Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cultural Contexts that Bring Life to Teams: Using Appreciative Inquiry at a Silicon Valley Technology Company
by Jennewein, Bryan Derek, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2020, 196; 28031635
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation presents an inquiry into the question of how an established work team at a Silicon Valley technology company can engage appreciatively with their cultural context to provide impetus for transformation. This work draws upon diverse areas of study, including organizational culture, tech company culture, qualitative research methods, transdisciplinarity, integral theory, and consciousness studies. Situated within the constructivist and participatory paradigms, this inquiry employs an appreciative inquiry methodology to demonstrate how one established tech company team of eight people engaged with their cultural context to construct new knowledge about their team culture, present and future.

Findings reveal how the team defines its core culture in terms of diversity and inclusion and how complementary factors of teamwork, trust, honesty, support, openness, people focus, and reliability comprise their identity. The team’s dream and design of their optimal future culture is also rooted in diversity, inclusion, and deep connection, accompanied by a bold initiative to self-reflect through regular meetings.

Participants report transformation on several levels, including individually, interpersonally, and organizationally. The project demonstrates the value of transdisciplinary and integral research strategies as superior to disciplinary approaches to the investigation of organizational culture. Given the significant influence of technology companies today, this dissertation presents a compelling case for how participatory research methods can empower organizational teams to realize desirable cultural transformation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jones, Constance A.
Commitee: Chapman, Jocelyn, Greenwald, Angela
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Transformative Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Organizational behavior, Cultural anthropology, Sociology
Keywords: Appreciative inquiry, Integral theory, Silicon Valley organizations, Tech culture, Transdisciplinarity
Publication Number: 28031635
ISBN: 9798672149592
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