The discursive construction, reproduction and continuance of national cultures: A critical study of the cross-cultural management discourse

University dissertation from Lund Institute of Economic Research

Abstract: Considering that businesses, whether they operate on a global or a domestic market, are affected by globalization, cross-cultural management is without doubt an urgent topic in current management and education. However, despite this urgency and the commendable intention behind the endeavour to enhance people’s cultural knowledge, current models on national cultures are problematic since they rely on simplistic ideas and crude stereotypes which perpetrate prejudice representations of self and others. This is problematic because these models are presented as ‘true’ portrayals of national culture rather than constructed representations. It is problematic also because it continues to hold the power to shape the perception of self and others by disseminating cultural representations based on neocolonial structures. Informed by postcolonial ideas and using critical discourse analysis, the aim of this thesis is to critically investigate the way the concept of national culture has been constructed by cross-cultural management scholars and the way it is treated by international textbooks authors. It further aims at investigating how the notion of national culture is rhetorically and discursively used by organizational members in mundane conversations. Instead of contributing to the critique that already has been raised towards current cross-cultural models or trying to refine these models by adding yet another quantitative study, the intention here is rather to critically investigate the underlying causes that made the reproduction of cultural stereotypes and the construction of cultural hierarchies between nations possible. Hence, the thesis includes four independent but interrelated chapters that can best be described as qualitative studies, which are seeking to understand how national cultures have been constructed, disseminated, and reproduced through discourse.

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