The purpose of this paper is to examine ways in which cross-cultural research in international business can use emic-etic approaches more effectively. The majority of research conducted in the field has been etic, while the cross-cultural data used by the researchers have been emic in nature. This resulted in producing ethnocentric results which are biased towards Western perspectives. We call for a re-evaluation of the importance of in-depth qualitative analysis in international business research. We go back to the origins of emic and etic in linguistics and conduct a linguistic and philosophical analysis of these termes to demonstrate that the emic-etic distinction is not helpful for adequately studying cross-cultural data.