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London, England

Program Description

Have you ever noticed the way an organization communicates its values? Have you ever interacted in an organization as a customer or employee and thought…“do they beat people here? They all seem to hate their jobs.” On the other hand, experiencing an organization that exudes happiness, care and concern for all the stakeholders is a breath of fresh air.

This course will examine the fascinating world of organizational culture as well as provide you with tools for better assessing and understanding organizational culture. Course materials and discussions will address issues related to both theory and practice. As we examine and visit examples of organizations in London and the surrounding area, we will explore different models of categorizing cultures, examine the implications of different conceptual models of culture for diagnosing culture, and consider the usefulness of a variety of tools for diagnosing culture. The course will engage the debate about how to define organizational culture and what key factors determine culture. During this part of the course we will describe, compare, and contrast the cultures of different organizations. Selected from The Times/The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Small Companies, we will examine, observe and experience at least 10 organizations that range from recruitment, marketing and healthcare to training and consulting organizations both private and not for profit.

The course will be experiential and take full advantage of London as you will see first-hand examples of workplace culture ranging from areas of commerce such as Banking, Finance, Retail, Government, Not for profit, Religion and Sports. We will be visiting at least one example of each type of commerce as well as others. Students will learn the history, cases and trends as they will observe first hand examples of dynamic culture like Innocent Drinks, Oxford University, the Bank of England, Harrods, Liberty, House of Commons/Parliament, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple and more will be location-focused through field trips. Fun trips to see destination places as well as High Tea, The Eye, The Tower of London and much more.

Location Description

With a history spanning almost two millennia, London is a city teeming with history and modernity. Even a look at the skyline will reveal the ancient architecture of Westminster Abbey with the modern streamlines of the "Gherkin."

Participants in this program will study organizational culture in workplaces in the context of London/UK commerce and organizations of all kinds including sports, commerce, retail, religion and government and how those organizations differ than the US ones.

Not only will you be able to visit iconic locations, museums and art galleries where the centuries old meets the modern society of today, but you will be given the opportunity to learn about London organizations’ culture and how it relates to culture theory while also comparing the workplace culture to that of the United States. You will be invited to meet with professionals in the city and talk to them about how their workplace culture was formed and how they sustain it.

Although the British Isles and the US share a common language, much differs in the way of customs, attitudes and even what side of the road you drive upon. While examining the differences in workplace culture, students will also see the unique and interesting differences of culture in this metropolitan city. While having downtime you may visit such famous main attractions as The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Madame Tussaud’s waxwork collection, as well as world class museums like the Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert or simply walk through Trafalgar Square.

In addition, this year the program is considering an overnight trip to Ireland to meet with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter international offices in Dublin, Ireland at the end of the trip.


Toni S. Whitfield | | SCOM


Accommodations will be provided for students through furnished flats. Students will be housed in centrally located housing close to the underground transportation stops (the Tube).

Student will be allocated a weekly meal stipend that will cover approximately 14 meals per week. In addition, students should plan to spend some of their own money each day. Group dinners that will bring all of us together will occur 1-2 times per week.

Additional Items to Consider

Students with U.S. passports do not need visas for the British Isles. Students with non-U.S. passports are encouraged to contact Dr. Whitfield if unsure about obtaining a visa. Any reasonable accommodation will be made in order to ensure that students are assisted with their visa applications should visas be necessary.

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Prerequisite: SCOM 121, 122 or 123

Sophomore, junior, senior and graduate students

Open to all majors

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Interview with Program Director
  • Not open to non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


SCOM 318: Organizational Communication Culture in the UK (3 credits)

SCOM 518: Organizational Culture in the UK (3 credits)

SCOM 665: Organizational Culture in the UK (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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