New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Masaaki Kotabe and Preet S. Aulakh
Chapter 5: Cultural Balkanization and Hybridization in an Era of Globalization: Implications for International Business Research
5. Cultural balkanization and hybridization in an era of globalization: implications for international business research Bryan W. Husted In August 1999, José Bové was arrested for ransacking a McDonald’s restaurant in Millau, France. He was seen as a hero ﬁghting against the pollution of French culture by the Big Mac. Fear of an impending McWorld and the globalization it represents has unleashed an increasingly strong backlash against the possibility of cultural homogenization. Indeed, some evidence of the loss of cultural variety can be found in the fact that while 6000 distinct languages are spoken today experts estimate that only about 3000 languages will be spoken by 2100 (Davis 1999). However, at the same time, the very processes leading to a reduction in variety also foster an increase in such variety as evidenced by the backlash of cultural balkanization and new cultural syntheses that are being created through hybridization. Although culture has formed the core of much research in international business (IB) studies, the process of cultural ‘balkanization’ or fragmentation that seems to be occurring in response to globalization has not been studied in great detail by IB scholars. This chapter looks at the parallel processes of globalization and cultural balkanization to determine the current state of knowledge regarding these processes, and develops directions for future IB research. It begins by deﬁning the concept of globalization and reviewing the different schools of thought that explain this process. It then deﬁnes cultural balkanization as a consequence of and response to...
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