Cross-cultural management studies in a changing world: new dynamics, new synergies

I’m delivering the opening presentation at the Annual conference of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management (IACCM) at Rotterdam School of Management on 20 June. Abstract as follow.

The world, as always, is changing. Yet large parts of the CCM extant literature remains at the level of value dimensions (a la Hofstede, GLOBE etc) and their critics. At this much ‘valued’ contribution to the social sciences, our colleagues in other disciplines might snigger at us. At the same time, albeit some 20 years after being taken up in the other social sciences, the critical scholars among us are beginning to take up other approaches to understanding our subject, such as Postcolonial Theory (PCT). Yet the trouble with following, rather than leading the field, the time lag involved in adopting theories created in a specific time and place, such theories cannot just lose their edge, they can lose their relevance. Yet CCM scholars, interacting more with theories outside management studies, are becoming aware gradually of geopolitical dynamics and the way these influence, even create knowledge. Much of what we know of management studies is of course Anglo-American specific, and CCM scholars have helped in disabusing the notion that this can be applied everywhere. Yet what happens when we consider the rise of former colonies (e.g. India) or semi-colonies (e.g. China) in global power dynamics? What happens when we consider by far the biggest portion of enterprise activity in the informal economy on such continents as Africa? How does this fit in to the mix? And, more importantly how does this affect the types of theory we construct? These issues, as we academics like to assert, raise more questions than they answer. Yet the big question for me, in Management Studies (as an applied social and behavioural science, which, by the way, makes millions of dollars for our universities and consulting industry), is how can we start to take the lead in theory generation, rather than latch on to theories that are often well past their use by dates?


I will also make the slides available in due course.

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