Engineering Culture is an award-winning ethnography of the engineering division of a large American high-tech corporation. Now, this influential book—which has been translated into Japanese, Italian, and Hebrew—has been revised to bring it up to date. In Engineering Culture, Gideon Kunda offers a critical analysis of an American company's well-known and widely emulated "corporate culture." Kunda uses detailed descriptions of everyday interactions and rituals in which the culture is brought to life, excerpts from in-depth interviews and a wide variety of corporate texts to vividly portray managerial attempts to design and impose the culture and the ways in which it is experienced by members of the organization. The company's management, Kunda reveals, uses a variety of methods to promulgate what it claims is a non-authoritarian, informal, and flexible work environment that enhances and rewards individual commitment, initiative, and creativity while promoting personal growth. The author demonstrates, however, that these pervasive efforts mask an elaborate and subtle form of normative control in which the members' minds and hearts become the target of corporate influence. Kunda carefully dissects the impact this form of control has on employees' work behavior and on their sense of self. In the conclusion written especially for this edition, Kunda reviews the company's fortunes in the years that followed publication of the first edition, reevaluates the arguments in the book, and explores the relevance of corporate culture and its management today.
Sensational media coverage of groups like Heaven's Gate, the People's Temple, and Synanon is tinged with the suggestion that only crazy, lonely, or gullible people join cults. Cults attract people on the fringe of society, people already on the edge. Contrary to this public perception, Marybeth Ayella reveals how anyone seeking personal change in an intense community setting is susceptible to the lure of group influence. The book begins with the candid story of how one keen skeptic was recruited by Moonies in the 1970s -- the author herself.
Ayella's personal experience fueled her interest in studying the cult phenomenon. This book focuses on her analysis of one community in southern California, The Center for Feeling Therapy, which opened in 1971 as an offshoot of Arthur Janov's Primal Scream approach. The group attracted mostly middle-class, college-educated clients interested in change through intense sessions led by licensed therapists. At the time of the Center's collapse in 1980, there were three hundred individuals living in the therapeutic community and another six hundred outpatients.
Through interviews with twenty-one former patients, the author develops a picture of the positive changes they sought, the pressures of group living, and the allegations of abuse against therapists. Many patients contended that they were beaten, made to strip before the group and to engage in forced sex, forced to have abortions and give up children, and coerced to donate money and to work in business affiliated with the Center.
The close of the Center brought yet more trauma to the patients as they struggled to readjust to mainstream life. Ayella recounts the stories of these individuals, again and again returning to the question of how personal identity is formed and the power of social influences. This book is a key to understanding how "normal" people wind up in cults.