Management agree with the statement “organizations will not learn effectively until they recognize and confront the implications of the three occupational cultures.” There are several reasons for agreeing with the statements. First according to Schein, organizational learning failures are caused not by resistance to change or human nature but the inability of people of different cultures to come together and communicate through the shared language. The people belonging to the three cultures have different understanding of the same subject that often creates the probability of the failure of organizational culture.

As Schein argues that, the first kind of culture– the operational culture– is the culture of every day activities that is carried by the line managers. These managers deal with day to-day routine activities in the organization and their main job is get products and services out in the markets, purchase supplies, process supplies and pack the products for the delivery.

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This kind of culture involves operational people who like to work in teams and solve complex analytical problems in the organization. These people try to work collaboratively as a team; however, all of the members of their teams are of the similar outlooks, professions, and understanding. They tend to believe and trust each other for compensating the flaws in technology.

The second kind of culture belongs to executives, who Deal with capital, resources, and other vital means of production. People at these level control most of the organizational resources and they support learning and human potential, their main responsibility, however, lies looking at the bottom line of the organization for its survival.

The people belonging to the executive culture remain far from the operational people and they have very less knowledge about the tasks and processes that are carried by the operational people.

The people belonging to the third corporate culture are from the engineering culture. This culture is personified by engineers and technical specialists, who believe on the awesome power of the technology in solving the organizational culture. These people believe on the power of the machines in solving human and organizational problems.

According to Schein, people involved with any of the above three cultures often fails to see the other side and the perspective of other culture, often resulting failure in organizational learning. Although people belonging to each of the culture do great service for the organization, yet they fail to see the holistic picture of the organization and fail to share the similar meaning of the organizational problems. The main reasons for these because of the people inheriting different norms, educational experiences, expectations, and rewards structures in their professions.

Therefore, it is now wonder that an organization who , executives, and operational people can still fail in the end because of the lack of a shared culture.

The only way an organization can learn effectively and improve over time when people belonging to different cultures come together, share each other’s perspective, and view the implications of their shared collaboration in organizational context, rather than their . The only way to avoid failure in organizational learning is that the people belonging to these different cultures should come together to find a holistic solution of the organizational problem.


Schein, Edgar H. (1996) Three Cultures of Management: The Key to Organizational Learning. , fall. 9.