Edgar H. Schein Organizational Culture and Leadership

Last updated: August 25, 2021

Edgar H. Schein Organizational Culture and Leadership

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We looked at the top Business Culture Books and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Business Culture Book you should buy.

Overall Take

The fifth edition of this book, a defining one in the field, explains the abstract concept of organizational culture and how it relates to leadership. The role of leadership is examined especially in terms of organizational age: from its founding, though its mid-life, and into maturity.

In our analysis of 12 expert reviews, the Edgar H. Schein Organizational Culture and Leadership placed 4th when we looked at the top 5 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

The book that defined the field, updated and expanded for today’s organizations. Organizational Culture and Leadership is the classic reference for managers and students seeking a deeper understanding of the inter-relationship of organizational culture dynamics and leadership. Author Edgar Schein is the ‘father’ of organizational culture, world-renowned for his expertise and research in the field; in this book, he analyzes and illustrates through cases the abstract concept of culture and shows its importance to the management of organizational change. This new fifth edition shows how culture has become a popular concept leading to a wide variety of research and implementation by various organizations and expands the focus on the role of national cultures in influencing culture dynamics, including some practical concepts for how to deal with international differences. Special emphasis is given to how the role of leadership varies with the age of the organization from founding, through mid-life to old age as the cultural issues vary at each stage. How culture change is managed at each stage and in different types of organizations is emphasized as a central concern of leader behavior…This landmark book is considered the defining resource in the field. Drawing on a wide range of research, this fifth edition contains 25 percent new and revised material to provide the most relevant new concepts and perspectives alongside the basic culture model that has helped to define the field. Dig into assumptions and typologies to decipher organizational culture. Learn how culture begins, thrives, or dies with leadership. Manage cultural change effectively and appropriately. Understand the leader’s role in managing disparate groups. The resurgence of interest in organizational culture has spurred an awakening in research, and new information is continuously coming to light. Outdated practices are being replaced by more effective methods, and the resulting shift affects organizations everywhere. Organizational Culture and Leadership is an essential resource for scholars, consultants and leaders seeking continuous improvement in the face of today’s business realities.

Expert Reviews

What experts liked

Dr. Schein is an expert on Organization Culture and Development, having spent decades in the field. This book is a must have for any manager or leader. It provides insights and deeper understanding in to the way people work and how organizations become thinking & breathing entities. I highly recommend this book.
As I move into a new business consulting role, Schein gives me a valuable approach to understand the cultures of the companies I am working with. I’ve started doing culture sessions with one organization, and feel like it’s helped clarify some misaligned underlying assumptions.

What experts didn't like

Outstanding content; bored me to tears.
The length made this a long, but worthwhile, slog.


Business today truly is international, with technology allowing employees, customers and owners/partners to come together from anywhere in the world. With this comes a plethora of communication styles and cultural backgrounds.

Moreover, the economy, technology and global culture are changing so quickly that what worked for the manager that came before you may not work for you. In such an environment, the right book on business culture can be a lifesaver.

Organizational culture is now its own field of study, and you can easily begin reading up with a textbook on the subject. When choosing a book, check an author’s bona fides to see if they’ve successfully led or fostered specific companies or cultures. If they come from an academic or scientific background, find out if their research is rigorous and peer-reviewed.

More than anything, look for specific and actionable advice. It can be easy to get lost in generalities with an abstract concept like organizational culture.

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