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Micro-political or inter-cultural conflicts? - An integrating approach


  • Mense-Petermann, Ursula


The article focuses on inner-organizational conflicts arising with respect to processes of organizational transnationalization of multinational companies (MNCs). Two strands of debate are identified and discussed in this respect: one focusing on micro-political, the other one focusing on inter-cultural conflicts. It is argued that an integrative perspective on conflict processes is needed as neither power nor culture can be neglected or put in a secondary position when explaining conflicts in MNCs. Such an integrative framework is developed following Giddens' analytical differentiation of three dimensions of social systems: signification, domination and legitimation. It is argued that it depends on contextual variables framing the process of transnationalization, whether actors conceive of occurring conflicts as being either inter-cultural or micro-political. This theoretical argument is underscored by referring to two case studies from a German MNC in the process of transnationalization.

Suggested Citation

  • Mense-Petermann, Ursula, 2006. "Micro-political or inter-cultural conflicts? - An integrating approach," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 302-317, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:intman:v:12:y:2006:i:3:p:302-317

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roth, Kendall & Nigh, Douglas, 1992. "The effectiveness of headquarters-subsidiary relationships: The role of coordination, control, and conflict," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 277-301, December.
    2. Joshi, Aparna & Labianca, Giuseppe & Caligiuri, Paula M., 2002. "Getting along long distance: understanding conflict in a multinational team through network analysis," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 277-284, January.
    3. Forsgren, Mats, 1990. "Managing the international multi-centre firm: Case studies from Sweden," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 261-267, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Moore, Fiona, 2012. "Identity, knowledge and strategy in the UK subsidiary of an Anglo-German automobile manufacturer," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 281-292.
    2. Rizopoulos, Yorgos A. & Sergakis, Dimitrios E., 2010. "MNEs and policy networks: Institutional embeddedness and strategic choice," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 250-256, July.


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