A paradigm questioned : a study of how the cultural relativity of modern management knowledge confines

by Wahlberg, Olof

Abstract (Summary)
This study is based upon the double proposition that a transfer of modern management knowledge is an important component of the development assistance given to Third World countries and that this knowledge has a cultural basis thatrestricts its transferability. The very essence of the cultural basis is thought to consist of culture contingent implicit assumptions about phenomena in the reality. Problems experienced in five cases of transfer of management knowledge are analysed in search for such implicit assumptions questioned. A paradigm comprising fifteen basic assumptions attached to the images of different management relevant phenomena is identified in the analysis carried out. Different corroborating conditions that make experiences from management-inaction corroborate the validity of the basic assumptions are also identified. The recognition of the relationships between basic assumptions and environmental conditions is held to be crucial to the understanding of how and why the cultural basis of modern management knowledge makes its transfer difficult. The identified relationships between basic assumptions and corroborating conditions has implications for two major issues discussed in cross-cultural management research: (i) it supports the convergence hypothesis, and (ii) it can be concluded that the perceived appropriateness of the “modern” delegativeparticipative management style hinges on the “industrialising” of environmental conditions. In addition to the implications for the cross-cultural management discourse, it is found that the perspective developed has implications for the institutionalism approach to management. In particular, it points to the importance of normative messages and collectively shared perceptions as isomorphic forces. It also points to important mechanisms behind institutional variability and change. The relationship between basic assumptions and environmental conditions is central to a strategy for transfer of modern management knowledge that is discussed in the end of the study. The importance of a cognitive transformation is emphasised as a prerequisite for a long-term success of such a transfer.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Business and economics; Business and economics; management knowledge; cross-cultural management; development aid; technical assistance; Ekonomi; företagsekonomi; Business Studies


Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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