chapter  4
13 Pages

Corporate Christmas

Sacred or Profane? The Case of a Hungarian Subsidiary of a Western MNC
WithAnna Laura Hidegh, Henriett Primecz

The aim of the chapter is to challenge the concept of the secular workplace by analysing the celebration of Christmas at work through the lens of a critical cross-cultural management (CCM). In our ethnographic case study, we analyse the coexisting and contradicting narratives about the sacred and secularized layers of corporate Christmas provided by the interviewees. Touching upon the ambiguities concerning religious content of corporate Christmas, we argue that the presumed secularity of Western workplaces fails. The most important question is why corporate Christmas is not challenged as a religious and potentially exclusive event in an alleged secular corporate life. We argue that this cultural blindness toward Christmas is a symptom of the power asymmetry inherent in the concept of the secular workplace, since it is more commensurable with not just atheism, but also with contemporary Christian religion—rather than with Islam or Hinduism, for example. Raising the consciousness of the presence of cultural traditions intertwined with the Christian religion in organizational life such as corporate Christmas, we introduce the concept of a ‘post-secular’ workplace to support a more sensitive and inclusive attitude toward non-Christian ways of being religious and alternative worldviews.