Leadership & Management

How Do You Define “Culture”?

Stanford GSB professors recommend their favorite books and articles related to the concept.

April 19, 2018

| by Jenny Luna


An illustration of a crowd of multiracial people reading magazines with covers showing others in the crowd. | Illustration by Jorge Colombo

What does the term “culture” really mean? | Illustration by Jorge Colombo

The Spring 2018 issue of Stanford Business magazine focused on the theme of “culture,” as applied to corporations, society, and individuals. For a deeper dive, we asked faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business to suggest books, articles, and films that explore the theme more broadly. Here are their recommendations.

Shelley Correll, professor of organizational behavior (by courtesy)

Framed by Gender: How Gender Inequality Persists in the Modern World, by Cecilia L. Ridgeway, 2011

Science Faculty’s Subtle Gender Biases Favor Male Students,” by Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, John F. Dovidio, Victoria L. Brescoll, Mark J. Graham, and Jo Handelsman, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 2012

Radical Change, the Quiet Way,” by Debra Meyerson, Harvard Business Review, October 2001

The Three Things that Make Organizations More Prone to Sexual Harassment,” by Marianne Cooper, The Atlantic, November 2017

Would You Really Like Hillary More If She Sounded Different?” by Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, August 2016

Francis J. Flynn, the Paul E. Holden Professor of Organizational Behavior

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight, 2016

Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder, 1981

Nir Halevy, associate professor of organizational behavior

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah, 2016

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2014

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua, 2010

Confessions of a Union Buster, by Marty Jay Levitt and Terry Conrow, 1993

Paul Oyer, the Fred H. Merrill Professor of Economics

Independent Work: Choice, Necessity, and the Gig Economy, by McKinsey & Company, 2016

The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015,” by Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger, National Bureau of Economic Research, September 2016

The Death of Innovation, the End of Growth, by Robert Gordon, TED Talk, 2013

Jeffrey Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior

Working on Empty, a 2017 documentary about how the workplace is making Americans sick and what must change to protect the health of working people

The Global Expansion of Precarious Employment, Work Disorganization, and Consequences for Occupational Health: A Review of Recent Research,” by Michael Quinlan, Claire Mayhew, and Phillip Bohle, International Journal of Health Services, April 2001

Robert I. Sutton, professor of organizational behavior (by courtesy)

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant, 2014

Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace, by Christine Porath, 2016

The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence, by Dacher Keltner, 2017

For media inquiries, visit the Newsroom.

Explore More