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Exploring the Distinctions Between a High Performance Culture and a Cult

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This article is meant to identify the differences between two organizational cultures: a cult and a high performance culture, to emphasize the adverse impacts of cults on an organization and how to avoid falling into a trap of cult when practising a high performance culture. These are well-illustrated by comparison between the fall of Enron organization which applied cult and the success of General Electric with its true high performance culture.


Although I do not have much experience in the field of organizational culture and managerial strategy, I'm still able to understand the meaning of this article through the thorough demonstration, concrete facts and comparisons between real companies. I have also realized that how critical and necessary the organizational culture is and thus how wary a leader should be when making an effort to create a cultural environment in an organization.

However, I suppose that there is still insufficiency in the solution. Measures suggested at the end of article are just for avoiding cults and seem not thorough enough to give a concrete instruction of how to block cult-like behaviours from going any further when it just occurred. For example, how to protect whistle-blowers raising their voices against a symptom of cults?

Practical application

The meaning of this article does not only contribute to literature on organizational culture and managerial strategy but also has practical benefits for all stakeholders of a company. For example, it gives warning signs of cult and guidance to leaders pursuing the real high performance culture. For investors, they can realize if a company is really potential and sustainable in development to invest or not. For employees, they can reconsider if their companies are truly ideal places to work for or they are just being exploited by a cult...

Type and Robustness of the research

This article is of qualitative research, which is based on observation, arguments and analysis of researchers. They reviewed the literature on cults, collected information from reports, articles and viewpoints of other people relevant to the cases, extracted their meanings and underlying points then argued, synthesized and finally came to conclusion.

Reflective comments

The first part of this article illustrates thoroughly characteristics of cultish culture through the analysis of failure of a company which is considered having all of these traits. In my opinion, authors have met purpose mentioned at the beginning of article - to identify warning signs of cults. I agree that the distinctive signs for cultish culture have been identified and that these signs have allowed the unacceptable behaviours of employees. Obviously, these factors have created an unhealthy environment for development and gradually weakened



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