Universalism, Particularism and Singularism in Cross-National Management Research

Markus Pudelko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It can be argued that the main debate within cross-cultural or cross-national management research is between two opposite approaches labeled here as universalism and particularism. This theoretical debate is vital for scholars and managers alike, as it is not only of conceptual relevance but also has practical consequences. The first question is whether there are "best practices" in management that are of universal validity and can be borrowed by companies of one country from companies of another country (universalism) or whether differences in particular cultures and other contextual factors make this impossible (particularism). The second question is whether multinational corporations (MNCs) should use universally standardized practices when doing business around the world (universalism) or whether they should adapt to each particular local context (particularism). This paper contributes to overcoming this dualism, not by declaring one position more valid than the other, but by integrating the opposing approaches in a way that allows scholars and managers alike to structure universal and particular contextual factors into one framework. The proposed model should ultimately assist in determining what makes a national economy competitive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-37
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Studies of Management and Organization
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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