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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to examine the present U.S. use of the concept of ‘corporate culture’ using the sociology of Emile Durkheim as a conceptual framework. Durkheim was concerned with understanding where potential sources of morality might reside in a rapidly changing, increasingly differentiated society. Proponents of corporate culture do not rely specifically on Durkheim's work but essentially answer his question by suggesting that the corporation is the appropriate site for moral order. In this paper it is argued that the attempted manipulation of a corporation's culture is simply an addition to other forms of control which companies have tried to implement. More than other forms of control, however, corporate culture elicits sentiment and emotion, and contains possibilities to ensnare workers in a hegemonic system. On the other hand, strengthening corporate cultures in the U.S.A may also lead to increased worker homogenization and activism.