Center on Sentencing and Corrections

Scapegoating Culture: Misunderstanding Organizational Culture as the Problem in Carceral Institutions and Beyond

Scapegoating Culture: Misunderstanding Organizational Culture as the Problem in Carceral Institutions and Beyond

Rudes, Danielle S., and Shannon Magnuson. “Scapegoating Culture: Misunderstanding Organizational Culture as the Problem in Carceral Institutions and Beyond.” Sociology Compass, 2019.

Organizational culture is a poorly understood concept that is frequently used as an ambiguous catchall term, often serving as an explanation for many organizational challenges. Scholars, however, have not agreed on a consistent definition of organizational culture. This article includes a literature review of organizational culture scholarship, followed by a contextual analysis of organizational culture in prisons. The authors argue that the largest problem with organizational culture studies is that they often scapegoat culture as the reason why things go wrong in organizational settings, and offer recommendations for how to further explore the concept of organizational culture.

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Keywords: Organizational culture, organizational behavior, restrictive housing, segregation