chapter  14
16 Pages

A Cultural Theory of Information Bias in Organizations

ByMichael Thompson

This chapter relates the values embedded in organizational cultures to different biases in the processing of information. By showing that organizations exemplifying different ways of life make differential use of the facts, organizational practice can be placed on a firm theoretical foundation. In creating and applying a cultural theory of organizations, the authors wish to bring values and facts, human preferences and human observations, together as part and parcel of the same mode of analysis, abandoning neither the rigor of scientific intention nor the substance of concern with values. One test of this theory concerns the direction of bias in management information systems. Cultural theory, by contrast, is based on the premise that preferences are endogenous, internal to organizations, so that they emerge from social interaction in defending or opposing different ways of life. The chapter illustrates by example the connections between type of organizational culture and the kind of information bias it produces.