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Posted on September 20th, 2012, by

The development of organization theories was accompanied by consistent changes in approaches used by researchers to the study of organizations. Traditionally, structural-functionalist approaches dominated and affected consistently the development of organizational theories. However, in the course of time, the shift from structural-functionalist to cultural approaches occurred. In this respect, Turner played a particularly important part, since he was one of the first researchers who started to develop alternative views on organizations, which were different from traditional structural-functionalist approaches. In such a way, Turner had managed to change traditional approaches to organizational sciences and he had started to view organizations as cultural entities above all, which are susceptible to socio-cultural influences. Turner viewed organizations in the cultural context, in which their actors functioned that made organizations not simply institutions performing a set of functions, but rather a complex social institution, where people interact and where cultural exchange can take place.

On the basis of his cultural approach to organizational theories, Turner had managed to develop qualitative research methods, including grounded theory, the concept of safety cultures, and notions of organizational symbolism (Tsoukas and Knudsen, 2003). Due to his significant contribution to the development of organizational theories, Turner became one of the founding fathers of the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism.

At the same time, the development of cultural approach stimulated the emergence of new approaches to organizational theories. As a result, Calas and Smircich went even further in their research of organizational theories and, on the ground of cultural approach, they started to shift toward postmodernism, which became one of the dominant trends in the late 20th century (Tsoukas and Knudsen, 2003).

Thus, it is obvious that the cultural approach to organizational studies produced a significant impact on the development of organizational theories.

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