service: Assessing the Validity and Plausbility of Mary Douglas' Cultural Theory: Assessing the Validity and Plausibility of Mary Douglas’ Cultural Theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this