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For over 20 years, beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the topic of organizational culture has been a key area of interest for managers and scholars worldwide.1 Much of the literature has focused on defining the term “organizational culture,”2 and its relationship to an organization’s performance3 and competitive advantage.4 In particular, research has examined its importance, its links with other variables that may influence performance, and how managers can use corporate culture to create and build successful organizations. In this chapter, we present an overview of selected past research on organizational culture and how it is viewed as a contributor to performance and competitive advantage. We also identify selected areas where existing research has not been fully pursued, for example, how to sustain culture over time, and offer observations on promising directions for future research. Building upon these observations, we offer a simple framework that categorizes ways that organizational culture and performance or competitive advantage may be related and that may suggest new areas for research. In this discussion, we seek to contribute to management’s comprehension and awareness of organizational culture as a source of competitive advantage, while acknowledging that links between culture and advantage may sometimes appear to be loose.


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Strategic Management in the 21st Century by Timothy J. Wilkinson and Vijay R. Kannan, Editors. Copyright ©2013 by ABC-CLIO, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission of ABC-CLIO, LLC, Santa Barbara, CA.