Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor's Name

Tonette S. Rocco

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dennis Wiedman

Third Advisor's Name

Hilary Landorf

Keywords

adult education, human resource development, corporate culture, social identity, multinational corporation

Date of Defense

11-9-2010

Abstract

A global corporation values both profitability and social acceptance; its units mutually negotiate governance and represent a highly interdependent network where centers of excellence and high-potential employees are identified regardless of geographic locations. These companies try to build geocentric, or “world oriented” (Marquardt, 1999, p. 20), organizational cultures. Such culture “transcends cultural differences and establishes ‘beacons’ – values and attitudes – that are comprehensive and compelling” (Kets de Vries & Florent-Treacy, 2002, p. 299) for all employees, regardless of their national origins. Creating a geocentric organizational culture involves transforming each employee’s mindset, beliefs, and behaviors so that he/she can become “a world citizen in spite of having a national identity” (Marquardt, 1999, p. 47).

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore how employees with different national identities experience a geocentric organizational culture of a global corporation. Phenomenological research aims to understand “how people experience some phenomenon—how they perceive it, describe it, feel about it, judge it, remember it, make sense of it, and talk about it with others” (Patton, 2002, p. 104). Twelve participants were selected using criteria, convenience, and snow-ball sampling strategies. A semi-structured interview guide was used to collect data. Data were analyzed inductively, using Moustakas’s (1994) Modification of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen Method of Analysis of Phenomenological Data.

The participants in this study experienced a geocentric organizational culture of a global corporation as on in which they felt connected, valued, and growing personally and professionally. The participants felt connected to the companies via business goals and social responsibility. The participants felt valued by the company because their creativity was welcomed and they could contribute to the corporation certain unique knowledge of the culture and language of their native countries. The participants felt growing personally and professionally due to the professional development opportunities, cross-cultural awareness, and perspective consciousness. Based on the findings from this study, a model of a geocentric organizational culture of a global corporation: An employee perspective is proposed. Implications for research and practice conclude this study.

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