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Cultural (In)Sensitivity in International Management Textbooks: A Postcolonial Reading

Moulettes, Agneta LU and Fougère, Martin (2009) American Academy of Management
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to analyze, with a broadly postcolonial sensibility, the discourses on culture found in some of the international management books that: 1) especially claim to emphasize the cultural factor, and 2) claim to be ‘international’, supposedly appropriate for reading in all parts of the globe. We intend to show that very similar discursive patterns characterize the conceptualizations of culture found in these books. We especially emphasize three striking features, present in all five textbooks, which reveal how managers are meant to get to see the world once disciplined by these powerful discourses on culture: - a unanimous call for ‘cultural sensitivity’, which is presented as a skill that should be found in... (More)
The aim of this paper is to analyze, with a broadly postcolonial sensibility, the discourses on culture found in some of the international management books that: 1) especially claim to emphasize the cultural factor, and 2) claim to be ‘international’, supposedly appropriate for reading in all parts of the globe. We intend to show that very similar discursive patterns characterize the conceptualizations of culture found in these books. We especially emphasize three striking features, present in all five textbooks, which reveal how managers are meant to get to see the world once disciplined by these powerful discourses on culture: - a unanimous call for ‘cultural sensitivity’, which is presented as a skill that should be found in international managers – but has insidious implications - a general tendency to essentialize national cultures, presenting them as static and homogeneous - a way of addressing a managerialistic purpose through a reductionism that subjugates culture to the needs of successful business We contend that the claimed book audiences - ‘international’ or even ‘global’ - are constructed upon the legacy of a colonial thinking in the sense that the knowledge is meant to be propagated through a one-way communication from the Western, mostly Anglo-Saxon, world (through standardized MBA education) to a rest of the world that is considered as economically and culturally peripheral. We conclude that the books contribute to producing both a guilt-free Western subjectivity and a collective cultural responsibility on the part of the people from so-called ‘developing countries’. (Less)
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author
and
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
in press
subject
keywords
Critical Management Studies, Culture, Postcolonialism, International Management books
host publication
[Host publication title missing]
editor
Banerjee, Bobby and Chio, Vanessa
publisher
Edward Elgar Publishing
conference name
American Academy of Management
conference dates
2006-08-11 - 2006-08-12
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4345688d-7772-4fec-87dc-eb4fe533fb8c (old id 1387704)
date added to LUP
2016-04-04 12:18:59
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:10:15
@inproceedings{4345688d-7772-4fec-87dc-eb4fe533fb8c,
  abstract     = {The aim of this paper is to analyze, with a broadly postcolonial sensibility, the discourses on culture found in some of the international management books that: 1) especially claim to emphasize the cultural factor, and 2) claim to be ‘international’, supposedly appropriate for reading in all parts of the globe. We intend to show that very similar discursive patterns characterize the conceptualizations of culture found in these books. We especially emphasize three striking features, present in all five textbooks, which reveal how managers are meant to get to see the world once disciplined by these powerful discourses on culture: - a unanimous call for ‘cultural sensitivity’, which is presented as a skill that should be found in international managers – but has insidious implications - a general tendency to essentialize national cultures, presenting them as static and homogeneous - a way of addressing a managerialistic purpose through a reductionism that subjugates culture to the needs of successful business We contend that the claimed book audiences - ‘international’ or even ‘global’ - are constructed upon the legacy of a colonial thinking in the sense that the knowledge is meant to be propagated through a one-way communication from the Western, mostly Anglo-Saxon, world (through standardized MBA education) to a rest of the world that is considered as economically and culturally peripheral. We conclude that the books contribute to producing both a guilt-free Western subjectivity and a collective cultural responsibility on the part of the people from so-called ‘developing countries’.},
  author       = {Moulettes, Agneta and Fougère, Martin},
  booktitle    = {[Host publication title missing]},
  editor       = {Banerjee, Bobby and Chio, Vanessa},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Edward Elgar Publishing},
  title        = {Cultural (In)Sensitivity in International Management Textbooks: A Postcolonial Reading},
  year         = {2009},
}