Towards an Anthropology of Globalization
Edited by Subhabrata Bobby Banerjee, Vanessa C.M. Chio and Raza Mir
Chapter 2: On ‘Cultural’ Knowledge in International Management Textbooks: A Postcolonial Reading
Martin Fougère and Agneta Moulettes INTRODUCTION Training a managerial elite able to conduct business eﬃciently on the global market is unanimously presented as of utmost importance for success in today’s globalized economy. Underlining the too widespread underestimation of cultural diﬀerences by managers, international management literature problematizes culture as a critical factor for global competitiveness. It especially stresses the need for global managers to be ‘culturally sensitive’, and it has become an important endeavour for various educational institutions to provide courses that may address this issue. Presumably because of this increasingly pressing need, many a textbook on international management claims to be taking the cross-cultural challenge seriously, directly or indirectly referring to culture in their title – or on their front page. Evidence from previous research (Fougère and Moulettes 2007; Kwek 2003; Westwood 2001, 2006) has shown that the main works within the cross-cultural management ﬁeld (especially Hofstede 1980) can be seen as characterized by a (neo)colonial, orientalist worldview. Since these main cross-cultural management works are heavily used in the broader ﬁeld of international management, it may be interesting to look at how ‘culture’ is discussed in some of the most known international management textbooks. We see postcolonial theory as potentially providing an insightful lens for examining power relations concealed in this literature largely constructed from a central (Western) position that views the rest of the world as peripheral. The aim of our chapter is to analyse, with a broadly postcolonial sensibility (inspired by authors such as...
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