Here’s our latest pick of interesting articles covering international differences in the business context.

Overview of Hofstede-inspired country-level culture research since 2006
Kirkman, Lowe, & Gibson’s (2006) JIBS article summarized and critiqued international business research inspired by the most cited book in the field, Hofstede’s 1980 Culture’s Consequences: International differences in workrelated values (Hofstede [1980]2001). They identified a number of issues in this research and offered several recommendations for improving it in the future, thus laying a strong foundation for Hofstede-related work since 2006.

In this commentary, the authors assess Kirkman et al.’s (2006) impact on the field. Their review shows that Kirkman’s ideas have informed and inspired their own and other scholars’ work and have led to significant progress in the way in which Hofstede’s framework has been used in international business in the last decade. Here, the authors specifically focus on the country-level culture studies and assess how research has implemented Kirkman et al.’s three main recommendations:

– to explore cultural dimensions beyond those introduced by Hofstede,
– to distinguish between country effects and cultural effects, and
– to show not only if culture matters but also how much it matters.

In addition to the overview, a comprehensive test of these recommendations is provided, showing how they can be put into research practice underscoring the theoretical and empirical relevance of the original 2006 article. The commentary concludes with additional ideas on further strengthening Hofstede-inspired research at the country level of analysis.

Read the full text for free: Beugelsdijk, S., Kostova, T. & Roth, K. 2017. An overview of Hofstede-inspired country-level culture research in international business since 2006. 
Journal of International Business Studies, 48(1), 30–47.

 

From crossing cultures to straddling them: An empirical examination of outcomes for multicultural employees
International organisations, ranging from large MNCs to small born global firms, are increasingly recognizing that multicultural employees can help them operate across countries and across cultures. However, multiculturals – individuals who identify with and internalize more than one culture – are a diverse group, and organizations seeking to leverage their potential can benefit from a deeper understanding of the resources they possess and the challenges they face.

The authors conducted three studies with a total of 1196 participants to test relationships between multicultural identity patterns and personal, social and task outcomes. Consistent results across studies indicated that individuals with more cultural identities (higher identity plurality) had more social capital and higher levels of intercultural skills than those with fewer cultural identities, while individuals who integrated their cultural identities (higher identity integration) experienced higher levels of personal well-being than those who separated them. Based on these results the authors advocate for two directions in future research on multicultural employees: moving beyond cognitive mechanisms alone, and examining monocultural and multicultural individuals simultaneously along the spectrum of identity plurality.

Read more at: Fitzsimmons, S.R., Liao, Y. & Thomas, D.C. 2017. From crossing cultures to straddling them: An empirical examination of outcomes for multicultural employees.
Journal of International Business Studies, 2017, 48(1), 63–89.

 

Cultural friction in leadership beliefs and foreign-invested enterprise survival
Cultural friction posits that cultural differences may be either synergistic or disruptive, but does not specify when or how synergies or disruptions emerge. The authors theorise that synergies will emerge in foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) when cultural differences in leadership beliefs are less central to the host nation’s cultural identity; while disruption will occur when differences are in more culturally central leadership beliefs.

Analyzing survival data from 274 FIEs in China, the authors found support for these hypotheses with five of the six GLOBE leadership dimensions. As predicted, differences in the Participative and Team-Oriented dimensions were associated with higher firm death, while differences in the Charismatic, Autonomous and Self-Protective dimensions were associated with firm survival.

Results indicate that while there are areas where differences may indeed need to be accepted or minimised, there are other areas where differences can be beneficial. This requires that managers identify more central aspects of local culture to determine whether to minimise differences or to leverage their synergistic potential.

Read further at: Koch, P., Koch, B., Menon, T. et al. 2016. Cultural friction in leadership beliefs and foreign-invested enterprise survival.
Journal of International Business Studies, 2016, 47(4), 453–470.

 

National culture and privatization: The relationship between collectivism and residual state ownership
Using a large hand-collected database of 605 privatized firms from 48 countries, we examine the relationship between the collectivism measure of culture and residual state ownership in privatized firms. The authors find that the continued role of government in privatized firms is positively related to collectivism. This result is robust to using alternative measures of collectivism and government control, as well as when the endogeneity of collectivism is addressed.

Finally, the authors examine the economic outcomes of culture at the firm level, focusing primarily on performance, efficiency, risk-taking, and valuation measures. They report that privatized firms with high residual state ownership exhibit lower performance, valuation, efficiency, and risk-taking in collectivist societies. The results suggest that formal institutions are not, as sustained by previous studies, the main/exclusive constraints on the privatisation reform.

For more detail: Boubakri, N., Guedhami, O., Kwok, C. et al. 2016. National culture and privatization: The relationship between collectivism and residual state ownership. 
Journal of International Business Studies, 2016, 47(2), 170–190.

 

A typology of global leadership roles
While the global leadership literature has grown rapidly over recent years, the context in which global leadership occurs remains ill-defined and under-conceptualized. This lack of contextualization risks equating global leadership roles that are qualitatively very different and prevents sufficient clarity for empirical sampling.

To foster more cohesive theoretical and empirical work, the authors develop a typology of global leadership roles that considers context as a critical contingency factor. Drawing on role and complexity leadership theories, Reiche et al. propose four ideal–typical global leadership roles (incremental, operational, connective, and integrative global leadership) that differ in their (1) task complexity – characterizing the variety and flux within the task context, and (2) relationship complexity – reflecting the boundaries and interdependencies within the relationship context.

The authors further delineate how these contextual demands relate to specific sets of behaviours and actions that allow global leaders to fulfill the requirements of their corresponding ideal–typical global leadership roles. This article concludes with a discussion of implications the typology presents for global leadership research and practice, contextualization of the leadership construct more broadly, and the field of international business.

For more detail: Reiche, B.S., Bird, A., Mendenhall, M.E. et al. 2017. Contextualizing leadership: a typology of global leadership roles.
Journal of International Business Studies, doi:10.1057/s41267-016-0030-3.