Cultural Change in A Kibbutz Factory: From Democratic to More Autocratic Management Style


  • Yaffa Moskovich Zefat academic college
  • Michal Palgi Haifa University



Kibbutz industry, organizational culture, Kibbutz community, looseness- tightness


In recent years, kibbutz factories have undergone organizational decline. The specific kibbutz factory that is the subject of this case study is an example of that general phenomenon. This is in notable opposition to recent organizational development theory, which has suggested a shift toward more democratic and flatter structures than in the past. The current article describes a reversal of these cultural changes in one kibbutz factory: starting with a democratic and egalitarian culture and structure, developing into a more formal and layered structure. This research offers hypotheses about other kibbutz factories, which have been undergoing similar internal changes during the last two decades. The main research question was: How did the transformation of the plant affect its organizational culture? The research used qualitative methods: constructing an organizational biography based on demographic interviews and document analysis. The findings present a three-stage cultural transformation, occurring over time at the kibbutz factory. Before transition the organizational culture was loose changing and flexible, while the culture of the community was tight, obliged to socialistic values.  In the transition period, the organizational culture in the factory and in the surrounding community became looser. Concurrent with privatization of the kibbutz, the cultural attributes in the factory became less democratic, more individualistic, and tighter. In the last period, the organizational culture of the surrounding community became looser; kibbutz members could choose their ideological attitudes without collective pressure. While the organizational cultural of the factory after privatization became tight, the factory management operated the firm on capitalistic values, disregarding the social motivations that previously had been dominant. The implications of the findings are that collective factories will transform from democratic organizations into more hierarchical organizations when the firm is in economic decline. Socialist communities will enable their enterprises to alter their managerial and organizational culture, thus moving away from ideological roots. These implications can be tested by examining other kibbutz factories.