Comparative Management Studies

GLOBE Project

Continuing with our series on cultural dimensions the report in this post introduces the impressive work carried out under the Global Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness Project, commonly referred to as "GLOBE", which was conceived in the early 1990s and is considered to be the most extensive and ambitious attempt to gather and analyze information relevant to the study of the cross-cultural aspects of leadership.  In future posts we will examine many of the cultural dimensions included and tested in the GLOBE project more closely.

Seven Dimensions of Culture

In our last post we provided a report discussing definitions of culture for purposes of cross-cultural studies.  In this post we begin a short series of reports on various attempts to suggest cultural dimensions that researchers believe can be used as an effective means for comparing and distinguishing characteristics of societal or national cultures.  This report introduces the "Seven Dimensions of Culture" defined by Trompenaars and hampden-Turner based on an extensive database with over 30,000 survey results collected during the course of multiple studies involving questionnaires sent to thousands of managers in 28 countries.

Definitions of Culture

A basic threshold issue for understanding cross-cultural studies and deriving value from the research conducted in this area is developing a workable definition of the term "culture".  Unfortunately, this is not an easy task and as explained in this report there are a number of elements that must be accounted for including the level of analysis (i.e., societies or organizations) and the specific purpose of the  proposed research.  In future posts we will examine several of the attempts to suggest cultural dimensional models, which have now become widely used tools in cross-cultural comparative studies.

Dimensions of Organizational Cultures

While most of the notoriety assigned to Hofstede is related to his groundbreaking work on the dimension of national culture he has also conducted smaller studies that focused on organizational culture.  A brief report on this work is attached and provides an interesting foundation for comparative study of organizational structures and processes adopted in different countries and industries.

Emerging Countries Offer Fascinating Window on Management Practices

The future of comparative management studies must embrace opportunities to analyze and understood new management practices that are developing around the world.  Of particular interest to me are the startling developments in China, India and other countries that had largely been ignored by early comparative management theorists.  A good place to start is the recent special report in The Economist on "Innovation in Emerging Markets".  Among the topics introduced in this report that warrant further study are new business models in emerging markets, innovation systems and the strategies selected by firms in emerging countries seeking to grow quickly in their domestic markets and in foreign markets that have typically been left to Western companies.

Hofstede's Work--Albeit Controversial--Provides Foundation for Understanding Culture and Management

As I began to delve further into some of the core issues that have been covered in the past relating to comparative management studies it became clear that the interaction of culture and management would be a topic that I need to explore in greater depth.  The well known work of Hofstede has been praised and sharply criticized and remains a "must read" for anyone interested in this area.  One of his first articles described how he collected and analyzed extensive amounts of data from IBM subsidiaries in 40 countries to empirically determine the main criteria for differentiating among national cultures.  At that time he identified four cultural dimensions--power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism and masculinity--and attempted to demonstrate how cultural differences might impact the effectiveness of widely accepted Western management theories relating to motivation, leadership and organization.  In future posts I will provide a more detailed examination of Hofstede's work and studies undertaken by others to test Hofstede's proposition and identify their own cultural dimensions.

Toyota Woes Highlight Key Issues Regarding Divergent Governance Practices

Students of comparative management studies should review the recent article in The Economist that argues convincingly that the recent troubles suffered by Toyota illustrates fundamental flaws in notions of corporate governance in Japan.  Would the presence of independent directors on the Toyota board have made any difference?  Is there something that Japanese companies can learn from governance trends and practices in other countries and, if so, how can changes be effectively implemented?  This is just one of the many interesting questions in the area of comparative management studies.

Working Paper Series Launch: Cross-Cultural Management Research Techniques

Our first real post on this blog is to announce that we have launched the Working Paper Series at the Center for Comparative Management Studies.  Each Working Paper is, by definition, a "work in progress" and provides the discipline necessary for us to collect our thoughts about what we have been researching and try to put them down on paper in some sort of order.  Working Papers will change over time and the scope of the Series is hard to determine at the very beginning.  The first Working Paper is a basic summary of some of the most common cross-cultural management research techniques.  Our plan is to refresh our website at least once a month and add a new blog posting at least once a month.

Welcome to the Comparative Management Studies Blog

Welcome to the Comparative Management Studies blog!  We're not quite ready to launch a steady stream of posts; however, please check back soon to see what we have to say.  The blog will be a regular publication of the Center for Comparative Management Studies.  See the Center's site at
Blog Software
Blog Software