Strategic Culture and Environmental Dimensions as Determinants of Anomie in Publicly-Traded and Privately-Held Firms

Business Ethics Quarterly 21 (3):473-502 (2011)
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Anomie is a condition in which normative guidelines for governing conduct are absent. Using survey data from a sample of U.S. manufacturing firms, we explore the impact of internal (cultural) and external (environmental) determinants of organizational anomie. We suggest that four internal organizational factors can generate or suppress organizational anomie, including strategic aggressiveness, long-term orientation, competitor orientation, and strategic flexibility. Similarly, we argue that external contextual factors, including competitive intensity and technological turbulence, can influence organizational anomie. We extend anomie and ethics research by considering the impact of these firm cultural and environmental factors according to whether firms are publicly-traded or privately-held. Findings demonstrate that a number of firm cultural and environmental factors can generate or reduce anomie in firms. Moreover, strategic aggressiveness, long-term orientation, and strategic flexibility influence organizational anomie differently depending on whether the firm is publicly-traded or privately-held. Theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed



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