Tag: Organizational culture

A holistic view on the opportunities and threats of normative control: a literature review

Normative control, or control through organizational culture, has been widely discussed
since the 1960s in the management literature. Despite a growing body of
research, the concept remains difficult to grasp in its multiple facets and is often
approached in a partial and partisan way by scholars and practitioners alike. In this
article, we conduct a comprehensive review of the abundant but fragmented literature
on normative control, aimed at providing a holistic synthesis of the topic. We
take stock of the literature, present descriptive statistics and unravel a chronology
of four research streams, consisting of cultural optimists, critics, skeptics, and neocritics.
Our findings also identify and describe behavioral levers and organizational
accelerators that encourage the use of normative control, as well as operational sideeffects
and behavioral inhibitors that discourage its use. We contribute to the literature
by offering a unique integrative model of the opportunities and threats of
normative control by highlighting their interconnections and tensions, leading to
promising avenues for future research. In doing so, we wish to transcend ideological
debates and bring clarity, nuance, and pragmatism to a concept that could help
address pressing organizational challenges related to purpose, employee wellbeing
and workplace culture.