International strategies of corporate culture change: emulation, consumption and hybridity

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Publication details

Westwood, RI & Kirkbride, PS 1999, 'International strategies of corporate culture change: emulation, consumption and hybridity', Journal of Organizational Change Management., vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 554-577.

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The paper describes the symbolic representation of corporate culture within the context of a Hong Kong Chinese company in the broader context of strategic responses to the international intersection of organisation and management systems. This symbolic representation incorporates and indexes aspects of a Western culturally constituted world that is largely alien to one important stakeholder group, namely, the Chinese organisation membership. Such a disjuncture engenders an inhibition to an effective reading of the corporate culture message, so weakening the effect of the intended change. The paper discusses three interlocking themes. First, the issue of the emulation of the corporate culture notion, as conceived and formulated in the USA, in other cultural settings. Second, a consideration of a multi-stakeholder perspective on corporate culture, in which it is considered as a strategic move with respect to externalities rather than the internal system. Third, the intersection of management systems which results in mutual inter-penetrations, thus engendering responses of appropriation, adaptation and hybridity rather than merely imposition or assimilation. The author feels such interactive aspects of international business and the associated responses are in need of greater attention.