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Introduction: International Business and International Management in an Era of Globality


The world is witnessing a number of severe crises including climate change, rise of international terrorism, social inequities, food shortage, material and spiritual poverty (Hart, 2005; Prahalad, 2005; Senge, 2010). Some argue that globalization has exacerbated these crises (Beck, Sznaider, & Winter, 2003; Inda & Rosaldo, 2008), while others argue globalization can be part of the solution (Prahalad, 2005; Rangan, 2007). Globalization, understood as the cross-border integration of markets for products, labor, capital and knowledge (Ghemawat, 2003), clearly is a force that has the potential to change the experience of human existence as well as its consequences for current and future ecosystems. These changes are driven by the increasing interconnectedness of financial systems, international trade, increased labor mobility, information and communications technology, and foreign direct investment.
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International Business and International
Management in an Era of Globality
Michael Pirson
Nathanial Lupton
March 24, 2014
Electronic copy available at:
Electronic copy available at:
International Business and International Management in an Era of Globality
Nathaniel Lupton
Michael Pirson
The world is witnessing a number of severe crises including climate change, rise of international
terrorism, social inequities, food shortage, material and spiritual poverty (Hart, 2005; Prahalad,
2005; Senge, 2010). Some argue that globalization has exacerbated these crises (Beck, Sznaider,
& Winter, 2003; Inda & Rosaldo, 2008), while others argue globalization can be part of the
solution (Prahalad, 2005; Rangan, 2007). Globalization, understood as the cross-border
integration of markets for products, labor, capital and knowledge (Ghemawat, 2003), clearly is a
force that has the potential to change the experience of human existence as well as its
consequences for current and future ecosystems. These changes are driven by the increasing
interconnectedness of financial systems, international trade, increased labor mobility,
information and communications technology, and foreign direct investment.
Some scholars argue that we have moved beyond the age of globalization towards an age of
globality (Carver & Bartelson, 2010; Dierksmeier, Amann, Kimakowitz, Spitzeck, & Pirson,
2011). In such an age individual actions, local business practices, and national politics all have
global impact (Carver & Bartelson, 2010); it thus matters on more than one level how we think
about business in a global community. In this volume, we wish to provide space to global
perspectives on how we can rethink and reposition international business and management
practice to be a part of the solution to our global problems. More importantly we hope that these
contributions provide impetus for further research, practice and pedagogy development.
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Challenges to mainstream perspective
Has international business scholarship evolved in the face of globalization and globality and if so
how? The field is expectedly varied, but to anyone sufficiently immersed in its discourse,
international business and management scholarship appears to promote, or at least assumes, the
inevitability of homogenization of management practice and other forms of knowledge,
consumption, and perhaps even ideology (Jack & Westwood, 2006; Westwood & Jack, 2007).
The sharpest critique comes from postcolonial scholars who decry not only a lack of reflexivity
in international business and management scholarship, but perhaps also an active resistance to
acknowledging its underlying assumptions, ontology and epistemology (e.g. Jack, Calás, Nkomo
and Peltonen, 2008). Critical theorists opine that international business scholarship remains
mired in colonial discourse. A critical examination of the underlying assumptions of
international business theory reveals a tendency to assert the material and epistemological
subjugation of stakeholders whose voices remain silent, or are actively silenced (Westwood,
2006). Mir, Banerjee and Mir (2008), for example, reveal the hegemonic characteristics of
knowledge transfer within multinational corporations. Somewhat surprisingly, foreign cultures
and their ‘distance’ from western culture are typically treated as obstacles to be overcome, rather
than providing opportunities for enlightenment (Shenkar, Luo and Yeheskel, 2008).
Scholars outside the normal discourse of international business have thus expressed concerns that
the field has become oppressively dominated by the profit maximization imperative and
perceived superiority of western-based management thought. Several questions arise from this
state of affairs. First, and perhaps most fundamental, is whose interests does international
business serve, and how can it be made more appealing to a wider audience? Secondly, how can
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scholars outside the currently dominant discourse be heard, and thus contribute to achieving the
broader promises of inclusive international business and management scholarship and practice?
Thirdly, how can international business and management be put to the service of the world such
as poverty and environmental degradation; can such concerns be legitimatized within the broader
While it may sound trivial, humans of the many nations, and/or classifications, self -imposed or
otherwise, share a planet from which they derive bodily sustenance, comfort, and contribution to
social and spiritual development. Looking beyond daily concerns then, we realize that our fate is
ultimately shared and collective. Managerial thought, at least as presented in most scholarly
journals, is blind to such concerns as it remains adamantly constrained within microcosms,
unresponsive and agnostic towards its higher order influences. It does not make sense, however,
for the discipline of international business to take a myopic view of the world (Özkazanç-Pan,
2008), especially when that view reiterates and reinforces a singular, insular view of
management practice. Intellectual rigor demands that it should not be a foregone conclusion that
e.g. the West will lead and manage the world, the world’s resources do not inherently belong to
Western countries, and the rest of the world and its knowledge, beliefs, interests and customs are
not inarguably inferior. To begin a discussion on these and related topics, this volume brings
together authors whose interests, and in many cases locations, span the globe. Starting from this
philosophical vantage point, the many contributors to this volume expand upon the challenges
and opportunities resulting from a more humanistic perspective on international business and
management. They bring voices to underrepresented populations, issues, interests and concerns
linked to the globalization, as they endeavor to bring legitimacy to these topics within the fields
of international business and management.
Emergence of an alternative perspective
The manifold crises humanity is facing require quite possibly a different framework, a different
paradigm for business in general and for international business in particular (Spitzeck, Pirson,
Amann, Khan, & Kimakowitz, 2009). The humanistic perspective presented here holds that
human dignity is accorded to everyone unconditionally and manifests itself in human rights as
well as human responsibilities (Dierksmeier, 2011; Meyer & Parent, 1992). A perspective of
humanistic management holds that the purpose of organizing extends beyond the creation of
wealth for a selected few, but the enabling conditions for human flourishing in a shared fashion
(Mele, 2003; Pirson & Lawrence, 2009). How would international business need to be rethought
if it indeed were to subscribe to the notion of protecting human dignity of everyone and was
aimed at promoting human flourishing instead of mere wealth accumulation? The purpose of
this volume is therefore to start new and reinforce existing conversations on international
business and management, with a heightened focus on human dignity, well-being and flourishing
as the overarching imperative. The volume spans three areas within the sphere of influence of
international business and management philosophy, practice and pedagogy. We intend, and
sincerely hope, that the included chapters represent the vanguard of a more inclusive and
humanistic direction for international business and management, and that will inspire scholars to
invigorate their conceptualization, research and teaching of international business and
management, motivated by the pursuit of positive humanistic outcomes.
Overview of contributions
This volume comprises 18 chapters from 34 authors spanning the globe. We have organized the
volume into three sections conceptual, business practice and policy, and pedagogical to
broadly represent the three areas in which international business and management scholars exert
Conceptual perspectives
The conceptual section of the volume opens with critiques of, and alternatives to, dominant
perspectives on international business and management, beginning with Thomas Calvard’s and
James Hine’s exposition of the tension between mainstream and humanistic management
discourse in the context of globalization. Their chapter serves as an excellent introduction to the
issues which our original call sought to provide alternatives to. These include, as stated by the
authors, a significant sense of alienation from those accumulating wealth, shifting divisions of
world power, informal economic or black market participation, and a thirst for more humanistic
solutions to global crises”, amongst others. The authors go on to examine how the dominant
economic discourse of globalization influences the actions and attitudes of stakeholders, and call
for a more inclusive humanistic approach. The goal is to move the discourse away from its
current focus on shareholder wealth and towards something more ethically and socially
Following this, Ozan Alakavuklar follows with a similar critique of international business and
management, this time combining the humanistic management perspective with postcolonial
discourse. He calls into question the universalizing tendencies of (mostly) U.S.-originated
international business and management thought and explores the potential of the humanistic
alternative. Dr. Alakavuklar concludes that integrating the political and ethical agenda of
postcolonial discourse will provide humanistic management with a stronger theoretical basis for
achieving its objectives of promoting human dignity and well-being in international management
and business scholarship and practice.
Kent Rondeau next examines the global migration of nurses from Sub-Saharan Africa, a place
where they are desperately needed, to western nations where there services are also in high
demand. His exposition examines the nursing challenges of Sub-Saharan Africa from the
perspective of human capital development theory and neocolonialism. Dr. Rondeau
demonstrates how these perspectives are useful in assessing factors associated with decisions to
emigrate, explaining patterns of migration from colonized to colonizing countries, and the
experiences of racism by nurses in western industrialized democracies.
Paul Donnelly and Banu Özkazanç-Pan provide an alternative to the dominant discourse in
international development and aid programs, through a postcolonial lens. While these programs
can, as the authors suggest, provide useful frameworks for promoting economic growth and
prosperity, they are also criticized as being overly patriarchal. At the extremes they may even be
characterized as imperialist, racist, domineering, and interventionist, in short representing the
western domination of the world. Dr. Donnelly and Dr. Özkazanç-Pan highlight these substantial
concerns and provide alternatives and new directions, derived from postcoloniality.
Following these three paradigm-challenging pieces, Farzad Rafi Khan provides a Ghazalian Sufi
perspective on the spiritual renewal and development of international managers as a remedy to a
widely acknowledged epidemic of corporate scandal. Dr. Khan provides a perspective from a
humanistic tradition of Islam on how the role of the manager can be rethought. This perspective
provides a basis for a much neglected discussion on spiritual and religious influences on
managerial actions and their alignment within a global context.
Carlos Rodriguez-Lluesma, Anabella Davila and Marta Elvira follow the theme of global
leadership through a humanistic perspective on values-based discourse between global business
leaders and local stakeholders. Their chapter proposes that humanistic leadership in
organizations emerges when managers open themselves to ‘the others and engage in a value-
infused conversation. This observation is based on three explanations; 1) the perception that
individuals are not only members of a society, but also active members of their local community,
2) that managers and subordinates can achieve mutual acceptance of their respective value
systems through ‘value generalization’, and, 3) that the concepts of value identity and identity
work explain the self-learning that managers and their subordinates can achieve together.
William Mesa and Kyle Usrey next promote creativity, work and sustainable community as
modes of empowering local actors in a globalizing world. Using present-day examples from the
developing world piracy of aboriginal populations knowledge of traditional medicines in
Australia and the recent Bangladeshi factory fires Dr. Mesa and Dr. Usrey highlight ethical and
unethical modes of meeting and understanding “the Other”. Using pedagogical case narratives,
they further expose the tension between humanistic and conventional MNC practices that can be
used to promote more humanistic management practice (and pedagogy)”.
Andrew Creed, Jane Ross and Jack Ross next present a global business decision-making
framework based on an original interpretation of the ethics of David Hume. Their development
of the ‘Human Nexus’ contributes to providing a contemporary approach to ethical decision-
making for global managers, eschewing the abstract for the practical. To achieve this, the
authors counterbalance usefulness, agreeableness with self-interest, and selflessness, as well as
humans’ connection to ecology. In so doing, they explore how these variables interact with
relationship and decision processes often encountered in international business and management.
Nancy Landrum, Carolyn Gardner and David Boje round out the conceptual portion of the
volume with a chapter promoting integral theory which they present as a basis for re-envisioning
the theory and practice of international business and management. Citing the many critiques of
international business and management theory and practice, the authors call for the inclusion of
non-economic theories. Reasoning that dominant discourse is unduly influenced by a narrow
mindset on how businesses should operate and compete, they offer an alternative approach that
promotes more humanistic approaches to international business and management.
Perspectives on practice and policy
The next major section of the volume is comprised of chapters aimed towards re-envisioning and
reenacting international business and management practice, and public policies. This section
opens with Marianela Rivera’s and Ousama Salha’s study of management culture and practices
within the Gulf region the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman,
Bahrain, and Qatar nations which are similar in culture, religion, language, wealth and political
systems. Dr Rivera and Dr. Salha also discuss the alignment between cultural dimensions in the
region and humanistic values such as dignity, social acceptance, and empowerment, as well as
the effect of religion and ethics on the workforce.
Mario Vázquez-Maguirre and Consuelo de la Torre next provide a case study on indigenous
social enterprises as an approach to sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Using the
Ixtlán Group of social enterprises in southern Mexico as exemplars, Dr. Vázquez-Maguirre and
Dr. de la Torre analyze the mechanisms involved in developing sustainable solutions to poverty
and unemployment, thus contributing to sustainable rural development. The authors furthermore
stress the importance of reaching international markets to commercialize products to ensure the
survival of social enterprises.
Grishma Shah and Anand Pore follow with an examination of Walmart’s entry into India as an
example of a humanistic approach towards developing foreign direct investment policy (FDI),
keeping the interests of the nation’s thousands of independent retailers at the forefront. Pointing
to the tremendous competitive pressure that local merchants face foreign competition, Dr. Shah
and Dr. Pore deconstruct Indian FDI policy in order to explore the extent to which its provisions
protect the values, dignity and well-being of local stakeholders, while promoting strong
economic growth of the nation.
Constance Bygrave next examines the crucial role of cross-sector alliances and their effective
management in promoting sustainable international development. Citing the many problems
faced at home and abroad, such as crime, resource depletion, economic instability, poverty and
illiteracy, Dr. Bygrave notes alliances between stakeholders working across sectorial divides can
provide viable solutions. Whereas firms doing business internationally are hampered by the
social and environment conditions they encounter, NGOs lack the funds to adequately address
these challenges. Cooperation between these types of organization can therefore address these
issues, but effective management of cross sector alliances is notoriously difficult to achieve in
practice. To provide a way forward, Dr. Bygrave details state of the art practices in cross sector
alliance management.
Grishma Shah and Subhasis Ray round out the practice/policy section with a chapter examining
Indian firms and corporate social responsibility. In it, the authors examine how the Indian public
sector responds to globalization pressures through promoting socially responsible business
policies. Their chapter includes an examination of Indian philosophical thought on the role of
business in society, the reflection of India’s collectivist culture in organizations, and the
humanistic elements of Indian State Owned Enterprises, and the newly adopted Corporate Social
Responsibility policy embedded in amended Companies Act of 1956. In so doing, they provide
insight into how Indian ethos and culture can inform humanistic management globally.
Perspectives on humanism in (international) management education
The final section of the volume is comprised of chapters promoting humanistic pedagogical
innovations. Meghan Norris first explains how the Service, Operative, and Lecture Learning
(SOLL) model promotes humanism in international business and management education. This
achieved through service learning experiences, based on skills-based problem solving, combined
with traditional classroom-based lectures. Dr. Norris provides detailed guidelines for integrating
the SOLL model within a traditional international business and management theory. The
resulting curriculum fosters credibility with students while fostering culturally sensitive,
humanistic management practices.
Susan Swayze and James Calvin next detail the Leadership Development Program at John
Hopkins University. They provide the teaching philosophy and approach to curriculum of the
program, which are informed by humanistic management principles of leadership, culture and
society. Pointing out that globalization induces managers to do more than contribute to the
bottom line, this program is designed to provide them with knowledge, relational skills and
abilities, that will aid in implementing innovation consistent with the tenets of humanistic
management. The authors hope that by sharing these insights and practices, other academic
institutions will be inspired instill humanistic management as basis for educating future business
Kemi Ogunyemi next examines how managerial anthropology provides a basis for a humanistic
approach to studying international business and management. The context for this exposition is a
course titled ‘The Nature of Human Beings’, taught at the Lagos Business School in Nigeria,
which focuses on virtue ethics as its primary foundation. Dr. Ogunyemi shares evidence on the
effectiveness of this course in preparing future managers to practice humanistic management,
‘freed from purely economic blinders’.
Consuelo Garcia-de-la-Torre, Luis Portales and Osmar Arandia conclude with an analysis of the
mechanisms of humanistic formation of students at the Technológico de Monterrey. The authors
analyze the university model they designed, based on humanistic management principles, finding
that it has tangible influences on promoting human dignity and well-being in the communities
where graduates live and work. The key mechanism identified as promoting these values is the
alignment between the educative model and the competency development by students at
Tecnológico de Monterrey.
Beck, U., Sznaider, N., & Winter, R. 2003. Global America? : the cultural consequences of
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Carver, T., & Bartelson, J. 2010. Globality, democracy, and civil society. Milton Park, Abingdon,
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Dierksmeier, C. 2011. Reorienting Management Education: From Homo Oeconomicus to
Human Dignity. In H. M. Network (Ed.), Business Schools Under Fire. New York, NY:
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Dierksmeier, C., Amann, W., Kimakowitz, E., Spitzeck, H., & Pirson, M. (Eds.). 2011.
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Jack, G. A., Calás, M. B., Nkomo, S. M., & Peltonen, T. 2008. Critique and international
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Jack, G. A., & Westwood, R. 2006. Postcolonialism and the politics of qualitative research in
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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Management theory and practice are facing unprecedented challenges. The lack of sustainability, the increasing inequity, and the continuous decline in societal trust pose a threat to ‘business as usual’ (Jackson and Nelson, 2004). Capitalism is at a crossroad and scholars, practitioners, and policy makers are called to rethink business strategy in light of major external changes (Arena, 2004; Hart, 2005). In the following, we review an alternative view of human beings that is based on a renewed Darwinian theory developed by Lawrence and Nohria (2002). We label this alternative view ‘humanistic’ and draw distinctions to current ‘economistic’ conceptions. We then develop the consequences that this humanistic view has for business organizations, examining business strategy, governance structures, leadership forms, and organizational culture. Afterward, we outline the influences of humanism on management in the past and the present, and suggest options for humanism to shape the future of management. In this manner, we will contribute to the discussion of alternative management paradigms that help solve the current crises. Keywordshumanism-economism-management paradigms-sustainability-management theory- business strategy
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The cultural distance metaphor dominates international management research, promoting a sterile, detached view where static antecedents in the form of artificially constructed differences serve as the dominant lens through which culture is viewed and its impact assessed. We examine culture and its positivist treatment in the foreign direct investment literature using the theoretical and real-world lenses. Adopting a social constructionist approach, we propose cultural friction as a substitute metaphor centered on the actual encounter of cultural systems within a context of power relations and potential conflict between a multinational enterprise and its host country constituencies.
Since the early 1980s, scholars in organization and management studies have examined their metatheoretical assumptions with particular regard to the relationships among knowledge, power, and signification. In contrast, the international management field seems to have engaged in a continuous disavowal of epistemic reflexivity and a critical trajectory for theory development. The eight contributions in this special topic forum attempt to open up metatheoretical conversations with international management. This task requires a reflexive reexamination of what we already know and a commitment to bring others' voices into an ongoing rewriting of the field.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the phenomenon of knowledge transfer within multinational corporations (MNCs), and how the imperatives of thought and action that constitute new knowledge are received in the terrain that constitutes the MNC subsidiary. Design/methodology/approach – This study employs an ethnographic approach, and juxtaposes primary data collection with a variety of secondary data sources. Findings – The data are analyzed in light of the theoretical construct of hegemony, and three themes theorized that underlie the process of knowledge transfer. These include knowledge loss at the local level, the coercive practices that ensure knowledge transfer, and the invocation of imperial subjectivities by the headquarters of the MNC when dealing with subsidiaries from poorer nations. Originality/value – This paper goes beyond the mainstream approaches into organizational knowledge transfer, by analyzing these issues in light of political economy, and the changing landscape of industrial accumulation. It offers in some measure, the building blocks of a different organizational theory, one that is sensitive to those subjects who are consigned to the periphery of mainstream organizing.
According to the origin of the word "humanism" and the concept of humanitas where the former comes from, management could be called humanistic when its outlook emphasizes common human needs and is oriented to the development of human virtue, in all its forms, to its fullest extent. A first approach to humanistic management, although quite incomplete, was developed mainly in the middle of the 20th century. It was centered on human motivations. A second approach to humanistic management sprang up in the 80''s and centered on organizational culture. This implied a wider approach to the human condition while taking into account the influence of culture on behaviors and decision-making, but it is incomplete, too. There is a third approach to humanistic management, which is still emerging, that considers a business enterprise as a real community of persons. That means promoting unity and favoring the acquisition of human virtues. This humanistic management approach is a real challenge in order to achieve a higher moral quality in management, human virtues among people and more efficient organizations.