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Toward a perspective of cultural friction in international business

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  • Luo, Yadong
  • Shenkar, Oded
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    Abstract

    This article introduces a new lens that addresses cultural interaction in global business. Shifting away from viewing culture in terms of its differences, the cultural friction lens captures the nature and magnitude of interaction between the cultural systems engaged in cross-border businesses. In this study we present that (1) cultural distance may not transform into a clash, or yield any meaningful interaction effect, negative or positive, until organizations truly engage in interactions; (2) cultural friction is situation-specific, subject to the influence of "drag" parameters, such as entry mode (e.g., contract vs. equity; greenfield vs. acquisition), workflow interdependence, breath of local stakeholders, speed and stage of international expansion, and depth of localization; and (3) cultural friction can be curtailed through a series of managerial mechanisms, or lubricants, around the points of cross-border contact. We also develop a measure of cultural friction and assess the implications for extant theories as well as for future theory development in international business.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Management.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 1-14

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:17:y:2011:i:1:p:1-14

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    Related research

    Keywords: Cultural interaction International business Cross-cultural management;

    References

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    1. William H Davidson, 1980. "The Location of Foreign Direct Investment Activity: Country Characteristics and Experience Effects," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 11(2), pages 9-22, June.
    2. Jiatao Li & Stephen Guisinger, 1991. "Comparative Business Failures of Foreign-Controlled Firms in the United States," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 22(2), pages 209-224, June.
    3. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
    4. Shige Makino & Kent E Neupert, 2000. "National Culture, Transaction Costs, and the Choice Between Joint Venture and Wholly Owned Subsidiary," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 31(4), pages 705-713, December.
    5. Jean-François Hennart, 1991. "The Transaction Costs Theory of Joint Ventures: An Empirical Study of Japanese Subsidiaries in the United States," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(4), pages 483-497, April.
    6. Yaakov Weber & Oded Shenkar & Adi Raveh, 1996. "National and Corporate Cultural Fit in Mergers/Acquisitions: An Exploratory Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(8), pages 1215-1227, August.
    7. Oded Shenkar & Yoram Zeira, 1992. "Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity of Chief Executive Officers in International Joint Ventures," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 23(1), pages 55-75, March.
    8. Jan Johanson & Jan-Erik Vahlne, 1977. "The Internationalization Process of the Firm—A Model of Knowledge Development and Increasing Foreign Market Commitments," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 8(1), pages 23-32, March.
    9. Arvind Parkhe, 1991. "Interfirm Diversity, Organizational Learning, and Longevity in Global Strategic Alliances," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 22(4), pages 579-601, December.
    10. Oded Shenkar, 2001. "Cultural Distance Revisited: Towards a More Rigorous Conceptualization and Measurement of Cultural Differences," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 32(3), pages 519-535, September.
    11. Paul W Beamish & John C Banks, 1987. "Equity Joint Ventures and Theory of the Multinational Enterprise," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 18(2), pages 1-16, June.
    12. Prasad Padmanabhan & Kang Rae Cho, 1999. "Decision Specific Experience in Foreign Ownership and Establishment Strategies: Evidence from Japanese Firms," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 30(1), pages 25-41, March.
    13. W Chan Kim & Peter Hwang, 1992. "Global Strategy and Multinationals' Entry Mode Choice," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 23(1), pages 29-53, March.
    14. Klaus E. Meyer & Enese Lieb-Dóczy, 2003. "Post-Acquisition Restructuring as Evolutionary Process," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 459-482, 03.
    15. Baskerville, Rachel F., 2003. "Hofstede never studied culture," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-14, January.
    16. Gomes-Casseres, Benjamin, 1989. "Ownership structures of foreign subsidiaries : Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-25, January.
    17. Gatignon, Hubert & Anderson, Erin, 1988. "The Multinational Corporation's Degree of Control over Foreign Subsidiaries: An Empirical Test of a Transaction Cost Explanation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 305-36, Fall.
    18. David M Brock & Oded Shenkar & Amir Shoham & Ilene C Siscovick, 2008. "National culture and expatriate deployment," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(8), pages 1293-1309, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Dutta, Dev K. & Beamish, Paul W., 2013. "Expatriate Managers, Product Relatedness, and IJV Performance: A Resource and Knowledge-based Perspective," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 152-162.
    2. Denk, Nikola & Kaufmann, Lutz & Roesch, Jan-Frederik, 2012. "Liabilities of Foreignness Revisited: A Review of Contemporary Studies and Recommendations for Future Research," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 322-334.
    3. Černe, Matej & Jaklič, Marko & Škerlavaj, Miha, 2013. "Decoupling management and technological innovations: Resolving the individualism–collectivism controversy," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 103-117.
    4. Bowe, Michael & Golesorkhi, Sougand & Yamin, Mo, 2014. "Explaining equity shares in international joint ventures: Combining the influence of asset characteristics, culture and institutional differences," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 212-233.
    5. Lai, Jung-Ho & Chen, Li-Yu & Chang, Shao-Chi, 2012. "The board mechanism and entry mode choice," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 379-392.

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