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Research in multinational organizational structures has traditionally used either a rational, conscious perspective in which decision makers, through a single-loop change process, strategically choose to interpret the environmental culture to shape the organization’s structure or a nationalistic view, in which through a double-loop change process, organizational members of one culture impose their favored structures on organizational members of a different culture. This article considers a third perspective, one in which organizational culture and structure are socially constructed phenomena. Through a case study of a multinational office staffed by members of two distinct national cultures (Japanese and American), this research demonstrates how cultures and structures can be simultaneously created through single-, double-, and triple-loop change processes. These processes can lead to a third-order level of change. Ideas for “actionizing” this concept are discussed.


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© SAGE. DOI: 10.1177/0021886304266845. Final version published as: Walsh, K. (2004). Interpreting the impact of culture on structure: The role of change processes. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 40(3), 302-322. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.