Cross-Cultural Management Revisited – A Qualitative Approach

Philippe d’Iribarne, Sylvie Chevrier, Alain Henry, Jean-Pierre Segal, Geneviève Tréguer-Felten, Oxford University Press, 2020.

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The cross-cultural management literature is still dominated by the quantitative approach to cultures which made the research field popular in the early 1980’s. While the hegemony of this approach was being consolidated, a French research group, Gestion & Société, led by Philippe d’Iribarne, was conducting alternative research. Over the past thirty years, the team has carried out investigations in over fifty countries, collecting data from a large sample of companies concerned with making the most of the cultures with which they were dealing. This book provides an overview of the lessons learnt from thirty years of empirical research and of the refinements of a new theoretical approach to national cultures which challenges the mainstream ones. It introduces an interpretative approach to culture considered as a filter through which people understand reality and give it meaning. Throughout the world, employees confer different meanings on the daily situations arising from companies’ operations such as being subject to the authority of a manager, responding to requests from a client, or having one’s work monitored. All interactions within organisational contexts are underpinned by social relations which make sense in different cultural universes of meaning. Drawing upon this interpretative perspective, the book covers the main management issues: leadership, procedures implementation and control, decision-making, industrial relations, customer relations, ethics and corporate social responsibility, interpersonal and corporate communication, multicultural teams, and international transfers of management practices. Finally, the book provides methodological guidelines to enable researchers and practitioners to engage in this alternative approach.

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