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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. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2008. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 394-425, March.
  2. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," NBER Working Papers 12216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Benito Arruñada, 2004. "Protestants and Catholics: Similar work ethic, different social ethic," Economics Working Papers 743, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2010.
  4. 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.
  5. Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio López-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, . "The Regulation of Labor," Working Paper 19483, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  6. Jeremy T. Fox & Valérie Smeets, 2011. "Does Input Quality Drive Measured Differences in Firm Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 16853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Why do Management Practices Differ Across Firms and Countries?," CEP Occasional Papers 26, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Managing With Style: The Effect Of Managers On Firm Policies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1169-1208, November.
  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. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Lelarge, Claire & Van Reenen, John & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2006. "Technology, Information and the Decentralization of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 5678, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. Mark Doms & Eric J. Bartelsman, 2000. "Understanding Productivity: Lessons from Longitudinal Microdata," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 569-594, September.
  13. 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.
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