Inside the Compassionate Organization: Culture, Identity, and Image in an English Hospice

ISBN : 9780198813958

Alan Baron; John Hassard; Fiona Cheetham; Sudi Sharifi
272 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jan 2018
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The literature on management and organization studies suggests the time is right for a focus on 'care and compassion'. The aim of this book is to answer this call by examining the cultural changes found within a particular 'compassionate organization' - an English hospice - from its altruistic beginnings to the more professionalized culture of today. The study seeks to understand how its members identify or fail to identify with an organization where issues of life and death take centre stage and explores some of the problems the hospice faces regarding its representation in society. These strands are then drawn together to consider the interrelationships between culture, identity, and image in the organization. An ethnographic approach, including participant observation, extended interviews, and group meetings, was used to study this organization over a period of almost two years. This enabled the production of a nuanced, sensitive, and holistic interpretation of the case study hospice as inferred from the views of both insiders and outsiders. The findings shed new light on the literature in management studies by proposing a view of culture as a sense-making context that facilitates group socialization underpinning a sense of personal and organizational identity. The study suggests a link between culture and group identification, making discussions about culture almost inseparable from those around identity. With regard to identity and image however the study suggests a dynamic and iterative relationship with a continuous flow between interpretation and reinterpretation influenced by the all-pervading cultural context.


1 Introducing the Study; 2 Organization Culture; 3 Identity and Image; 4 Hospices, Communities, and Care; 5 Researching Ethnographically; 6 Understanding Hospice Life; 7 Touring the Hospice; 8 Ambiguity, Discord, and Friction; 9 Images of the Hospice; 10 Discussing the Discussions; 11 Conclusions

About the author: 

Alan Baron is a Visiting Fellow of the Health Services Research Centre, University of Manchester, and a member of the Manchester Ethnography Network. His professional background is general management in financial services, retail and commerce with a focus in recent decades on third sector organizations. He holds a PhD from the University of Salford and his research interests are in organization culture, strategic positioning, healthcare management, and the sociology of end of life care.; John Hassard is Professor of Organizational Analysis at Manchester Business School, Manchester University. Previously he taught at the London Business School and universities of Cardiff and Keele. From 2000-11 he was the Fellow in Management Learning at the Judge Business School, Cambridge University (visiting position). He has published 19 books and over 150 research articles. His books include the monographs Sociology and Organization Theory (1993), Disorganization Theory (2008) and Managing in the Modern Corporation (2009) and the edited volumes The Theory and Philosophy of Organizations (1991), Postmodernism and Organizations (1993), and Actor Network Theory and After (1999). ; Dr Fiona Cheetham is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and a member of the Centre for Sustainable and Resilient Communities at the University of Huddersfield. Prior to this she held academic posts at the University of Hong Kong and Keele University, where she completed her PhD. Fiona's research focuses on the intersection of community, volunteering, and the third sector, and more recently the sharing/collaborative economy. She favours ethnographic research approaches and has become increasingly interested in multi-sensory research methodologies. Her research has been published in journals such as Consumption, Markets and Culture, Journal of Consumer Behaviour and Marketing Theory.; Sudi Sharifi is Senior Lecturer in Organization Theory at Salford University. She holds a PhD from Aston University and has worked previously at the universities of Birmingham and Manchester. She has been a researcher for projects sponsored by the EPSRC, ESF, and ESRC, and her current research interests are in organization culture, managerial work, and the third sector.

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