Are the technological tools of globalization acting against globalization?

 

It could perhaps be assumed that the use of global technologies – emails, social media, satellite TV broadcasts around the world, – would inexorably increase the tendency towards globalization. Being able to communicate and share and develop relationships around the world instantaneously through Skype and Facebook, surely means that globalization is an unstoppable force. I focused, in one of my chapters in International Management Ethics (2011, CUP), on culture’s apparent invisibility in the United States and the geopolitics of globalization, with its assumption of the universality of ‘American cultural’. Rather than taking a simplistic view of this assumed culture, either in international comparative studies or in studies of cultural convergence, it is necessarily to focus on the dynamics and diversity of American society. The ‘America dream’ may well be an ideal that still attracts immigrant to the United States, but the dynamics of assimilation may well have changed according to studies such as that of Schwartz et al (2007: 60), suggesting that previous theories of assimilation should be revised saying that ‘Early views of acculturation were unidimensional, in that immigrants and their descendants were expected to discard the values and ideals of their heritage culture and to adopt those of the receiving culture’. They point out that ‘The nature of acculturation has changed’ because ‘technological advancements have produced an increasingly global society where immigrants can easily maintain contact with their countries of origin’ and that therefore ‘Retention of heritage culture values has therefore become a more viable component of acculturation’. Hence, the paradox is that increased globalization (and the tendency towards cultural convergence) has provided the means of maintaining and reinforcing cultural divergence. In the United States and other Western countries, this tendency may be a driving force in maintaining ethnic enclaves. For cross-cultural management theory generally, this may be a factor that should be considered when studying the nature and dynamics of cultural crossvergence.

Reference: Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L, Rodriguez, L & Wang, S. C.(2007) The Structure of cultural identity in an ethnically diverse sample of emerging adults,  Basic and Applied Social Psychology,  29(2), 159–173. You can find it here:[PDF at Researchgate]

3 comments

  1. While the open Internet, personal storytelling via blogging and skyping has opened doors to spectators of globalization and helped all of us think of things never considered before, there is still one caveat: it’s virtual and still not fully lived in person 360 degrees in the flesh and among the chaos of another host society/where one was not born/raised.

    To make this more work related: There’s a big difference discussing theoretically about working for /among Germans, vs. actual experience which I did for a global German engineering company in British Columbia, Canada: http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/drama-at-construction-sites-things-i-never-knew/

    Yes, there was a difference of management style among the North American managers vs. German, particularily at the foreman level for the labourers.

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