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At the sharp end of new organizational ideologies: Ethnography and the study of multinationals

Hassard, J., McCann, L. and Morris, Jonathan Llewellyn ORCID: 2007. At the sharp end of new organizational ideologies: Ethnography and the study of multinationals. Ethnography 8 (3) , pp. 324-344. 10.1177/1466138107081041

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The discipline of international management has favoured predominantly functional and structural approaches to data collection and analysis, and its concepts are usually based on rather unitarist, ethnocentric interpretations of `global business' that sideline local features and exaggerate the impact of change. On the other hand, the `varieties of capitalism' approach, while sensitive to national differences in institutions and `national business systems', also relies heavily on functionalist concepts and theories, and is vulnerable to overplaying national differences and underplaying the extent of change. We argue that the epistemic thinking of both approaches suppresses the significance of two issues crucial for explaining the restructuring of national regulatory systems and international firms: (1) the subjective interpretations of human actors in large transnational work organizations; and (2) the ideologies and philosophies surrounding the creation of `efficient' organizational forms. To construct a method for comparative international management that is sensitive to these twin forces of action and ideology, we turn to the traditions of anthropology. In particular, we demonstrate how community-based ethnography sheds light on the tougher edges of global restructuring, and facilitates the grounded analysis of the `new organizational ideology' that has taken root throughout developed capitalist economies, regardless of national differences in business systems.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ethnography; communities; ideology; belonging; comparative international management; varieties of capitalism
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 1466-1381
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 09:56

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