Bridging etic and emic approaches in cross-cultural management research

Authored by: Jia He , Fons J. R. van de Vijver

The Routledge Companion to Cross-Cultural Management

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415858687
eBook ISBN: 9780203798706
Adobe ISBN: 9781135105709


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Research in management across cultures has proliferated during the past decades. The diversity and complexity of the field is accompanied by considerable debate, often based on methodological grounds. In particular, dominant universal frameworks such as those proposed by Hofstede and the GLOBE project (adopting an etic approach) strive to provide a panoramic view, whereas indigenous studies (adopting an emic approach) attempt to capture close-up dynamics (Eglene & Dawes, 2006; Miller et al., 2011). At first glance, the etic and emic approaches seem to drive research in different directions. However, they are not an either/or polarity, and various perspectives have been suggested to reconcile the false dichotomy (Jack et al., 2013). We argue that further advancement in cross-cultural management is in part contingent on the integration of both approaches with rigorous research methodology. This chapter describes and illustrates ways in which this integration could take place.

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