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The tortuous evolution of the role of culture in IB research: What we know, what we don’t know, and where we are headed

Rosalie L Tung () and Günter K Stahl ()
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Rosalie L Tung: Simon Fraser University
Günter K Stahl: Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna)

Journal of International Business Studies, 2018, vol. 49, issue 9, 1167-1189

Abstract: Abstract This paper takes stock of the literature on culture in International Business by looking back in terms of evaluating what we know and what we do not know; and looking forward by identifying emerging trends and outlining avenues for future research. Unresolved issues, gaps and limitations include: (1) narrow conceptualization of culture and fragmented approach to the study of culture; (2) failure to adopt a multilevel approach and insufficient attention to level of analysis; (3) insufficient attention to context and process; (4) failure to adopt a more dynamic view of culture; (5) tendency to equate country with culture and failure to explore other national differentiators; and (6) Western-centric approach to the study of culture. Suggestions on redressing the unresolved issues include: (1) broadening the definition of culture and transcending the values-based approach to include schemas, norms, and “memes”; (2) paying more attention to process/context by exploring the situation-dependent and dynamic nature of culture; and (3) entertaining alternative research designs/methods, such as emic approaches, qualitative methods, experimental designs, neuroscience-based methods, and replication studies. While these may represent a major departure from methodologies popular in our field, their use can hopefully help us overcome the fragmented, discipline-based approach which has contributed to the persistent problems that have plagued the study of culture in IB in the past.

Keywords: culture; cultural distance; international business; grand challenges; context; process; multi-level approach; memes; experimental designs; neuroscience-based methods; replication studies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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