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Individualism and the cultural roots of management practices

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  • Hoorn, André van

    (Groningen University)

Abstract

We study the cultural foundations of management practices, which are increasingly recognized as important determinants of firm performance. This research closes the loop on two developing literatures, one seeking cultural explanations for economic development and the other seeking to account for differences in firm performance from differences in how firms are managed. Theoretically, we expect individualist culture to improve management practices because it formalizes the labor relation. Results show higher individualism is strongly associated with more sophisticated management practices. Several robustness checks confirm our findings and using historical presence of pathogens as an instrument affirms the causal effect of culture on management practices. In a direct test, culture is a much more important determinant of management practices than are key formal institutions. This evidence moves us forward in opening up the black box of culture-performance linkages, helping us to understand better the channels through which culture can affect economic prosperity.

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Paper provided by University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management) in its series Research Report with number 12008-GEM.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:rugsom:12008-gem

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