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    Boardroom, Boot Room and Beyond: the manifestation, destruction, and revival of a winning organizational culture

    Bedwell, Lorraine (2023) Boardroom, Boot Room and Beyond: the manifestation, destruction, and revival of a winning organizational culture. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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    Abstract

    The thesis offers the first longitudinal case study examining Liverpool Football Club’s organizational culture. It is also the first empirical study to show how a high-performance culture manifests, passes from generation to generation, is modified, reinterpreted, and repurposed. The thesis builds on knowledge of OC and adds to the nascent area of research on OC in sports organizations. Schein's (1989) framework is utilised to dig beneath the cultural levels, whilst Martin’s (2002) multi-perspective lens is employed to gain insights from multiple perspectives, thus, offering a broad perspective and rich, nuanced insights into organizational life. The thesis has three objectives: 1) identify how LFC’s culture manifested, was perpetuated, continued, and repurposed over time; 2) investigate how LFC’s norms and values were transmitted to newcomers to enable them to become full participants in the community’s cultural practices; 3) examine the perceived effects (if any) of cultural legacy on organizational performance. In answering the research questions, the thesis digs beneath surface cultural manifestations and adopts triangulated data collection methods including fieldwork, semi-structured interviews, audio-visual and document analysis. Drawing on Martin’s (2002) framework findings indicate three periods in LFC’s history with varying degrees of cultural integration, fragmentation, and ambiguity. Findings suggest legacy perceptions are situational and influenced by LFC’s cultural philosophy. Additionally, findings show the manifestation of LFC’s culture differs from the positivist, linear, top-down view of cultural creation. Findings show LFC’s OC manifested through the spontaneous, dynamic, cultural interplay between LFC, its socioeconomic, cultural, musical, political environment and fans. Additionally, findings identify how LFC’s performance decline was rooted in inertia, cultural narcissism, and the loss of LFC’s collectivist cultural essence. Finally, LFC’s repurposing was not revolutionary cultural metamorphosis but more akin to cultural kintsugi, the reinstatement of LFC’s collectivist values and the reframing of its cultural legacy.

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