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Individualism and the cultural roots of management practices

  • Hoorn, André van

    (Groningen University)

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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File URL: http://irs.ub.rug.nl/ppn/356623424
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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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  1. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Why do management practices differ across firms and countries?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47491, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Foster, Lucia & Haltiwanger, John C. & Syverson, Chad, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," IZA Discussion Papers 1705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0716, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Eric J. Bartelsman & Mark Doms, 2000. "Understanding productivity: lessons from longitudinal microdata," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Juan Botero, 2003. "The Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 9756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andy C.W. Chui & Sheridan Titman & K.C. John Wei, 2010. "Individualism and Momentum around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(1), pages 361-392, 02.
  7. Benito Arruñada, 2010. "Protestants and Catholics: Similar Work Ethic, Different Social Ethic," Working Papers 497, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  8. Nicholas Bloom & Christos Genakos & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2012. "Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," NBER Working Papers 17850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Nick Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2009. "The organization of firms across countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25481, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Claire Lelarge & John Van Reenen & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2006. "Technology, Information and the Decentralization of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 12206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Bertrand, Marianne & Schoar, Antoinette, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies," Working papers 4280-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  12. Jeremy T. Fox & Valérie Smeets, 2011. "Does Input Quality Drive Measured Differences In Firm Productivity?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(4), pages 961-989, November.
  13. Clark, Gregory, 1987. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 141-173, March.
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