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Exploring cultural misfit: Causes and consequences


  • Roth, Kendall
  • Kostova, Tatiana
  • Dakhli, Mourad


In this paper, we examine the phenomenon of cultural misfit and its consequences for the individual. We argue that while cultural misfit may lead to illegitimacy and inefficiency, it may also create comparative advantages for individuals, especially under certain task conditions and in certain societies. To theorize on the link between cultural misfit and individual effectiveness, we explore the types of networks that people develop based on cultural influences and the impact of these networks on their effectiveness. We conceptualize cultural effects at two levels of analysis. At the level of the individual we explore the individual cultural orientations of idiocentrism-allocentrism and verticality-horizontality. At the societal level we explore the effects of individualism-collectivism. Individual networks are conceptualized through the constructs of structural holes and trust. The model presented here has important implications for various business situations where individuals operate in environments that differ significantly from their own cultural inclinations.

Suggested Citation

  • Roth, Kendall & Kostova, Tatiana & Dakhli, Mourad, 2011. "Exploring cultural misfit: Causes and consequences," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 15-26, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iburev:v:20:y:2011:i:1:p:15-26

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Au, Kevin Y., 2000. "Intra-cultural variation as another construct of international management: a study based on secondary data of 42 countries," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 217-238.
    2. De Clercq, Dirk & Danis, Wade M. & Dakhli, Mourad, 2010. "The moderating effect of institutional context on the relationship between associational activity and new business activity in emerging economies," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 85-101, February.
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    6. Kevin Y Au, 1999. "Intra-cultural Variation: Evidence and Implications for International Business," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 30(4), pages 799-812, December.
    7. Saini, Debi S. & Budhwar, Pawan S., 2008. "Managing the human resource in Indian SMEs: The role of indigenous realities," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 417-434, October.
    8. Magnusson, Peter & Baack, Daniel W. & Zdravkovic, Srdan & Staub, Karin M. & Amine, Lyn S., 2008. "Meta-analysis of cultural differences: Another slice at the apple," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 520-532, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antoaneta Daneshka, 2016. "Culture and International Business," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 88-111.
    2. Selmer, Jan & Lauring, Jakob, 2013. "Dispositional affectivity and work outcomes of expatriates," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 568-577.
    3. Robertson, Christopher J. & Diyab, Abdulhamid A. & Al-Kahtani, Ali, 2013. "A cross-national analysis of perceptions of corporate governance principles," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 315-325.


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