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Organizing (with) Thirdness. A Dialogic Understanding of Bicultural Interactions in Organizations

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  • Fougère, Martin

    ()
    (Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration)

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    Abstract

    This conceptual paper examines bicultural interactions in organizations as they are experienced by the involved individuals. Notions from Bakhtinian dialogism are used in order to conceptualize the sensemaking opportunities provided by the encounter with a cultural otherness. It is argued that in such bicultural situations, because of the lack of intimate understanding of the other culture, the third element in the dialogic relation - ‘thirdness’, i.e. the relation itself, without which there would be no sensemaking potential - may be lacking as a result of the distorting combination of projected similarity and stereotyping, added to certain counterproductive organizational dynamics. Therefore, it is suggested that, to make the bicultural work interaction the rewarding relation it could be, thirdness should be coordinated by management in a way that can transcend the spontaneous negative dynamics of the confrontational situation. If management was to fail to organize (with) thirdness appropriately, bringing in a third party could be a possible alternative in order to initiate the necessary mutual understanding that should eventually lead to a fruitful work interaction.

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    File URL: http://dhanken.shh.fi/dspace/bitstream/10227/188/2/504-951-555-835-2.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Hanken School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 504.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: 03 May 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhb:hanken:0504

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Hanken School of Economics, Arkadiankatu 22, P.O.B. 479; FIN 00101 Helsinki, Finland
    Phone: +358-9-431 331
    Fax: +358-9-431 33 333
    Web page: http://www.hanken.fi
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    Related research

    Keywords: Intercultural / Bicultural Interaction; Dialogism; Thirdness; Bakhtin; Sensemaking;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    1. Arranz-Aperte, Laura & Heshmati, Almas, 2003. "Determinants of Profit Sharing in the Finnish Corporate Sector," IZA Discussion Papers 776, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Forsman, Maria & Solitander, Nikodemus, 2003. "Network Knowledge versus Cluster Knowledge- The Gordian Knot of Knowledge Transfer Concepts," Working Papers 494, Hanken School of Economics.
    3. John Asafu-Adjaye, 2004. "Income inequality and health: a multi-country analysis," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(1/2), pages 195 - 207, January.
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