This paper describes an investigation into corporate ideology and control and the responses of the ‘middle managers’ in a large engineering corporation. The paper explores the creation of meaning and values in the organization through a large-scale ‘corporate values’ programme aimed at 1500 middle managers, and asks to what extent the priorities of these managers match those of the organization, and whether the creation of meaning through an ideological values programme carries risks that have not been considered by the organization adopting this approach. The findings suggest six individual response types amongst the delegates on the programme: ‘evangelists’, ‘actors’, ‘sceptics’, ‘open cynics’, ‘critical thinkers’ and ‘untouched professionals’. The influences upon these responses are considered, and a number of key factors identified as important in affecting perceptions of and response to the programme. The paper concludes that today more than ever, corporate ideologies are becoming an increasingly dominant influence on our organizations, causing mixed and confused responses amongst the middle managers who are required to disseminate these messages.
British Journal of Management.
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