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Core-Periphery Relations and Organisation Studies

Also by Robert Westwood


Postcolonial Reading (with G. Jack)
CULTURE (with C. Rhodes)
HUMOUR, WORK AND ORGANISATION (co-edited with C. Rhodes)
DEBATING ORGANISATION: Point/Counterpoint in Organisation Studies
(co-edited with S. Clegg)
THE LANGUAGE OF ORGANISATION (co-edited with S. Linstead)
Core-Periphery Relations
and Organisation Studies
Edited by

Robert Westwood
Newcastle Business School, Australia

Gavin Jack
La Trobe University, Australia

Farzad Rafi Khan

Karachi School for Business and Leadership, Pakistan


Michal Frenkel
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Selection and editorial content © Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Rafi Khan
and Michal Frenkel 2014
Individual chapters © Contributors 2014
Softcover reprint of the hardcover 1st edition 2014 978-1-137-30904-4
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List of Illustrations vii

Acknowledgements viii

Notes on Contributors ix

List of Abbreviations xiv

1 Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management

and Organisation Studies 1
Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Rafi Khan and Michal Frenkel

2 Can the Periphery Write Back? Periphery-to-Centre

Knowledge Flows in Multinationals Based in
Developing and Emerging Economies 33
Michal Frenkel

3 De-centring Management and Organisation Studies:

On the Eccentricity of US-Based Management and
Organisation Theory and Practice 53
Robert Westwood

4 Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception of

the State to the Turkish Case 79
Şükrü Özen

5 The Historical Trajectory of a Peripheral National

Business System 100
Maria Kapsali and Rea Prouska

6 Governing the Global Periphery: Socio-economic

Development in Service of the Global Core 121
Sammy K. Bonsu

7 Transforming the Institutional Logic of the Centre through

Indigenous Wisdom 139
Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

8 ‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’: Ancestral Leadership,

Cyclical Learning and the Eternal Continuity of Leadership 164
Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare
vi Contents

9 Voices that Matter: Speaking Up for the ‘Indigenous’

in Business Education 185
Diane Ruwhiu

10 Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented:

Why Management Education Needs Indigenous Input 204
Bob Hodge

11 Carrying across the Line 223

Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and
Farzad Rafi Khan

Index 249
List of Illustrations


5.1 Legacies and paths creating the Greek segmented

peripheral NBS 114
10.1 Kooralia by Papunya artist Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri 216
10.2 The Aboriginal Invention of Television cover by
anthropologist Eric Michaels 218


1.1 Conceptions of Indigeneity 13

5.1 The path of the role of the state with indicators by Hotho 104
5.2 The path of the financial institutions with indicators
by Hotho 107
5.3 The path of the labour institutions (education, training,
unions) with indicators by Hotho 108
5.4 The path of the firms’ institutionalised practices with
indicators by Hotho 109


Gavin would like to acknowledge the support of the Business School

La Trobe University, which granted a sabbatical leave that enabled the
development of this book project.
Michal would like to thank Yehouda Shenhav for his constant support
and engagement in many conversations contributing to the develop-
ment of some ideas that we delve into in this book.

Notes on Contributors

Sammy K. Bonsu is fortunate to have been born in Ghana where his inter-
ests in markets, culture and socio-economic development were nurtured.
He has parlayed this interest into something of a career supported by
the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada and
the Social Science & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada.
Currently on location at Ghana Institute of Management & Public
Administration (GIMPA), Sammy maintains research interests in Africa
and Diasporan experiences that inform theoretical developments.
Michal Frenkel is Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Anthropology and
Organisation Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research
focuses on the transformation of local and transnational (ethnic, racial,
class and gendered) social orders in the context of the ‘globalisation’ of
management practices. She has published widely in journals such as the
Academy of Management Review, Organization Studies, Organization Science,
Organization and Gender, Work and Organization as well as in leading Israeli
journals. Her empirical and theoretical articles have looked at the role of
geopolitical and centre-periphery power relations in the cross-national
transfer and translation of management practices within multinational
corporations, and across national boundaries. In other publications she
looked at the role of national and political ideologies as well as polit-
ical institutions in the importation and translation of classic models of
Manuka Henare is currently Associate Dean Māori and Pacific
Development and founder Director of the Mira Szászy Research Centre
for Māori and Pacific Economic Development. He is an Indigenous
anthropologist and historian, specialising in Māori and Pacific anthro-
pology and history. Henare joined the Department of Management and
International Business in 1996 as a Senior Lecturer in Māori Business
Development. He teaches Māori business and economics, culture and
society, and tribal histories. He lectures in Development Studies on
culture, religion and economic development and sustainability and
Indigenous thinking. He has a specialist knowledge of the writings of
Tamati Ranapiri on hau and mauri.
Bob Hodge is currently a Research Professor at the Institute for Culture
and Society, University of Western Sydney, Australia. He was educated

x Notes on Contributors

in Australia (University of Western Australia) and Britain (Cambridge

University) and has taught at Cambridge University, and the University
of East Anglia in the UK, and at Murdoch University and the University
of Western Sydney in Australia. He has researched and published in
a range of fields in critical research, including social semiotics, chaos
theory, cultural studies, critical pedagogy, digital social sciences, crit-
ical management studies and post-colonial studies. He has authored
or co-authored over 20 books, the most recent being Chaos Theory and
the Larrikin Principle (2010) with Coronado, Duarte and Teal, on critical
management, and Mexico and Its Others, A Chaos Approach (2012) with
Coronado, on globalisation.
Maria Humphries is Associate Professor in the Waikato Management
School at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. Exploring
the responsibilities of non-Indigenous people to the restoration of past
and present colonial forces has been a significant aspect of her study of
diversity management and its contemporary harnessing to the intensi-
fying forces of globalisation. How to participate with Indigenous voices
calling for organisational values and practices that will generate universal
flourishing and planetary restoration is central to her concerns.
Gavin Jack is Professor of Management in the Business School at La Trobe
University, Melbourne, Australia. His research interests include postco-
lonial theory and its application to the critical study of management
and marketing, international and cross-cultural management, and more
recently the intersection of social class and sexuality in work and leisure
settings. He has published in journals including Organization, Sociology,
Management International Review, and the Academy of Management Review.
He is Chair of the Critical Management Studies Division of the Academy
of Management.
Brad Jackson is Fletcher Building Education Trust Chair in Leadership
and Co-Director of the New Zealand Leadership Institute at the
University of Auckland Business School. His research explores the role
of communication in the social construction of leadership; the relation-
ship between leadership and governance processes; and the application
of geographic perspectives to leadership research and teaching. He has
spoken to academic and business audiences throughout the world and
has published five books: Management Gurus and Management Fashions,
The Hero Manager, Organisational Behaviour in New Zealand, A Very Short,
Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Leadership, and
Demystifying Business Celebrity. He edited the Sage Handbook of Leadership
Notes on Contributors xi

and Major Works in Leadership. He is Vice-Chair of the International

Leadership Association, a Fellow of the Leadership Trust and a Research
Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management.
Maria Kapsali is Research Fellow and Assistant Professor at the
University of Umeå, Sweden, in the School of Business and Economics.
She obtained her PhD at Manchester Business School and worked as a
Research Associate at Imperial College Business School, UK. Her research
focuses on the application of systems theory in national business
systems, inspired by Richard Whitley’s model, and started in 2009 where
she co-edited the book Business and Management Practices in Greece: A
Comparative Context (2011), nominated for the Criticos Prize in 2012.
Related work to this book has been presented at EGOS in 2011, and the
International Society for Systems Sciences in 2011. Her other branch
of research involves the application of systems theory and complexity
concepts in temporary organisations.
Dara Kelly is a PhD student in the Department of Management and
International Business at the University of Auckland Business School.
She is from the Leq’á:mel First Nation in BC, Canada and completed
her Master of Commerce thesis entitled ‘Ngā Kete e Toru o te Wānanga’:
Exploring Feminine Ancestral Leadership with Māori Business Leaders”
in 2011. Her thesis has garnered an invitation to contribute a chapter
in this book, and a travel grant to attend the International Leadership
Association (ILA) annual conference in Denver, Colorado in October
2012. Kelly’s current doctoral research explores the impact of economic
unfreedom on traditional Stó:lō and Māori Indigenous gift economies.
In addition to her studies, Kelly is a Research Assistant at The University
of Auckland Business School.
Farzad Rafi Khan is Associate Professor of Strategy and Organisation at
the Karachi School for Business and Leadership and a Visiting Professor
at the Hult International Business School. He has published on critical
aspects of organisations and society in Human Relations, Organization,
Organization Studies, and the Journal of Business Ethics.
Şükrü Özen is Professor of Organisation Theory at Yıldırım Beyazıt
University in Ankara, Turkey. His articles have appeared in Journal of
Management Studies, Organization & Environment, Organization, Journal
of Business Ethics, and Organization Studies. His main research interests
are in institutional organisational theory, cross-national diffusion and
translation of managerial practices, and social movements and institu-
tional change.
xii Notes on Contributors

Rea Prouska is Senior Lecturer in HRM at Middlesex University Business

School in the Department of Leadership, Work and Organisations.
She is also Director of Programmes and Programme Leader for the BA
Business Management (HR track). She has a PhD with a specialisation
in outsourcing HR activities from the University of Manchester, UK. Her
research interests are on the impact of the financial crisis on the quality
of working life and on HRM practices, HR outsourcing/offshoring,
organisational change, and graduate employability. She is co-editor of
the books Critical Issues in Human Resource Management and Business and
Management Practices in Greece: A Comparative Context.
Diane Ruwhiu (Ngāpuhi) is Lecturer in the Department of Management,
Otago Business School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
She embraces the tensions and opportunities that emerge from being
an Indigenous Māori academic woman, who is drawn into many
conflicted spaces in relation to her colleagues and students she interacts
with, the courses she teaches, and the ideological positioning of the
business school that she calls her workplace. In addition, her interests
range from research with Māori business to understand the dynamics of
their performance and sources of advantage, to the role of Indigenous
leadership and innovation. The role of Indigenous identity and prac-
tice in scholarship and business education is a theme she would like
to develop further. She is currently working with research partners on
projects related to Maori tourism clusters and high value manufacturing
and service sectors in the Maori economy.
Amy Klemm Verbos is Assistant Professor of Management at Central
Michigan University. She obtained a PhD in Management Science
(Organisations and Strategic Management) and master’s in Public
Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Juris
Doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and a Bachelor
of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Her work has been published in the Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of
Management Education, Equality Diversity and Inclusion: An International
Journal, and in the edited book Positive Relationships at Work. Her research
interests include positive organising, relational ethics, Native American
ethics, Indigenous inclusion, and the principles of responsible manage-
ment education. She is an enrolled member of the Pokagon Band of
Potawatomi Indians.
Robert Westwood is Professor of Management at the Newcastle Business
School, University of Newcastle, Australia. He has lived and worked in
Notes on Contributors xiii

the centre (UK), the periphery (Macau, Fiji) and the semi-periphery
(Hong Kong) as well as in Australia – with varying degrees of comfort
and unease. He was woken up to the conditions of postcoloniality and
his own condition of privilege 30 years ago by a Fijian colleague who
queried “What the hell are you doing in my country?” as they consumed
a couple of Fiji Bitters together. In addition to the critical interrogation
of management and organisation studies through the resources of post-
colonialism, Bob has also researched and published in the spheres of
language and organisation, organisational humour, popular culture and
organisations, gender and organisation, and issues around identity and
the meaning of work.
List of Abbreviations

AIATSISThe Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander Studies
BoP Base of the Pyramid
BRIC Brazil, Russia, India and China
CAP Common Agricultural Policy
CIDA Canadian International Development Agency
DE-MNC Developing and Emerging Multinational Corporation
EC European Community
EU European Union
EUR Euro
FDI Foreign Direct Investment
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GPTW Great Place to Work
HR Human Resources
HRM Human Resource Management
IHRM International Human Resource Management
IMF International Monetary Fund
MDG Millennium Development Goal
MNC Multinational Corporation
MOS Management and Organisation Studies
NBS National Business System
NIT New Institutional Theory
PIIGS Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain
SAP Structural Adjustment Programme
SME Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise
SOE State-Owned Enterprise
TQM Total Quality Management
UN United Nations
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
WBG World Bank Group
WHO World Health Organization

Situating Core-Peripheral
Knowledge in Management and
Organisation Studies
Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Rafi Khan and
Michal Frenkel


Since its emergence in the early 1900s, the discipline of management

and organisation studies (MOS) has predominantly relied upon a Euro-
American epistemology, presenting managerial and organisational forms
developed in the West, or Global North, as exemplars on a path towards
modernity for the rest of the world to follow (Calás & Smircich, 1999;
Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006; Westwood, 2001). With few (but growing)
exceptions, scholars in MOS have adopted this Euro-American outlook
in both the centre and the periphery of the system of global manage-
ment knowledge (Tsui, 2004). In this book, we intend to flip this outlook
in order to explore what management and organisation might look like
from a peripheral perspective, and how the periphery might write back
to the centre of the discipline of MOS. How different would the world
of management and organisational theory and practice become when
studied from the periphery?
Academic notions of core, or centre (terms used interchangeably in
this book), and periphery are associated with world-systems analysis
and dependency theory (Frank, 1967, 1978; Prebisch, 1950; Wallerstein,
1974, 1979). They form part of a descriptive and explanatory frame-
work for the rise and evolution of the capitalist world-economy, with
an analytical focus on the system (rather than a single state) and the
international division(s) of labour that constitute it. In its starkest
terms, a world-system analysis structures the globe into two unequal
parts: the core, which comprises the (over-)developed countries of
Europe, North America and some others; and the periphery, which
comprises all the developing and under-developed countries of the
world in Latin America, Asia and Africa (Mabogunje, 1980).1 Scholars

2 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

from these theoretical traditions identify imperialism and colonialism as

key features in the historical development of capitalism, with the ante-
cedents of modern-day core-periphery structures residing in European
imperial expansionism from the sixteenth century. ‘As a result of pene-
tration by colonial capital’, Hoogvelt (2001, p. 38) writes, ‘a distorted
structure of economy and society had been created in the colonial coun-
tries which would reproduce overall economic stagnation and extreme
pauperization of the masses for all time’.2
The effects of such core-periphery relations have been and continue
to be problematic, sometimes devastating, for many individuals, groups,
tribes, clans and societies in peripheral locations, and for subaltern
groups residing in today’s megacities and imperial centres. The effects are
multiple, and pertain to the interconnected social, economic, political,
cultural, linguistic, physical and psychological domains of human life.
They are also differentially experienced depending on a host of factors
including location, gender, race and class. Government mortality and
health indicators, for instance, demonstrate striking disparities in the life
chances and well-being of social groups within peripheral locations. In
Australia the adult mortality rates as well as children’s health outcomes
(Eades & Stanley, 2013) for Indigenous communities are far worse than
for other Australians for a variety of complex reasons connected to the
social and cultural alienation and low economic status experienced by
many at the periphery of a white settler society. In global megacities,
especially in so-called ‘First-World’ locations, domestic work and child-
care in affluent households are often provided by female migrants (legal
and illegal) from locations that stand in a dependent or subservient
relation to the First-World, or former or current imperial centres. Often
sending remittances back home, domestic migrant workers can be sepa-
rated from their own families and children, and sometimes face abuse
and social isolation within their working environment (Ehrenreich &
Hochschild, 2003; Sassen, 2000). These outcomes, and many others, can
all be understood as economic, social and cultural legacies of a colonial
In this book, the collective focus is less on the economic basis, work-
ings and outcomes of core-periphery relations. Instead, we use the core-
periphery frame in order to analyse and critique structures, practices and
outcomes of knowledge production within management and organisa-
tion studies in particular, and the global social sciences more generally.
It is recognised that the global social sciences reflect their provenance
in colonial Europe and imperial America, and are based on a system of
dependency between different national scholarly systems (Alatas, 2000,
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 3

2003; Connell, 2007). As Connell (2007, p. vii) notes: ‘Its [social science’s]
dominant genres picture the world as it is seen by men, by capitalists,
by the educated and affluent. Most important, they picture the world
as seen from the rich capital-exporting countries of Europe and North
America’. A key result of such ‘world-picturings’ is the delegitimisa-
tion, marginalisation, distortion or silencing of local/Indigenous (non-
centre) epistemologies and worldviews. In exploring knowledge from
the periphery of MOS and the global social sciences, this book attempts
to reconfigure such Eurocentric pictures of the world, and to redress the
‘legitimacy gap’ between knowledge produced in the centre, and knowl-
edge produced in peripheral locations within our discipline.
In colonial history, the attempted imposition of colonial ideology and
colonisers’ belief in the superiority of their own knowledge provided
the foundation for various forms and practices of cultural imperialism
(Said, 1993) that set out to civilise and to bring modernity, order and
progress to the natives (McClintock, 1995). A Eurocentric teleology in
which Europe/Western civilisation considered itself more advanced
and evolved than other societies placed a mobile West at the vanguard
of history and trapped an immobile colonial Other into tradition and
non-modernity (Chakrabarty, 2000). Akena (2012) illustrates how such
cultural imperialism worked in the historical context of formal education
and schooling in Uganda (a former British colony). Akena’s historical
study describes and critiques the beliefs and practices of indoctrination
and evangelisation of the first Christian missionaries who arrived in
Uganda from Britain in 1877. Convinced that local Ugandan knowl-
edge, spirituality and religious values were inferior, Akena details how
the missionaries built elementary and industrial schools and churches
that would serve to

create an institutional environment that was conducive to imparting

Western culture, initially to sons and relatives of chiefs from the king-
doms of Buganada, Ankole, Bunyoro, and Toro. The graduates from
these schools would then be used to impart Western cultures, knowl-
edge, and religion in their communities. (p. 609)

Within this environment, missionaries encouraged their pupils to

abandon their African beliefs and practices (denigrated as primitive and
brutal) and to submit to a pious Christian life. Akena reports that pupils
were strictly monitored and controlled (e.g., by discouraging them from
returning home during school breaks), and cleaved from their own cultures
and knowledge systems with the co-operation of local Bugandan chiefs
4 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

(e.g., by sending students to live with chiefs, and by going to missionary

camps). They were also to encourage other Africans to disavow their
traditional religions and beliefs. The effects of such cultural imperialism
on these graduates is described by Akena as follows:

( ... ) they were confused whether they belonged to the African or the
European world, which did not quite fully accept them. Cut off from
the mass of the African population but always looking to their newly
acquired colonial masters for instruction and guidance, the disori-
ented and alienated African pupils from their traditional cultures
were left without proper anchors. (p. 610)

Akena’s analysis highlights not only the vital role played by schooling
and education in the propagation and transmission of colonial ideology,
but also the psychological damage inter alia caused by the simultaneous
internalisation of the coloniser’s knowledge systems and the denigra-
tion of one’s own.
If we move from nineteenth-century missionaries and the emergence
of formal education in Uganda, to twentieth and twenty-first-century
writers and educators of management and organisation, a similar story
could be told, even if the actors and the locations are different. As a site
for the production and regulation of legitimate knowledge, the manage-
ment academy is certainly not exempt from the propagation and ensuing
effects of core-periphery dynamics. It is well accepted that MOS is domi-
nated by centres of knowledge and Eurocentric theoretical frameworks
from the Global North (specifically the United States and to a lesser
extent Western Europe) (Alcadipani and Reis, 2011; Frenkel & Shenhav,
2006) and reflective of the development of Western modernist narra-
tives of science and progress (Calás & Smircich, 2003). Ibarra-Colado
(2008), for example, describes the workings of core-periphery in MOS in
the context of Latin America. He writes that:

Until now and dominantly, most of the Latin American researchers

have been copying and pasting syllabus, theories, methodologies and
other management fads and fashions manufactured in the Anglo-
Saxon countries, it doesn’t matter if the appropriation is on mainstream
theories or in those produced by critters or pomos [critical management
scholars or postmodernists].
( ... ) we can recognize some mechanisms that stimulate these copy-
paste practices. For example, most of the Latin American scholars in
the field do not recognize the colonial condition of the region and,
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 5

consequently, they systematically deny the structural differences and

asymmetries with the centre. The problem is seen as one of develop-
ment and the solution is reduced to the appropriate application of
those management and organizational knowledges produced in the
most developed countries. This uncritical acceptance of Anglo-Saxon
theories conditions the type of explanation of the problems of the
region and the type of solutions to confront them, producing in this
way a certain kind of self-imposed coloniality. (p. 933; italics added)

Ibarra-Colado’s critique of Latin American management resonates

strongly with wider critiques of ‘global’ social sciences, in which institu-
tions of higher education have become ‘key sites of cultural and episte-
mological invasion, where inappropriate and irrelevant forms of Western
culture and knowledge are thrust upon an unwitting student popula-
tion’ (Pennycook, 1994, p. 64). Alvares (2002) describes an ensuing
‘distorted structure’ in which the intellectual centres of the West ‘supply
the categories and terms for all intellectual debates. We play along. They
remain the centre, while we keep ourselves at the periphery. They create;
we copy and apply’. Some caution with an overgeneralisation like this
should be noted. Colonial history teaches us of the active and passive
resistance of colonised groups, as well as the ambiguity and ambivalence
inherent in the colonial encounter (Bhabha, 1994; Prakash, 1999). It
would be wrong (perhaps logically impossible) to consider the imposi-
tion of colonial ideology as always and necessarily successful (for if it
had been, there would have been no more justification for further colo-
nisation). This sentiment is echoed by Connell (2007) in relation to the
social sciences:

The hegemony of metropolitan knowledge does not obliterate all

others. Alternative ways of thinking about the world certainly persist.
But they are readily marginalised, as African discussions of indigenous
knowledge have shown, intellectually discredited, dropped from the
curricula of schools and universities, or ripped off by corporations
pursuing intellectual property rights. (p. xi)

In MOS, we note how the development of other regional and national

academies of management research (for instance, in Brazil, Scandinavia,
Asia-Pacific) has created a fragmented field for organisational inquiry
with equivocal implications for the development of autonomous
non-centre fields of research and novel/Indigenous concepts (Kipping
et al., 2008; March, 2004).
6 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

This book should be conceived as a collective, critical endeavour

to interrogate and reconfigure from a peripheral perspective certain
concepts and theoretical perspectives from the core of MOS. To this end,
the book has three main aims. First, the book aims to defamiliarise and
to decolonise MOS concepts from the centre. Second, it aims to recover
alternative conceptions and knowledges that have been submerged or
silenced. Finally, it aims to re-voice Indigenous knowledge and prac-
tices that constitute alternative conceptualisations within MOS. Broadly
speaking, these aims are inspired by critical perspectives from postco-
lonial theory and Indigenous knowledge systems. Such perspectives
recognise, challenge and offer alternatives to the continuing presence
and evolving forms of economic and cultural imperialism and colonisa-
tion of life-forms that attend the projection of Western modernities (and
newly emerging non-Western forms) into different discursive spaces.
This approach offers different possibilities for engagement, disengage-
ment and the expression of independence from dominant knowledge
systems, and thus different potentials for critiquing and changing core-
periphery thinking.
In this chapter, we take stock of the current influence of postcolonial
theory and Indigenous perspectives in MOS. We do so by first turning
to an overview of the emergence of a critically reflexive perspective in
MOS informed by postcolonial theory. We thus give due recognition to
work that has already begun in re-historicising and decolonising MOS
and position this book as building on and extending that domain. We
then move to explore the possibilities of a re-voiced periphery and of
Indigenous epistemologies and knowledge systems. Finally, by giving a
brief overview of the chapters comprising this book, we consider what
can be accomplished by taking the above injunctions seriously and
allowing the periphery to interrogate and reconfigure the centre.

The intrusion of postcolonialism into management and

organisation studies

Within orthodox and mainstream MOS, which resides in and is managed

from the North Atlantic centre, there has been a persistent tendency to
ignore or efface its own provenance. More specifically it has remained
silent, with a few exceptions (e.g., Booth & Rowlinson, 2006; Cooke,
2003a; Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006; Jack & Westwood, 2009; Kelly et al.,
2006; Shenhav, 2013; Westwood & Jack, 2008), about aspects of the
historical, ideological, economic and political conditions surrounding
its rise to prominence. What we mean is that there has been scant
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 7

acknowledgement of, and limited attention to, the complex and deep
imbrication of MOS and the conditions of its emergence in the colo-
nial, neo-colonial and imperial projects of the past four centuries or so.
There is an erasure of the development of key aspects of contemporary
Western management and administration in and through the colonial
project – in the mundane practices of colonial control and administra-
tion, the innovations in plantation management, the operations of the
slave trade (Cooke, 2003a), the logistics of the opium trade and by the
appropriative operations of Western-based trading companies such as
the East India company inter alia. A kind of pretence has been sustained
that academic MOS discourse arose under conditions of scientific objec-
tivity, scholarly distance and disengagement, and that professional prac-
tice came forth as a set of impersonal and rational-economic responses to
purely business/management exigencies. The conditions of emergence
are characterised as ones of neutrality and innocence – decontextualised
and de-historicised from the imperial encounter between the West and
the rest.
To facilitate a reflexive focus that brings to the fore the ideological,
cultural and historical provenance of MOS and to interrogate critically
its assumptions, some scholars have turned to postcolonial theory as a
rich reservoir of resources. Postcolonial theory has a long history and, as
is typical of its engagement with intellectual currents relative to other
fields and disciplines, MOS has belatedly recognised its critical potential.
Young’s (2001) exacting historical account sees the term ‘postcolonial’
(or rather post-colonial) first used in relation to Marxist-inflected anal-
ysis of postcolonial states in the 1950s. As Young (2001) notes:

( ... ) postcolonial theory works from a number of different axes: a

product of revolutionary Marxism, of the national liberation move-
ments of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the political
and cultural consequence of the success of those movements, the
tricontinental economic and cultural critiques of the 1950s, 1960s
and 1970s, and the historical effects of migration, past and present,
forced or voluntary. It combines history with a theorized account of
contemporary culture. (pp. 60–61)

It is difficult to identify definitively the emergence of a critical postco-

lonial analysis in MOS since the earliest ruminations were often aired in
conferences and seminars that did not necessarily make it into published
forms. Of note though is Stella Nkomo’s (1992) upbraiding of MOS for
the neglect of race in theorising organisation. The very first Critical
8 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

Management Studies (CMS) Conference in the United Kingdom in 1999

featured papers with an emergent postcolonial critique (e.g., Cooke,
1999; Gopal et al., 1999; Neu, 1999) and the CMS biennial conferences
since have typically included a postcolonialism or related stream. One
of the earliest published pieces was Anshuman Prasad’s (1997a) critical
account of the oil industry from a postcolonial perspective. Indeed,
both Anshuman Prasad and Pushkala Prasad have been leading figures
in promulgating a postcolonial critique within MOS (Prasad, 1997b,
2003, 2012; Prasad & Prasad, 2002, 2003). Of significance too is Calás
and Smircich’s (1999) reflections and predictions for the field of MOS
published in the Academy of Management Review where they identified
postcolonialism as one of four perspectives that would take the field
forward beyond postmodern analysis.
The contributions in MOS to date, as with postcolonialism in other
spheres, have been varied; informed by differing perspectives and theo-
retical standpoints and antecedents. First, there is work that has inter-
rogated MOS in relation to its representational practices. This resonates
with postcolonialism as cultural critique and is typically informed by
Said or Said-inspired colonial discourse analysis. Typical of this strand has
been the work of Westwood (2001, 2006; Jack & Westwood, 2009; Ul-Haq
& Westwood, 2012) and others (Coronado, 2012; Fougere & Moulettes,
2007; Qi Xu, 2008). In general terms, this strand seeks to reveal the appro-
priative, essentialising, orientalising and othering practices inherent in
much of the representations of those of the non-centre in the centre’s
MOS literature. A number of papers have discussed MOS in broad disci-
plinary terms through a postcolonial or related critical lens where its
privileged epistemic conventions have been subjected to searing inquiry
and found wanting in terms of their claimed universalisms (Banerjee &
Linstead, 2001; Cooke, 2004; Holvino, 2010; Ibarra-Colado et al., 2010;
Özkazanç-Pan, 2008; Westwood, 2001; Westwood & Jack, 2007).
Reflecting a major division within postcolonialism more generally,
there are others whose work eschews what is sometimes seen as cultural
critique in favour of a more materialist critique, often focused on matters
of political economy in the relations between (former-)coloniser and
(former-)colonised, or between core and periphery. Such analysis tends
to deal with the material exploitation, relative disadvantage and other
asymmetries that persist under conditions of postcoloniality. Examples
here include Imamatsu’s (2010) critique of the ethanol industry in
Brazil, Banerjee’s (2000) account of the destructive consequences of
mining on Indigenous communities in Australia and Bebbington et al.’s
(2008) analysis of the impact of extractive industries in the Andes. One
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 9

might view some of the critical treatments of globalisation as situated

at least partially within this space (Banerjee et al., 2009; Gopal et al.,
2003; Prasad, 1997b). Such contributions offer a critique of the effects
of globalisation on the people of the periphery and as a counterpoint
to those who proclaim a positive narrative for globalisation (Bhagwati,
2004; Sachs, 2005).
Anti-colonial and postcolonial modes of analysis are progressively
being applied to various parts of the MOS discursive space across its
subfields or disciplines. Postcolonial analysis has been deployed in the
fields of accounting (see later); marketing (Jack, 2008; Varman & Belk,
2012; Varman & Saha, 2009); public relations (Munshi & Kurian, 2005);
management consultancy (Frenkel & Shenhav, 2012); and informa-
tion and computer studies (Bhuiyan, 2008; Brooke, 2002; Chakravarty,
2004) – including issues around off-shoring and call centres (Mayasandra
et al., 2006; Ravishankar et al., 2013). In addition there have been a
number of more general treatments as well as special issues and collec-
tions. We have already noted one of the early edited collections put
together by Prasad (2003) as well as his more recent collection (2012).
Other book-length works include Jack and Westwood (2009) and impor-
tant special issues include Alcadipani et al. (2012), Annisette and Neu
(2004), Banerjee and Prasad (2008) and Jack et al. (2008, 2011).
In a finer-grained manner, postcolonial theory has also been applied
to various management and organisational problematics. For example,
Frenkel and Shenhav (2003) examine how the logic of empires has
affected the transfer of management knowledge between the imperial
metropole and its colonies in both traditional empires (the British) and
new ones (the United States). Mir and Mir and colleagues (Mir & Mir,
2009; Mir et al., 2008) have provided a critique of knowledge transfer
and its unintended consequences in overwriting more efficient local
practices. Frenkel (2008) adopted a Bhabhaian approach to rethink the
transfer of knowledge within multinational corporations, presenting
it as a form of colonial mimicry. Bush and Maltby (2004) assessed the
role of taxation systems in colonial contexts as part of the armaments
of control. They argue that the colonially imported tax system into
British West Africa aided colonial control by assisting in making colo-
nial subjects governable. This paper was part of a collection published as
a special issue of Critical Perspectives on Accounting entitled ‘Accounting
and Empire’, edited by Annisette and Neu (2004). In that issue, Neu
and Heincke (2004) make a similar argument about the imposition of
financial and accounting systems and the governmentality effects on
Indigenous people in Chiapas and Oka.
10 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

Perhaps an unsurprising area of postcolonial critique is in relation to

development ideology and interventions, including the role of NGOs.
Such critique was foundational in the development of world-systems
theory (Frank, 1967, 1978), but has been consistently pursued and
debated, including within MOS (Dar & Cooke, 2008; Nyamugasira,
1998; Khan et al., 2010; McEwan, 2009; Sylvester, 1999). A key develop-
ment emerging from this critique is the insistence on the inclusion of
Indigenous knowledge in the planning and implementation of devel-
opment strategies and interventions (see, for instance, Agrawal, 1995;
Briggs, 2005; Briggs & Sharp, 2004; Ellen et al., 2000; the Indigenous
Knowledge and Development Monitor, 1993–2001). There has also been
a critique of corporate social responsibility from forms of postcolo-
nial or anti-imperialist perspectives (Adanhounme, 2011; Khan &
Lund-Thomsen, 2011; Khan et al., 2010).
The questioning of the centre’s epistemological coloniality is also
becoming widespread in the periphery where various types of critiques
and alternatives are being constructed. In the Argentinian and broader
Latin American context, for instance, Mignolo’s (2012) work on deco-
loniality and border thinking has proven highly influential for organi-
sational scholars (Faria, 2013; Faria et al., 2013). Such moves are also
apparent in Africa (Eze, 1997; Presbey et al., 2002), in relation to Islamic
epistemology (Al-Araf, 2006; Azram, 2011; Nasr & Leaman, 1996; Yazdi,
1992); in New Zealand, with respect to Māori ways of knowing and epis-
temology (Bishop, 1998, 1999; Cram, 2001; Salmond, 1985; Smith, 1999,
2000, 2006); and within the United States concerning Native American
epistemology (Basso, 1996; Cajete, 2000; Hester & Cheney, 2001; Waters,
2004). There is a rising call for the proper legitimisation and application
of Indigenous epistemologies and methodologies within the academy
(Chilisa, 2012; Denzin et al., 2008; Figueroa & Harding, 2003; Kovach,
2010; Smith 1999).
This movement to challenge the dominant epistemology of the centre
and elevate alternative and Indigenous epistemologies and methodolo-
gies has emerged within MOS too, both in general (Marsden, 1991; Tsui,
2004) as well as in relation to specific locales. Khan and Koshal (2011) have
articulated the contours of an alternative Critical Management Studies
narrative based on Islam and have anticipated Ul-Haq and Westwood’s
(2012) critique about the mis-representation and under-representation
of Islam in MOS. They argue that it needs to be given space, including
the necessity of allowing space for an Islamic MOS founded upon Islamic
epistemology. In Aotearoa/New Zealand the general promulgation of
a Māori worldview and epistemology is matched within MOS with a
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 11

number of significant contributions (Fitzgibbons & Humphries, 2011;

Henry & Pene, 2001; Prichard et al., 2007) as well as the contributions
in this book from Kelly, Jackson and Henare, Ruwhiu and Humphries
and Verbos. Similarly, in Australia, there has been discussion of aspects
of management and organisation in relation to Aboriginal worldviews
and practices (Banerjee, 2000, 2003, 2004; Banerjee & Tedmanson, 2010;
Sullivan, 2008; Tedmanson, 2008). We can find similar work promoting
a local interpretation of MOS and related issues in Africa (Jackson, 2012,
2013; Jackson et al., 2008; Nkomo, 2011), India (Chakraborty, 2003;
Das et al., 2008; Gopinath, 1998; Panda & Gupta, 2007; Sinha, 2000),
China (Cheung, 2008; Wang, 2005), Latin America (Alcadipani, 2010;
Ibarra-Colado, 2006; Mandiola, 2010; Montano-Hirose, 2009), Native
American cultures (Verbos et al., 2011, 2012) and others.
In order to advance debate in postcolonial organisational analysis,
this book places an important emphasis on Indigenous worldviews and
perspectives on management and organisation, and the nature of their
engagement with postcolonial theory. In the next section, we highlight
extant scholarship on Indigenous perspectives in MOS.

Examinations of Indigenous knowledge and

alternatives within the periphery

There is a small but important and growing literature that aims to

construct Indigenous alternatives from the periphery to mainstream
MOS. The time is thus ripe for a critical examination of what might
be meant by Indigenous knowledge, especially within the context of
centre-periphery dynamics in MOS. Although there have been previous
publications that pay attention to Indigenous management knowledge
(as noted earlier), an interesting struggle is now unfolding around the
meaning and importance of Indigenous knowledge systems in the pages
of a number of management journals (see, for instance, the recent special
issue of Management International Review, 2013). This is a struggle both
for meaning and crucially for legitimacy, and it is one with a double-
edged potential.
One could say there is a ‘turn’ to Indigenous knowledge in manage-
ment, in part animated by the emergence of the BRIC economies and
the resultant interest and development of ‘indigenous’ rather than
exported management theory. One area of burgeoning research is Asian
or Chinese management research, in which the concept of indigeneity
has made a significant appearance, as a vehicle for fully realising the
need to contextualise management theory and practice. However, there
12 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

are challenges here. The main challenge is around signification – what

is meant by Indigenous – and here there is troubling evidence of both a
lack of clear definition in some circles, ambiguous definition in others
and contestable definition in still others. That said, this turn to indige-
neity could be viewed as a sign of hope for change, interpreted as actions
and movements that can decentre and provide propitious conditions
for the re-valuation of alternative knowledge systems that exist within
the periphery. In short, it is around the very concept of indigeneity that
a contemporary intellectual and political site has emerged for re-nego-
tiating and re-articulating and thus legitimising epistemologies in the
periphery of MOS.
According to Linda Tuhiwai Smith (2005, p. 86): ‘Indigenous peoples
can be defined as the assembly of those who have witnessed, been
excluded from, and have survived modernity and imperialism. They
are peoples who have experienced the imperialism and colonialism
of the modern historical period beginning with the Enlightenment’.
Quoting from the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs,
Fitzgibbons and Humphries (2011, p. 5) tell us that ‘[t]here are more
than 370 million Indigenous people in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe
and the Pacific. They are among the most impoverished, marginalised
and frequently victimised people in the world’. Previously marginalised,
they note that ‘the voices of indigenous peoples are increasingly asser-
tive in the stewardship, governance, and management of the earth, her
waters, minerals, open spaces, and urban spaces’ (p. 4), voices that are
coming to influence a variety of social, economic, scientific, political
and organisational agendas.
In an extensive multidisciplinary literature review on conceptualisa-
tions of indigenousness and Indigenous knowledge, Jackson (2013; see
Table 1.1) identified a number of different underpinnings to contem-
porary definitions. Concepts of place, values and ecology as well as the
context of colonialism are crucial elements in contemporary conceptu-
alisations of indigeneity in law, anthropology, politics, sociology and
social work. Jackson cautions against a conflation of indigeneity with
‘the local’, arguing that ‘Indigenousness exists as a function of its relat-
edness to a global dynamic. In many ways that is also a function of who
is telling the story: who is conceptualizing indigenousness and for what
purpose’ (p. 16).
Within the context of MOS, this question of who is telling the story
about Indigenousness and for what purpose is crucial, since it illumi-
nates the challenges and paradoxes underpinning the contemporary
struggle around the Indigenous label in our discipline. The key problem
is a contest about what ‘indigenous’ means, and the implications of how
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 13

Table 1.1 Conceptions of Indigeneity

Concept Possible Meanings

Indigenousness • Place and colonial power relations

• Collective/common values
• Ecological circumstances
• Marginalisation
• Establishing a legal identity
• Distinctiveness from the dominant
• Cultural appropriateness
Indigenous knowledge • Knowledge in distinction to
colonial (and scientific) knowledge
• A resource or commodity (for
development decision makers)
• Control
• Institutionalisation of indigenous
knowledge leading to over-
romanticisation and appropriation
Indigenous research • Context-specific
• Framed by and for Indigenous
• Political activity
• Power and control
Source: Derived from Jackson (2013, pp. 17–20).

this question is answered. For some scholars in international manage-

ment, it would seem to be a non-issue. Jackson reports that of the 74
articles in the journal Management International Review (1985–2009) that
mentioned the term ‘indigenous’, not one gave an explicit definition or
explanation. Moreover, and having returned from his multidisciplinary
literature review to MOS, Jackson (2013) argues that

( ... ) by exploring the wider social science literature, it may be

possible to conclude that much of the current interest in ‘indigenous’
management may not be focused on the indigenous at all, but on what
may be regarded as ‘endogenous’. This term, to put it one way, does not
appear to carry the baggage the term indigenous does. This baggage,
implying a rootedness in colonial relations ( ... ) is mostly ignored by
management scholars. (p. 14; italics added)

The cleavage between understanding Indigenous as an alternative adjec-

tive for local and the one pertaining to the colonial/imperial gaze is
often and unfortunately elided in MOS. This point has been noted by a
number of authors, concerned about the ‘turn’ to Indigenous knowledge
14 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

and its appropriation in management research and the concomitant disa-

vowal of colonial and imperial history and its legacy (see, for instance,
Banerjee & Linstead, 2004; Jack et al., 2012). This history is effaced
when ‘indigenous’ is used by management researchers to signify ‘cultur-
ally appropriate’, or simply ‘local’. These significations are common in
contemporary international management literature, as noted by Jackson
with respect to studies of Indian management (Panda & Gupta, 2007),
Chinese or more broadly Asian management (Tsui, 2004). In part, they
are a response to the ‘contextualisation agenda’ (Rousseau & Fried,
2001) in MOS, and the need not only to recognise the effects of the
contextual specificities of observer and observed on data, but also to use
context for purposes of theory development.
Critical commentators thus note the many dangers and challenges
of representing Indigenous knowledge in contemporary management
circles, especially when it is a simple cipher for ‘locale’, or ‘place’, or when
it is commoditised as the latest ‘must-have’ knowledge for ‘unlocking
the secrets’ of local employee/consumer behaviour in emerging markets.
Concepts such as Guanxi (in China) or Ubuntu (in South Africa) are cited
as examples of Indigenous philosophies and practices about which
Western managers and scholars should learn, since they can typically,
as Jackson notes, be used to deliver new forms of competitive advantage
for global organisations. Often, these sorts of approaches of ‘reaching
back’ for Indigenous knowledge have unfortunate effects: portrayals can
often position Indigenous knowledge in static terms, cast as ‘tradition’,
disconnected from change and global vicissitudes; it can also gloss over
significant intragroup differences pertaining, say, to gender and genera-
tion, in Indigenous experience.
Alcadipani et al. (2012) note that it can be non-Western/Southern
scholars themselves who end up invoking essentialist notions of the
other. They say that

in efforts to excavate and foreground the contributions of knowl-

edge from the past or present, scholars from the South often end up
evoking essentialisms, putting forward arguments that have also been
used to marginalise and denigrate contributions from the ‘other’. So,
terms like ‘indigenous knowledge’ can suggest stasis and romanti-
cism, encouraging idealization and confirming prejudice. (p. 133)

Objectifying and commoditising Indigenous knowledge carries the

danger of reinforcing the peripheral and negative status of Indigenous
knowledge as not ‘of the modern world’, or, to quote Jackson, as
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 15

‘outmoded and reflect[-ive of] many of the Western pejorative assump-

tions of “Africa” generally, as having nothing to contribute to the global
discourse on business and management’ (p. 23). Non-Western scholars
in the periphery acting in such a manner whereby they are ignoring or
distorting their own traditions to satisfy the reigning epistemic preju-
dices in the centre can be explained to some extent by the hard reality
the centre imposes on scholars in the periphery. Through imperialist
interventions, the formal intellectual institutions of higher learning in
the periphery have been rewired in such a way that successful careers in
them are predicated on publishing in Western journal outlets (Alcadipani
et al., 2012). Thus, sometimes, the only perceived option in becoming
a successful management researcher, or one with ‘international’ profile
for scholars in peripheral locations, is to take up the knowledge systems
and dominant methodologies of the West, often with equivocal conse-
quences. Jackson (2013) takes the view that this internalisation of an
overvalued West and undervalued non-West ‘leads to a wholesale adop-
tion of Western education, knowledge and technology, together with
the disparaging of local management approaches and solutions, and
perhaps even research methods and agendas’ (pp. 27–28).
Alatas (1977) famously describes the phenomenological barrier such
structures can create for scholars in the periphery that mitigate against
the creation of Indigenous social sciences in which it becomes possible
to ‘make voices beyond Northern academia heard without any partic-
ular commitments to Western theoretical frames’ (Alcadipani et al.,
2012, p. 131). Alatas’s (1974, p. 692) concept of the captive mind is ‘an
uncritical and imitative mind dominated by an external source [Western
categories and modes of thought], whose thinking is deflected from an
independent perspective’. The question becomes not only recognising
how one’s thinking and knowledge becomes captive to external or non-
Indigenous influences, but also how one finds a legitimate intellectual
and discursive space for the articulation of Indigenous alternatives.
The mainstream of MOS needs to extend its visions beyond the frac-
tured modernities of the West, and pay attention to alternative moder-
nities, traditions, histories, organisations, capitalisms or exchange
systems, cultural developments and values, in sites where an encounter
or interface between members of different knowledge systems takes
place. We do not have to look far for alternatives to dominant knowl-
edge systems, and to postcolonial studies which discuss the possibilities
of ‘recovering the voices of the marginalised’ (Mohan, 2002, p. 157, in
Jackson, 2013, p. 27) and of acknowledging the historical, present and
future potential for the empire to ‘write back’ (Ashcroft et al., 2002).
16 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

Reflections on the Indigenous experience, and in particular on asser-

tions of Indigeneity and the re-voicing of Indigeneity, provide a basis
for an emergent interrogation and reconfiguration of the centre by the
periphery, as well as a wider potential for an interrogation and reconfig-
uration of the broader structures of dependency and discursive regimes
that keep the Indigenous voice in a particular speaking position. To
turn to Indigenous knowledge is thus also to address the questions of
whether ‘the subaltern [can] speak in a voice that is without contradic-
tion and paradox’ given that ‘[i]ndigenous knowledge from the South
has largely been categorised and determined through the gaze of the
North, making elusive its claim to being endogenous’ (Alcadipani et al.,
2012, p. 133).
Srinivas (2012) squarely addresses these questions in his compelling
critical analysis of the search for ‘Indian’ management. He places his
critique of contemporary texts, especially practitioner texts, about a
‘local’ or more ‘authentic’ Indian way of managing in the history of
texts that have sought theories and insights from outside the Western
canon in MOS (e.g., ranging from the early work of Harbison & Myers
and the I-USLPED project; to Prasad & Negandhi, 1968; Ahiauzu, 1986,
on African management; Ali, 1995, on Arab management; and more
recently, Henry & Pene, 2001, on Māori management; and Whiteman
& Cooper, 2000, on First Nation environmental ‘management’ practices
in Canada). Srinivas challenges us to consider in complex ways: ‘What
ensures the relevance of a body of knowledge to a locale?’, and ‘is it suffi-
cient to adequately re-order management knowledge to the demands of a
locale, to make it more authentic?’ Similar questions have been raised by
Nkomo (2011) with respect to African management theory. Staying with
Srinivas (2012, p. 146), though, his questions go the heart of the current
turn to Indigenous thinking, and provoke critical thinking about the
foundational questions as follows: ‘Can authentic management knowl-
edge in the south be distinguished so clearly from western management
knowledge? And what does this effort to locate the authentic tell us
about other questions of identity?’ He identifies two distinct claims
made by scholars about management knowledge from the South. The
first he labels a claim for ‘epistemic relevance’ and asks what constitutes
management knowledge, especially relevant management knowledge,
to a particular locale. He unpicks a number of contemporary books and
scholarly works that demonstrate particular ways of understanding and
constructing relevance, and a more authentic form of Indian manage-
ment. The second claim is called ‘performative efficacy’, and this pertains
to the question of how managers should behave in a particular locale.
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 17

Echoing the critique of Alcadipani et al., and Jackson, Srinivas (2011,

p. 149) says:

Across this project of authenticity, admirable though it is to attempt

a challenge to dominant Eurocentric influences, the search for Indian
management has remained nativist and instrumental. This is a nativist
search. Identifying the authentic requires establishing a specific zone
of the cultural, where particular versions of the subcontinent’s histo-
ries, traditions and cultures (in the vocabulary of social psychology,
spiritual philosophy and market growth respectively), are asserted
and justified as most representative. Very little attention is devoted to
divergent views of such histories, traditions and cultures. This has also
been an instrumental effort. The search to locate Indian management
has not been one where the rationale offered is to critique past bases
of identity, whether in terms of class formation, capitalist history,
gender and so forth. Rather the rationale has been managerial, to
enhance capitalist organizational growth through renewed atten-
tion to aspects of employee performance. Authentic Indian manage-
ment once located will enable greater organizational effectiveness,
enhanced work morale.

From these critiques of Indigenous management, it is clear that some

new questions and a closer engagement with Indigenous work from
outside of the discipline is required to ensure that Indigenous knowledge
is not simply appropriated, or commoditised, or its distinctive colonial
histories written out by its conflation with endogeneity.
One consequence of elevating alternative Indigenous epistemologies
and the recovery of the development of science outside of the centre is,
we hope, a broader re-historicisation of MOS. As noted earlier in this
chapter, MOS has since its inception as an academic practice in Western
Europe and the United States persistently manufactured itself with an
account of its own history that is almost exclusively self-referential.
There has been a virtual denial of the reliance of the emergence of the
centre’s management and business practices on other parts of the world
and a burial of any reflections or accounts of management and business
emergent from anywhere other than the Western centre. That is, apart
from a few Westernised exoticisms such as references to Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of
War’ as protological statements about strategy. Inclusion of experiences
from the periphery will go a significant way in correcting these current
proclivities of MOS in the centre.
18 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

In addition to helping re-historicise MOS, Indigenous voices from

the periphery when given the chance to speak and be heard may help
in decolonising MOS in the centre. Decolonisation as a concept comes
from anti-colonial history and involves an attempt to recover knowledge
systems and beliefs that had been delegitimised and marginalised by the
colonial encounter (as in the Akena paper from earlier). Chilisa (2012,
p. 13) defines decolonisation as ‘a process of centering the concerns and
worldviews of the colonised Other so that they understand themselves
through their own assumptions and perspectives’ involving:

1. The creation and use of strategies that will ‘liberate the captive mind
from oppressive conditions that continue to silence and marginalise
the voices of the subordinated, colonized, non-Western societies that
encountered European civilization’.
2. The ‘restoration and development of cultural practices, thinking
patterns, beliefs, and values that were suppressed but are still relevant
and necessary’. (p. 14)

In the latter respect, it can be said that understanding Indigenous values

is of vital relevance beyond Indigenous communities themselves. As
Fitzgibbons and Humphries (2011) note in respect of management

Greater attention to the world views held by indigenous peoples the

world over provides a window on values that may well be universal
but have been overshadowed by the valorization of a particular set
of western values that have served well the aspirations of capitalist
orientations and neo-colonial powers. (p. 4)

Influenced variously by postcolonial theory and/or Indigenous philos-

ophy, the chapters comprising this book work collectively with, across
and against the positions made available by such knowledges and the
experiences to which they speak. In the final section of this chapter, we
outline briefly the contents of the chapters.

The periphery writes back

Deploying the notions of core and periphery creatively and expansively,

the chapters in this book exemplify different approaches, founded on
different conditions of possibility, for critiquing and offering alternative
possibilities for the development of debate in MOS. The different aims
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 19

and analytical tasks of each chapter mean that while the authors share
a common goal of decentring MOS and pressing for the legitimacy of
knowledge produced in the periphery, there are tensions and challenges
between them. In Chapter 2, ‘Can the Periphery Write Back?’ Periphery-
to-Centre Knowledge Flows in Multinationals Based in Developing and
Emerging Economies’, Michal Frenkel re-visits the binary distinction
between core and periphery and asks what happens when the core of the
multinational corporation – its headquarters – is located in the global
periphery. Situated in the nascent academic literature on multinationals
based in emerging and developing economies (so-called DE-MNCs), as
well as public discourse surrounding the expansion of such firms into
the ‘developed’ world, she explores the possibility for a cross-national
transfer of management knowledge between the two locations. In this
case, the transfer involves knowledge developed in former colonies such
as India, Brazil and others to the global centre. She found that DE-MNCs
are reluctant to impose their home country managerial practices upon
their ‘first-world’ foreign units, and that managers and workers in these
foreign units are highly resistant to any such potential transfer. To
explain she applies the notion of the ‘postcolonial imagination’. While
their economic success could make DE-MNCs a role model for other
firms to follow, this postcolonial cognitive map that scholars of interna-
tional management and actors in the field are still clinging to seems to
prevent a counter-flow of management knowledge from the periphery
to the core. Such actions effectively reproduce the hierarchy of knowl-
edge that takes for granted the universality and superiority of manage-
ment knowledge produced at the global core.
Seeking to decolonise management knowledge, Robert Westwood’s
‘De-centring Management and Organisation Studies: On the Eccentricity
of US-based Management and Organisation Theory and Practice’
(Chapter 3) turns the postcolonial gaze from the colonies towards the
‘empire’ of MOS itself: US-based management and organisation theory and
practice. Analysing mainstream US-based MOS, he shows that contrary
to explicit or implicit universalist assumptions, much of US-developed
and disseminated theory, particularly in the organisational behaviour
domains, articulates modes of being and behaving that are distinctive
and ineluctably provincialised. That is to say, they are tied to the values,
ideologies and sets of relevancies that prevail in the United States. These
theories and practices are therefore less relevant for the rest of the world
in which they are commonly studied and implemented. This insight
impels a reconsideration of the field which, through a distorted politics
of knowledge – itself related to a distorted geo-politics – propagates the
20 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

illusion that what is articulated in US knowledge production represents

not only a universal position, but a kind of standard, an orthodoxy. A
more objective, de-centred assessment, actually allows us to see the US
position in the field as eccentric.
Chapters 4–6 demonstrate how this distorted geo-politics which
marginalises local knowledge in favour of management knowledge
developed at the centre transgresses our understanding of organising and
management in the periphery and reproduces the global economic and
epistemological hierarchy between centre and periphery. In Chapter 4,
‘Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception of the State to
the Turkish Case’, Şükrü Özen shows how the liberal conceptualisation
of the state in the US-based institutional literature is not applicable to
Turkey where a statist polity has prevailed. The ambiguity in the role of
the state, diversity and proto-institutions, and stable un-institutionalisa-
tion are more salient in the Turkish case than the consistent state inter-
vention, widespread isomorphism and stable institutionalisation that
characterise the cases of orthodox theory. In line with both Frenkel’s
and Westwood’s arguments, he demonstrates how researchers’ postco-
lonial imagination and the geo-politics of knowledge production have
led to the adoption of a less-than-adequate research lens to the study of
the Turkish organisational environment. At the same time, he proposes
that a more careful understanding of the Turkish case may flow back to
improve mainstream US-based theory in a way that would eventually
make it more globally useful.
Moving from the US-based neo-institutional approach to the more
Anglo-European school of the National Business Systems, Maria Kapsali
and Rea Prouska (Chapter 5) present ‘The Historical Trajectory of a
Peripheral National Business System’. They also demonstrate that the
attempt to build a universal theoretical framework drawing almost exclu-
sively on the context of the developed and well-institutionalised busi-
ness systems of the global core is doomed to fail. They focus on a careful
historical study of a peripheral location (or semi-peripheral) constantly
subjected to foreign interventions from the superpowers of each period:
that of Greece. They show how these foreign interventions and attempts
to impose the industrialisation and economic models considered most
rational and efficient at their time led to the construction of a segmented
and unstable national business system which followed a path that led
towards crisis. The chapter simultaneously demonstrates how the adop-
tion of the core’s ‘best practices’ by the Greek state and the implementa-
tion of core-based theoretical perspectives to the study of its historical
development are part of a geo-politics of knowledge dissemination that
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 21

engenders misconceptions and misunderstandings. Much like Özen,

they argue that a careful study of the periphery from the periphery may
contribute to the development of better theory.
Sammy Bonsu in Chapter 6, ‘Governing the Global Periphery: Socio-
economic Development in Service of the Global Core’, points to the
devastating results of the imposition of another core-based theoretical
and practical model upon the periphery – that of ‘development’. He
moves us from the semi-peripheral cases of Turkey and Greece to that
of the African continent in general and of his homeland in Ghana in
particular. The neoliberal variant of ‘development’ according to him
is particularly responsible for this state of affairs. Bonsu views neolib-
eral development discourse as a form of (Foucauldian) governmentality
which re-orders the subject coordinates of the poor in the periphery.
Development discourse creates a new subject position for the poor as
‘empowered entrepreneurs’, which means that they are solely respon-
sible for both their condition of poverty and the means to alleviate it.
The moral duty of the poor is now to usher in and enact neoliberal
market friendly processes from the West that further institutionalise
their emiseration. Development discourse thwarts the decolonisation of
the mind; it makes people in the periphery increasingly uncomfortable
with their own traditions and priorities and compels them to look to the
West for instruction.
Drawing upon Māori traditions from Aotearoa/New Zealand, in
Chapter 7, ‘Transforming the Institutional Logic of the Centre through
Indigenous Wisdom’, Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos offer
a periphery-based alternative to the market-centred institutional logic
characterising today’s globalising economy. They use the juxtaposition
between the logic of the centre and the Māori periphery to both criti-
cise the neoliberal perspective and to find conversations through which
we may transform our relationships with each other and with Earth
and all her creatures. The adoption of the institutional logic of the
Māori periphery, they believe, may lead to the development of a new
model for re-visioning a respectful collaboration and co-governance of
different worldviews. Also drawing upon Māori Indigenous perspec-
tive and experience in Chapter 8 ‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’:
Ancestral Leadership, Cyclical Learning and the Eternal Continuity
of Leadership’, Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare provide
a critique and alternative theoretical model for the understanding
of leadership. The chapter provides a view into Indigenous leader-
ship research with a particular focus on problematising the Western
values at the heart of this domain of MOS, and voicing and valorising
22 Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Khan and Michal Frenkel

alternative Indigenous values. The authors use the notion of the ‘meta-
phoric mind’ to illustrate with interview material the interconnections
of the human, metaphysical, spiritual and cosmological domains of
human existence. Through their analysis, they develop the notion of
ancestral leadership which suggests that leadership is grounded in the
traditions of Indigenous spiritual philosophies and, to use their words,
‘nurturing relational engagement with deitic energies’. In developing
this concept of leadership, Kelly et al. join the previous chapter in
pushing forward the idea that by introducing the experiences and
knowledge of the periphery, scholars may add to the development of
management knowledge and practices that are far richer and more
universally applicable than the core-based hegemonic MOS.
In Chapter 9, ‘Voices That Matter: Speaking up for the “Indigenous”
in Business Education’, Diane Ruwhiu moves beyond the presentation
of Māori knowledge as alternative management knowledge, to critically
consider current attempts in New Zealand business schools to introduce
such Indigenous content into the curriculum. Whilst Ruwhiu welcomes
this development, she has certain concerns about how this might be
working in a context where the ideological and paradigmatic Western
frames of business and management education are strongly entrenched
in New Zealand’s business schools. Her chapter does not prescribe steps
for the introduction of Māori content into the curriculum. Instead, it
encourages readers to recognise the already hybridised nature of colo-
nial and Indigenous knowledge and to use this as the basis for critical
reflection on curriculum development. Furthermore, she asks educators
to consider for themselves the answers to the two following questions
about the development of Māori curriculum into business schools: What
does Indigenous knowledge in the context of business education look
like? What are the consequences and/or outcomes for students and
Finally, in Chapter 10, ‘Sorry, the Network Society has Already been
Invented: Why Management Education Needs Indigenous Input’, Bob
Hodge provides another example of how Indigenous knowledge is far
more sophisticated in developing relevant practices of organisation than
the core’s most ‘advanced’ theories. Developing a postcolonial critique
of the claimed ‘network revolution’ in contemporary global business,
he argues that Aboriginal network practices in Australia and ‘knowledge
from the margins’ need to be recognised and valued as fundamental
dimensions in management education today. Network models have been
defining elements in such Indigenous cultures for millennia. Yet main-
stream management and organisation studies still barely understand
Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management 23

network principles, and do not look consistently even to emerging

sociological ideas on networks. Our own concluding Chapter 11 adopts
the concept of ‘translation’ to discuss the collective contribution of the
chapters to advancing debate in MOS.

1. Wallerstein’s framework also refers to semi-peripheral countries.
2. Hoogvelt (2001) goes on to critique Wallerstein’s analysis. She argues that
radical structural changes have occurred in the world system and incorpora-
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divide is being replaced by a social one. A ‘new global configuration drives a
politics of exclusion, contrasted with the politics of incorporation (and ‘devel-
opmentalism’ in the broadest sense) that marked previous period of capitalist
expansion’ (pp. 64–65).

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Can the Periphery Write Back?
Periphery-to-Centre Knowledge
Flows in Multinationals Based
in Developing and Emerging
Michal Frenkel

One of the features of collective reflection in media and social

science today is the profound discrepancy between perspectives
North and South. On either side, representations are schematic
and together they make up a stylized exchange of stereotypes
and off-the-shelf knowledge.
Jan Nederveen Pieterse (2000, p. 130)

Rethinking empires

In their book The Empire Writes Back, Ashcroft et al. (1989) remind us
that the after-effects of colonialism are not limited to the colonies; they
also flow back to reshape the imperial metropole as well. In manage-
ment and organisation studies, scholars have shown that the bureau-
cratic experience in the colonies (e.g., Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006) and the
experience acquired in the management of slaves in southern planta-
tions (Cooke, 2003a), for instance, actually contributed to shaping the
‘Western’ (or Northern) canon of management theory. In this constella-
tion, the subaltern’s impact on the coloniser is always bottom up, and
is always mediated through the active role taken by the coloniser in
developing new types of knowledge that are grounded in his encounter
with the ‘Other’.

34 Michal Frenkel

Often perceived as the modern incarnation of the traditional colo-

nial empires, multinational corporations (MNCs) have been analysed
by postcolonial critics in organisation studies using the same theo-
retical and conceptual tools that were originally developed to address
the traditional empires (e.g., Banerjee et al., 2009; Frenkel, 2008; Jack
& Westwood, 2009; Mir & Mir, 2009; Özkazanc-Pan, 2008). The fact
that most MNCs are still based primarily in western/northern countries
allows us to focus on the ways in which they try to impose their mana-
gerial policies and organisational ideas upon their non-western foreign
units, and highlights how, much like the earlier empires, modern MNCs
tend to see western knowledge as superior to that which evolved in
other parts of the world.
In recent years, however, a number of binary distinctions – such as those
between ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’, the ‘leaders’ of the global economy
and those being led, and ‘empires’ and ‘colonies’ – have become much
fuzzier. Previously colonised and peripheral countries have suddenly
emerged as fast growing economies, overshadowing their former colo-
nisers, at least in terms of economic success and stable growth. One
of the engines behind these fast-growing emerging economies is the
developing and emerging economies-based MNCs (DE-MNCs) that now
directly or indirectly control organisational units or subsidiaries in coun-
tries considered more ‘central’, ‘northern’ or ‘western’ than their home
countries (see, e.g., Agtmael, 2007; Casanova, 2009). Multiple indicators
attest to the growing importance of MNCs based in previously peripheral
countries. For instance, according to the United Nations Conference on
Trade and Development (UNCTAD, 2010), multinationals in emerging
economies accounted for only 0.4 per cent of world outward foreign
direct investment (FDI) in 1970, a share that had grown to 15.8 per cent
by 2008. Similarly, in 1990, only 20 companies (comprising 4 per cent)
on the Fortune Global 500 list were based in emerging economies, while
in 2008, 70 of them (14 per cent) were (http://www.stlouisfed.org/publi-
However, despite intensifying interest in MNCs based in developing
and emerging economies (Agtmael, 2007; Goldstein & Pusterla, 2010;
Berrill & Mannella, 2012; Buckley, 2009; Casanova, 2009; Chattopadhyay
et al., 2012; Pillania, 2009), these companies’ success has not been
attributed to their superior knowhow and managerial strategies as is
often the case when first-world MNCs are discussed. Instead, the global
competitive advantage of DE-MNCs has been commonly attributed to
cheap labour and despotic industrial relations in their home countries,
or to their ability to imitate their western competitors, rather than to
Can the Periphery Write Back? 35

their culturally or institutionally embedded best management prac-

tices. Accordingly, first-world firms have not been encouraged to imitate
DE-MNCs’ strategies, nor have they shown any interest in doing so.
My point of departure in this chapter is that with the growing impor-
tance of emerging economies in general, and of DE-MNCs in particular,
the traditional postcolonial core-periphery distinction itself should be
reconsidered and updated, as it is now intertwined with formal organisa-
tional divisions of labour or command hierarchies in ways that throw up
a great deal of interesting contradictions. From a postcolonial perspec-
tive, it is important to note that in the cases of DE-MNCs, the former
colonial ‘Other’ is now the manager in charge, and it is the ‘Other’s’
culture that is taken for granted in these MNCs’ headquarters. How,
then, are traditional centre-periphery relations played out in first world
subsidiaries of DE-MNCs? To what extent are DE-MNCs’ headquarters
affected by their historically marginalised position in the world system
when it comes to strategising their internationalisation? Should we treat
DE-MNCs as new empires that are boldly overturning the old centre-pe-
riphery division of labour? How do the different actors at the subsidiary/
foreign units conceptualise the headquarters’ policies in general, and
those that affect their personal lives in particular? In other words, does
the periphery write back in ways reminiscent of the old empires?
Due to the growing importance of the DE-MNCs and the challenges
they pose to scholars and managers, understanding how knowledge
flows from the global (ex-?) periphery to the centre would appear to be
crucial both for the development of better management theories as well
as for the shaping of mainstream and critical theories on the cross-na-
tional diffusion of management practices. However, research into these
flows is still in its infancy. The few studies carried out thus far have
tended to suggest that DE-MNCs largely avoid imposing their knowledge
and practices on their first-world units (Bartel-Radic, 2009.; Chang et al.,
2009, 2007). To account for this scarcity of research into the processes
of knowledge transfer from DE-MNCs’ headquarters to their subsidiaries
and the lack of relevant theorisation, this chapter develops the notion of
‘colonial/postcolonial imagination’. Despite the gradual change in the
centre-periphery economic division of labour and the undeniable success
of emerging economies and the multinationals that are based in them,
I argue here that firms’ headquarters, and the managers and workers in
their foreign units still tend to see the world through a traditional colo-
nialist lens. This lens, I maintain, affects both the internationalisation
policies of third-world-based MNCs as well as the inclination of foreign
units to accept policies exported by the headquarters.
36 Michal Frenkel

The colonial/postcolonial imagination

It was Frantz Fanon, in his The Wretched of the Earth (Fanon, 2005,
published in French in 1961), who first emphasised the importance of
imagination in the reproduction of colonial hierarchies and domination
and in the potential struggle against colonialism. Fanon himself never
defined the notion of imagination, nor did he use the phrases ‘post-
colonial imagination’ or ‘colonial imagination’. However, his call for
the colonised imagination to ‘roam outside the colonial order’ (p. 129)
and his claim that the inability of the colonised and the colonisers to
imagine a decolonised world was an important factor in preventing the
liberation of the colonised have inspired recent scholars of postcoloni-
alism, who themselves use the concept of imagination to refer to two
somewhat contradictory phenomena: (1) The ability to think outside
of the colonial order (Kwok, 2005; Prasad & Prasad, 2003); and (2) the
restrictions of one’s limited imagination that force one to take colonial
hierarchies and distinctions for granted.
In relation to the former, Pui-Lan Kwok (2005, p. 2) has defined the
postcolonial imagination as ‘a desire, a determination and a process of
disengagement from the whole colonial syndrome’. Following Stuart
Hall, Kwok argues that decolonisation involves the deconstruction of the
dominant western regime of knowledge by ‘examining the interdepend-
ence of the cultural terrain traversed by both colonizers and colonized,
as well as how the colonial systems of knowledge cast their impact long
after the colonizers are gone’. Seeing the development of a ‘postcolonial
imagination’ as the role of intellectuals, Kwok hopes to allow readers to
‘imagine that an alternative world and a different system of knowing
are possible’.
Developing the second understanding of the notion of postcolonial
imagination mentioned above, Kanu (2003) sees postcolonialism as the
after-effects of the colonial encounter, and is interested in how cultural
frameworks developed as part of the colonial world still shape and
restrict peoples’ abilities to imagine a different world and act upon this
imagination. Building on Popkewitz’s (2000) definition of imagination
as ‘how people come to know, understand and experience themselves as
members of a community’, Kanu argues that imagination functions to
form individuals into the seam of a collective narrative, and helps them
generate conceptions of personhood and identity (p. 68). Citing Rizvi
(2000), he claims that ‘imagination is the attempt to provide coherence
between ideas and action, to provide a basis for the content of rela-
tionships and the creation of categories with which to understand the
Can the Periphery Write Back? 37

world around us. What is imagined defines what we regard as normal’ (my
emphasis). We should add that in Rizvi’s formulation, imagination is
not an attribute possessed by a few endowed individuals or intellectuals,
but instead ‘denotes a collective sense of a group of people, a commu-
nity that begins to imagine and feel things together’ (Rizvi, 2000, p. 223
cited in Kanu, 2003).
Both conceptualisations of the postcolonial imagination – seeing
it as a desired ability to liberate oneself from the restrictions of the
‘colonial imagination’, or as the general failure to do so owing to the
cultural power of the colonial framework even after the colonisers are
gone – emphasise the fact that imagination does not necessarily reflect
an objective ‘reality’ of west-rest relations. In both cases, imagination
explains people’s action, or lack thereof.
In this chapter, I adopt Kanu’s working definition of the postcolonial
imagination and argue that while control over their western subsidi-
aries and other foreign units, together with their proven success, could
have allowed DE-MNCs to implement in their foreign units HR knowl-
edge and practices developed in their headquarters, the postcolonial
imagination shared by the MNCs’ headquarters, their home countries,
the foreign units’ managers and workers, and the units’ host countries
prevent the DE-MNCs from attempting to export their knowledge and
the units from accepting such knowhow in the few cases in which it
is circulated. Moving beyond the original definition of imagination,
whereby it is attributed to individuals, I argue that organisational and
state actors also share these conceptual frameworks and that they deter-
mine their own operations in the global sphere.
In what follows, I offer some preliminary thoughts about the ways in
which the postcolonial imagination places limitations on international
management mainstream scholarship, DE-MNCs’ managers, foreign
units and workers when considering the possibility of exporting and
importing non-western organisational practices.

The postcolonial imagination and the

limited study of DE-MNCs

The burgeoning literature about DE-MNCs’ rapid growth and cross-border

expansion has highlighted their competitiveness, their ‘strategic flexibility’
in adapting to new markets and shifts in political and economic power,
and even their processes of innovation and strategies in strengthening
their research and infrastructure (Agtmael, 2007; Berrill & Mannella, 2012;
Buckley, 2009; Casanova, 2009; Chattopadhyay et al., 2012; Goldstein &
38 Michal Frenkel

Pusterla, 2010; Pillania, 2009). However, while the entrance of first-world

MNCs into emerging and developing markets is often described in positive
terms, echoing the logic of the colonial ‘civilizing mission’ – according to
which it is the white man’s burden to introduce new ideas and appro-
priate modes of action in the uncivilised non-western world (Meyer, 2004;
Peng et al., 2008) – the entrance of DE-MNCs into developed economies is
often portrayed as a form of ‘exploration’, whereby the foreign firm is seen
as attempting to take advantage of the knowledge and tools developed in
the ‘west’ in order to further develop its own technologies and manage-
ment and marketing strategies (Wright et al., 2005). I argue that it is our
postcolonial imagination that shapes our understanding of DE-MNCs’
penetration into the developed world by determining the types of ques-
tion we pose when observing them and the methodologies we apply in
answering those questions.
This limited postcolonial imagination stems, first and foremost, from
the way management and organisation scholars in the global centre and
in the periphery conceptualise ‘knowledge’ and imagine the range of
variables that may potentially affect MNCs’ entrance into a specific loca-
tion and the transfer of such knowledge (see Alcadipani et al., 2012;
Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006).
The role of postcolonial hierarchies in shaping our conceptualisation
of legitimate and transfer-worthy knowledge has already drawn the
attention of students of postcolonialism focusing on centre to periphery
knowledge flows (Calás & Smricich, 1999; Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006;
Frenkel, 2008; Westwood, 2006). Studies in this tradition have high-
lighted the importance of colonial (west-rest, developed-developing)
hierarchies in shaping what we have come to perceive as the canon of
knowledge in different disciplines and areas of studies. They have also
demonstrated how systems of knowledge produced differently from
common western scientific forms and disseminated through networks
other than the common epistemic communities of the academic world
are often excluded from the canon, even if they are seen as valid and
are associated with successful solutions in the societies in which they
emerged. Postcolonial studies have thus recently made intensive efforts
to identify and document those forms of knowledge which, despite
their contributions to the betterment of individuals, communities and
economic enterprises, have been marginalised due to their association
with non-western cultures (Banerjee & Linstead, 2004; Kajembe, 1994;
Marsden & Wright, 1994; Posey & Balée, 1989). However, because they
are presented as forms of ‘indigenous knowledge’, these ideas, tech-
niques and forms of actions are often portrayed as more efficient and
Can the Periphery Write Back? 39

as better suited to the Indigenous people’s cultural, political and natural

environment. In other words, in their attempt to present this knowl-
edge as ‘indigenous’ and to highlight the uniqueness of the environ-
ment from which it emerged, and as part of their efforts to challenge
western claims as to the universality and cross-border applicability of its
own knowledge, students of non-western knowledge often contribute to
the reproduction of the binary opposition between universalist-western
and particularistic-Indigenous knowledge.
When turning their gaze to the emerging phenomenon of the
DE-MNCs and their affiliates in the developed world, it would seem
that scholars of international management are still trapped in the epis-
temological cage of the binary conceptualisation of universal versus
Indigenous knowledge, which in turn continues to shape the questions
they ask and the tools they apply in their studies of the phenomenon
(for a similar argument, see Alcadipani et al., 2012). In other words,
despite the successful cross-national dissemination of what was previ-
ously considered Indigenous knowledge in such fields as alternative
medicine (Chinese, herbal and others) or material arts, scholars rarely
examine the possibility of the transfer of periphery-based knowledge in
management and human relations.
Moreover, associating management with mythical western rationality
(Meyer & Rowan, 1977), students of international management often
seem to refuse to analyse what they perceive as ‘irrational’ managerial
and business practices, such as bribery and black-market transactions,
as the common and quite effective organisational practices that they
sometimes are (for a critical discussion of the notion of corruption and
the way it reproduces core-periphery hierarchies, see de Maria, 2008. In
refusing to study these practices as an integral part of business conduct
around the globe, scholars of management fail to account (in a system-
atic and theoretical way) for the often implicit and informal type of
management knowledge and skills required to run a business in a politi-
cally and economically unstable and less formally legalised environment
such as that characteristic of many developing economies, and nor do
they acknowledge the fact that implicit and informal knowledge can
also be taught and transferred across borders, and may in fact be seen as
giving firms and foreign units a competitive advantage. While bribery
and the black market are not unique to emerging and developing econo-
mies, international management scholars and supra-national organisa-
tions have often argued that these practices are more common in such
environments and may account for some firms’ competitive advantage
(see the World Bank’s business environment report).
40 Michal Frenkel

An excellent example of the constraints of the postcolonial imagina-

tion on students of MNCs in emerging and developing economies can
be found in a special issue published by the Journal of Management Studies
devoted to strategy research in emerging economies (Wright et al., 2005).
In their comprehensive review of the literature about MNCs in devel-
oping economies, the guest editors, Wright, Filatotchev, Hoskisson and
Peng, organised their discussion around three different strategies: firms
from developed economies entering developing countries; firms from
emerging economies entering other emerging economies; and firms from
emerging economies entering developed economies. In their discussion
of the first category, the authors and the studies they cite compare the
operations of foreign and local firms in developing economies. In line
with the postcolonial definition of knowledge, MNCs from developed
economies are presented as the carriers of a rational knowledge that
provides them with a legitimate competitive advantage, as long as the
‘fit’ between the western MNC and its local partner allows the latter
to implement the former’s best practices. Local firms’ familiarity with
the local political elite (called ‘networking’ in developed contexts, and
‘corruption’ elsewhere) and their understanding of informal modes of
conduct are not presented as forms of knowledge (Indigenous or other-
wise), but rather as unfair advantage. In refusing to theorise these forms
of managerial knowledge, students of international management both
reproduce the dichotomy of developed-knowable versus developing-
unknowledgeable while at the same time limiting our understanding of
the world they are trying to explain.
Another example of the ways in which the uneven conceptualisation
of knowledge and the unchallenged adoption of ‘western’ classifications
are shaping and restricting the questions that we might ask about the
cross-national transfer of knowledge from the periphery to the centre
can be found in one of the few articles that actually attempt to systemati-
cally study the phenomenon. Comparing the implementation of human
resource management (HRM) policies in local UK firms and UK-based
affiliates of Taiwanese MNCs, Chang et al. (2007) examine the extent
to which periphery-based MNCs influence their affiliates based in the
centre. However, in order to do so, they adopt Hofstede’s (1980) classi-
fication of cultures, a classification that tends to reflect western concep-
tualisations of culture and describes cultures and cultural difference
in essentialist and static terms that are insensitive to nuances as well
as to the cultural transformations that both the UK and Taiwan have
undergone in the era of globalisation (for a critique of Hofstede’s clas-
sification and its biases, see Kwek, 2003). In terms of the application of a
Can the Periphery Write Back? 41

postcolonial imagination, more important is the way in which Taiwanese

HR management practices are presented. In order to create a common
denominator and maybe appeal to their mostly first-world readers and
reviewers, Chang et al. (2007) present even those HR practices that are
unique to the Taiwanese context and that were developed to fit the local
institutional environment using terms and professional concepts taken
from the western/British vocabulary of management and industrial rela-
tions. Thus, for instance, ‘participatory management’ techniques are said
to be associated with Taiwanese HR management in Taiwan and in the
UK, with no reference to the different ways in which participation may
be conceptualised in the two societies and the extent to which the prac-
tices implemented are indeed similar. This research strategy blinds the
researchers to the different meanings that a similar practice may have in
two different social contexts, as well as to the fact that similar practices
appearing in both contexts do not necessarily reflect the MNC’s attempt
to implement a practice in its foreign affiliate, nor the British affiliate’s
readiness to accept its mother MNC’s mode of conduct. Moreover, the
authors actually limit the number of management policies they study
to those recognised and formalised in the UK context, rather than
taking into consideration the possible existence of ‘indigenous’ forms of
Taiwanese managerial knowledge which may have been transferred to
the UK affiliate. As a result, the article ends up camouflaging an impor-
tant aspect of the way in which the global postcolonial hierarchy may
still shape the cross-national diffusion of HR policies, even when the
MNC is located in what is still considered a peripheral country.
The discourse produced by IM scholars in their books, papers and public
presentations is important not only in shaping the research agenda for
the study of DE-MNCs and their operations in developing countries, but
also in shaping actors’ conceptualisation of reality and in offering justifi-
cations and rationalisations for actors’ decisions concerning efforts by the
headquarters to export their practices to foreign affiliates, and those affili-
ates’ openness to the introduction of such practices. Actors’ own postco-
lonial imagination tends to restrict their efforts to engage in this kind of
transfer. In what follows, I account for the role of the postcolonial imagi-
nation in shaping the conduct of the different social actors commonly
seen as participating in the transfer process within the MNC.

DE headquarters’ postcolonial imagination

Studies of the transfer of management practices within MNCs often

understand the process as a strategic move aimed at increasing the
42 Michal Frenkel

competitive advantage of the firm and its different foreign units (e.g., De
Cieri & Dowling, 2006; Taylor et al., 1996). In most cases, organisational
policies in general, and HRM practices in particular, are seen as contrib-
uting to the headquarters’ success and growth. Their transfer to the
MNC’s foreign units is said to improve their performance and increase
intra-firm homogeneity, which in turn is seen as contributing to better
communication between units, the smoother transfer of workers from
one unit to the other and a reduction in the transaction costs associated
with internationalisation (Taylor et al., 1996).
Scholars of strategic international HRM have identified three main
strategies that characterise MNCs’ efforts to design managerial practices
in their overseas units: exportive, adaptive and integrative (Taylor et al.,
1996). MNCs adopting the exportive strategy believe that their own strat-
egies are both the best and universal and that they can contribute to the
success of the overseas units regardless of their institutional and cultural
environment. The adaptive strategy takes the host country’s cultural
and institutional environment into consideration and allows for intra-
organisational managerial diversity such that each unit can adopt the
policies and practices that best fit its own environment. The integrative
approach goes back to the adoption of a single best practice, but it need
not necessarily be associated with the MNC’s home country; instead, it
is chosen based on merit alone, regardless of the context from which it
originated. While in theory all three strategies may be adopted by MNCs
regardless of whether they are based in traditionally central or peripheral
countries, studies suggest that this is hardly the case. Thus, for instance,
in their study of the country of origin effect, Edwards and Ferner (2002)
and others (Almond et al., 2005; Noorderhaven & Harzing, 2003) indi-
cate that US-based firms are more likely to adopt an exportive approach
than UK-based ones. Other studies suggest the European MNCs tend to
adopt an adaptive or integrative approach when operating in core coun-
tries and a more exportive approach when operating in developing and
emerging economies. Specifically, when operating in the US and Europe,
they allow local units to maintain their own managerial practices, which
are seen as befitting the local institutional environment, but in devel-
oping countries they seem to be more involved in shaping management
practices as part of their efforts to make local units more modern and
rational (Ferner et al., 2001). In the absence of empirical studies which
focus specifically on DE-MNCs, Thite et al. (2012) speculate that much like
their first-world counterparts, DE-MNCs would attempt to control their
DE-based foreign affiliates and abstain from doing that in first-world-
based ones. Yet, adhering to the postcolonial imagination imperative,
Can the Periphery Write Back? 43

Thite et al. attribute this abstention to ‘greater availability of managerial

skills in developed countries’. To complete the picture, Bae (2004) argues
that subsidiaries of Korean firms have no international strategy for the
adoption and establishment of HRM systems. Hence, HRM issues are left
to the Korean expatriate HRM managers’ discretion.
Taken together, these very preliminary findings suggest that MNCs
based in central countries commonly adhere to the postcolonial imagi-
nation, seeing western knowledge as more universally applicable than
other types of knowledge. While recognising the cultural and institu-
tional uniqueness of third-world or DE countries as well, core-based
MNCs often see it as their burden, responsibility or even necessity to
transform and modernise units in the periphery and salvage them from
the less productive and often corrupt environment in which they are
operating. The ability of overseas units to appear rational is often seen
as a prerequisite for long-term collaboration.
Thus, despite the changing reality in terms of the geopolitical areas
now associated with faster economic growth and business success, an
imaginary postcolonial map still seems to guide how core-based MNCs
determine their internationalisation strategies. What is more surprising,
however, is that this postcolonial imagination also directs DE-MNCs when
they seek to go overseas. While the evidence is still scarce and quite anec-
dotal, it seems to point in a single direction: when shaping and formu-
lating their HRM policies, many successful DE-MNCs are still influenced
by or claim to adopt western managerial practices, which, in line with
the integrative strategy, they often claim to have implemented in some
of their overseas units. In their overseas units in developing countries,
DE-MNCs rarely attempt to implement managerial policies that are asso-
ciated with their success in their home country. However, when building
units and subsidiaries in countries that they perceive as economically
and culturally inferior to their home country, DE-MNCs seem to adopt
the exportive approach and install their own managerial systems over-
seas. Thus, for instance, Samsung Engineering, one of the largest South
Korean multinationals, announced in 2009 that it was revising its entire
HRM policy and introducing a policy promoted by the US-based multi-
national consultancy Great Place to Work (GPTW) (Samsung Electronics,
2009). The newly introduced policies included some anti-discrimination,
diversity and work-family balance ones, some of them clearly foreign
to what are often presented as prominent aspects of Korean culture.
However, in an address to Samsung workers, the report presented these
revisions as part of the company’s modernising and rationalising efforts.
As I shall argue later on, part of this transformation in Samsung’s HRM
44 Michal Frenkel

policies should be attributed to the growing criticism the firm encoun-

tered in its US subsidiary, where local workers were unhappy with what
they identified as typically Korean parsimonious HRM policies.
In keeping with the strategic International Human Resource
Management (IHRM) literature, DE-MNCs’ conceptualisation of their
own competitive advantage and their ability to exploit this competi-
tive advantage in other countries impact on their decision to enter new

Workers’ imagination

Studies of the cross-national transfer of management practices within

MNCs rarely look at the role of the foreign affiliate’s employees in facili-
tating or blocking it (for an exception, see, e.g., Ailon-Souday & Kunda,
2003; Shimoni, 2011). Seen as confined by their own cultural heritage
and as incapable of dealing with advanced methods, workers from devel-
oping countries are often perceived as a passive obstacle to the introduc-
tion of new and advanced technologies and practices (Hofstede, 1980).
Ethnographic studies of third-world subsidiaries of first-world-based
multinationals present a complex picture. In some cases, studies docu-
ment workers’ (conscious or otherwise) active resistance to the invasion
of foreign firms and their managerial techniques (e.g., Ong, 1987). In
other cases, third-world workers view foreign HR policies as empowering
and emancipating (e.g., Minbaeva, 2005; Shaw, 2007), with MNCs seen
as powers of welcome progress and modernisation, replacing nepotism
with meritocracy and better integrating women and other minorities
into the labour market. The reaction of developed economies’ workers
towards their DE-MNCs’ management practices has yet to receive
proper research attention. However, a preliminary analysis of workers’
comments about their employers at Glassdoor.com – a website that offers
an inside look at jobs and companies – reveals a familiar pattern: while
local workers of US-based firms in developing and emerging economies
sometimes complain about a lack of cultural sensitivity among their
American managers, US workers often question their foreign managers’
professional capabilities and their ability to make rational decisions,
based on their view of their managers’ cultural background as inferior
to their own.
A good example can be found in a comment placed by a former
American manager at the Korean MNC Samsung:

Nothing works properly, systems are developed with no input from the
users so you are actually prevented from being efficient. All decisions
Can the Periphery Write Back? 45

are made in Korean only meetings, there is no work-life balance,

Korean managers are at best aloof, more often insulting. If you can
get a good idea in the hands of management credit is stolen.

HR problems at the site are automatically associated with the Korean

background of the firm and its managers rather than with the firm’s
or managers’ individual faults, and despite strong evidence suggesting
that Samsung’s methods are responsible for the firm’s global success,
workers do not seem to consider adopting them and learning from their
successful employers.
In another example, under the title ‘If you do not know how the
companies run in Asia, you can come to experience it’, a senior engineer
at Samsung’s facility in San Jose, CA, wrote:

Cons – Obedience to some unreasonable requests is the only way to

survive here. Your suggestions do not get any response most of time.
The top managers have some attitude of self-pride.
Advice to Senior Management – The top managers should be more
humble to listen to others. Dignity is the most serious stumbling
block for the managers especially for the Korea managers who in
general do not know how to manage the temper. (Original spelling,
Reviewed 31 May 2011)

Again, despite their proven success, Korean managers are expected to

be humble and learn from the Americans working for them rather than
vice versa.
Thus, while both the IM literature and centre-based MNCs do not ques-
tion the advantages associated with exposing DE workers and managers
to the ‘western’ management practices that are held responsible for the
MNC’s competitive advantage, workers in developed economies rarely
expect to learn and improve when exposed to similar practices devel-
oped in developing and emerging economies. Their postcolonial imagi-
nation, I argue, may be responsible for their narrow conceptualisation of
a possible learning curve and of their ability to accept the professional
authority of their foreign managers.

Foreign affiliates’ postcolonial imagination

Managers of foreign affiliates of multinational corporations are often

seen as critical actors in facilitating the implementation of organisational
ideas and practices promoted by the headquarters. Foreign affiliates’
workers, on the other hand, are usually overlooked in IM studies, and
46 Michal Frenkel

when they are mentioned, they are often seen as passive and irrational
actors who are limited in their understanding of the firm’s interests and
strategies, and managers of foreign subsidiaries and units – be they local
or foreign – are usually seen as rational actors who apply professional
judgement when choosing whether to implement a specific practice or
to adjust it to fit local conditions. While the complex position of local
and foreign managers of foreign units of DE-MNCs in first-world coun-
tries has not yet been studied systematically, existing work indicates
that their decisions regarding the implementation of managerial prac-
tices in their firms may be affected by their own postcolonial imagina-
tion and by their view of the ways in which their immediate local and
foreign environments might perceive them in light of their decisions to
adopt or reject a DE-MNC’s management style. Given prevalent stere-
otypes of the third world and its (lack of) management skills, the deci-
sion to adopt a managerial practice or technique associated with Korean,
Chinese, Indian or Brazilian management style may bear personal and
professional consequences for expat representatives of the headquarters’
home culture and for local managers working in its affiliates.
As mentioned earlier, professional management is closely associated
in the postcolonial imagination of management studies with ‘western’
culture. Managers trained outside the west are often seen as profession-
ally inferior and as bad at their jobs. An example of this common view is
found in the following quotation from an article by Shambaugh (2012)
about Chinese multinationals. Under the somewhat derogatory title ‘Are
China’s multinational corporations really multinational?’, Shambaugh
argues that ‘[t]he Achilles heel of Chinese multinationals is human
resources – particularly management. Multilingual and multicultural
managers are few and far between, and all assessments of Chinese corpo-
rations note this to be a fundamental weakness’.
To overcome this problem, Shambaugh suggests, Chinese managers
should be trained abroad or by foreigners. ‘As a result, Chinese students
are flooding into foreign MBA programs as well as business schools
in China. Distance-learning MBAs tailored to the Chinese market are
also taking off. But classroom training alone will not suffice because
there is no substitute for extensive international experience.’ Since their
experience in China cannot prepare Chinese managers for an interna-
tional career, Shambaugh argues that ‘[s]ome Chinese companies have
taken advantage of the global financial downturn by hiring (preferably
young) laid-off staff in New York, London, Hong Kong and elsewhere’.
Thus, while Chinese managers whose experience is limited to their
home country cannot be seen as adequate candidates for multinational
Can the Periphery Write Back? 47

management, young western managers with experience in New York or

London are inherently adequate, regardless of their actual international
experience. ‘Chinese companies and their management have displayed
an inability to escape their own national corporate culture and business
practices’, he further maintains, implicitly assuming that the inability
of western managers to escape their own national culture should not be
seen as an obstacle for these firms’ success.
If Shambaugh’s perspective is a common one among western manage-
ment experts and others in the world of MNCs (and the workers’
comments cited earlier suggest that it is), both third-world and western
managers of DE-MNCs may prefer to avoid implementing headquarters’
managerial practices in order to signal their professional competence.
It is worth noting that while third-world managers – who have often
grown up within the MNC and identify with its headquarters’ organisa-
tional culture and logic – sometimes apply their home country’s mana-
gerial practices by default, or are accused of applying them even when
trying to implement local practices, local managers face a different chal-
lenge. For many western managers working for DE-MNCs, the job is
a phase in a career which is likely to lead them back to working for
first-world-based MNCs in the future. Therefore, too close an association
with a management style that is seen as professionally inadequate may
harm their future career options. Disassociating themselves from the
DE-MNC’s management style may prove to be a wise career move and
an important aspect of their professional identity work. Such disassocia-
tion, it should be noted, often takes the form of a public demarcation of
the boundaries between the local subsidiary and the DE-MNC, which in
turn reproduces the image of the MNC’s managerial style as inadequate
and reinforces the postcolonial imagination that stakeholders of the
first-world unit may bring to mind when thinking about the DE-MNC’s

Concluding remarks

In his ‘Globalization North and South’ (2000), J.N. Pieterse points to

the ways in which the colonial heritage still shapes the over-simplistic
and stereotypical way north and south are portraying each other and
themselves. In their attempt to offer simple and generalisable cultural
codes in order to help multinationals and their different stakeholders
to navigate the complex world of cross-cultural management, interna-
tional management scholars have contributed a great deal to this styl-
ised exchange of stereotypes. In their encounters within and around
48 Michal Frenkel

MNCs, managers and workers in the north and the south experience
themselves and the ‘Other’ through the codes that have been developed
both in management studies and in public discourse, and that can be
traced back to the colonial era. The postcolonial imagination mediates
corporate reality for both ex-colonisers and the ex-colonised, leading
both parties to analyse each and every move of the other in cultural
terms and to associate every managerial decision and the workers’ reac-
tions to it to the other’s cultural heritage rather than to his/her interests,
individual personality or professional judgement.
The phenomenal prosperity of DE-MNCs and their growing direct
investment in the first world should have challenged these ready-made
underlying assumptions and stylised stereotypical views. After all, against
all odds and in contrast to stereotypical predictions, firms emerging from
the south have shown that they can sometimes play the free market
game of the north even better than the (northern) Indigenous people
(or firms) themselves. Surprisingly (or not), this fact has yet to transform
the ways in which north and south conceptualise themselves and each
other. While in other fields, such as cultural consumption (like food
and fashion) and body maintenance (medicine and diet), alternatives
from the developing world have gradually gained legitimacy and respect
(deluded, transformed and translated as they may have been), northern
business and management practices seem to have maintained their
exclusive prestige, even in the face of the unarguable success of firms
with other managerial styles. The large industry devoted to the export
of northern managerial ideas and practices to developing and emerging
countries – which includes transnational consultancy firms, interna-
tional business schools and aid agencies – as well as the close associa-
tion of management with western rationality, may comprise some of the
forces behind the continual rejection of the alternative managerial prac-
tices to have emerged in DE-MNCs and the reproduction of the strict
distinction between core and periphery in our collective imagination.
This strict divide, I argue, continues to be reproduced because most
stakeholders – international management scholars, DE-MNC headquar-
ters, managers at foreign units, workers and host countries – all seem to
adhere to a view of a world that no longer exists. As Fanon (2005) himself
predicted, sometimes our imagination is harder to transform than reality.
Nonetheless, the growing presence of DE-MNCs in first-world countries
and their striking success may force IM scholars, managers and workers
to change the way these firms’ managerial techniques are perceived and
study them for their own merit, regardless of the context in which they
have evolved.
Can the Periphery Write Back? 49

1. Because the theoretical distinctions between them are still under debate, in
this chapter I use the binary oppositions of west/rest, global north/south,
centre/periphery and first world/third world interchangeably.

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De-centring Management
and Organisation Studies: On
the Eccentricity of US-Based
Management and Organisation
Theory and Practice
Robert Westwood

Introduction: spatial politics

Centre-periphery relations are, as we made clear in the introduction, an

ideological construction; indeed, boundaries of all forms are a human
construction. The construction of boundaries has been a feature of
human organisation since the bounding of land and the construction of
the fence (Kotchemidova, 2012). The carving up and enclosure of land
was central to the machinations of the industrial revolution and to colo-
nisation. Beyond the appropriation and enclosure of land, a further geo-
political effect of colonialism was the inscription of ‘nation’ across the
globe. The nation-state emerged in tandem with the rise of capitalism
and imperialism and the demise of feudalism in Europe (Wallerstein,
1974, 1995). It was a social construction, an ‘imagined community’
(Anderson, 1991), displacing prior forms of structured collective rela-
tionships. The ideological construction and the myth of the nation-state
and nationhood was greatly facilitated by European nations placing
themselves at the centre of a new world formation and defining them-
selves ‘specifically in opposition to the difference which that “other”
represented’ (Ashcroft et al., 2000, p. 15). That ‘other’ was the rest of
the world outside the European centre that it engaged with in a coloni-
alist and imperialistic manner. Bhabha (1990) too has argued that colo-
nial expansion and the exploitation of foreign resources for European

54 Robert Westwood

markets helped forge the European nation-state. Thus, ‘European

nationalism was motivated by what Europe was doing in its far-flung
dominions. The “national idea”, in other words, flourished in the soil of
foreign conquest’ (Bhabha, 1990, p. 59).
The modern colonial era1 saw the economic, military and political
dominance of the colonial powers of Europe. European expansion
accelerated, facilitated by modern science (Petitjean et al., 1992; Rydell,
2001), and by trade that led to an emergent merchant capitalist class.
By the nineteenth century, European, and particularly British, imperi-
alism extended dominion of the European centre across much of the
globe fed by the new economic imperatives of industrialisation proc-
esses. A Eurocentric global trade and economic system developed that
constructed asymmetrical relationships between the European centre and
the rest of the world characterised by inferiorisation, dependency and
structural deficits in the periphery. The inferiorisation of the periphery
was reinforced by a cultural and intellectual hegemony, including the
centre’s ‘scientific’ theories and its epistemological and ontological
predilections. The Europeans self-defined as superior – economically,
intellectually and morally – leading to the kind of orientalising bina-
ries exposed by Said (1978). Having asserted an explanatory, definitional
and interpretive superiority, the centre imposed its worldview, ontology
and epistemology on the rest of the world and in so-doing diminished,
marginalised or erased those of others. A ‘Eurocentric diffusionist’ (Blaut,
1993, p. 1) conception developed. The Europeans, Blaut asserts, claim
history, are the ‘makers of history’ and the belief is that ‘Europe eter-
nally advances, progresses, modernises. The rest of the world advances
more sluggishly, or stagnates: it is “traditional society”. Therefore the
world has a permanent geographical centre and a permanent periphery:
an Inside and an Outside. Inside leads, Outside lags. Inside innovates,
Outside imitates’ (ibid.).
A spatial politics, then, was central to the colonial, and indeed the
decolonisation, projects, and remains present. In the post–World War
II period scholars began to reflect on the economic structure of the
world order. Salient was Prebisch’s (1950) analysis of the developmental
difficulties experienced in Latin America and the asymmetrical and
dependent relationships embodied therein. It was such reflections that
led to the development of World Systems Theory as well as to critiques
of development theories and models. A key reconsideration by this
time is that a critique of Eurocentrism requires extension to incorporate
an expansionary and neo-colonial United States. Indeed, for some the
United States is the new Empire (Hardt & Negri, 2001; Johnson, 2004;
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 55

Lens, 2003). Eurocentric superiority is supplanted or perhaps accompa-

nied by US exceptionalism (Noble, 2002).
The ‘Eurocentric diffusionist’ rationale that Blaut lambasts resonates
with arguments about the processes of industrialisation, development
and modernisation much in evidence in the 1950s and 1960s (e.g.,
Bendix, 1964; Lewis, 1955). Briefly put, the argument was that indus-
trialisation was necessary for economic development to occur and
that modernity was defined in terms of industrialisation-led economic
development. In other words, in order to develop and modernise the
countries of the non-developed or under-developed world needed to
industrialise. The centre presumptively constructed a convergence thesis
which maintained that to become developed and modern, the countries
of the periphery had to pursue the same path as the developed, First-
World countries. Such ‘logics’ were central to the emergence of formal
business, management and organisation studies in the United States.

The emergence and centring of management and

organisation studies

I have discussed the emergence of US-centred management and organi-

sation studies (MOS) within the context of the discourses around indus-
trialisation, development and modernisation previously (Westwood,
2006a; Westwood & Jack, 2008). At the forefront of these develop-
ments was the Inter-University Study of Labor Problems in Economic
Development (I-USLPED), a research consortium which produced influ-
ential outcomes through the 1950s and 1960s. The I-USLPED group
received funding from the Ford Foundation to examine labour and
management problems associated with industrialisation in a series of
multi-country comparative studies (Kaufman, 2005). In the context of
this chapter and of the development of US-based MOS and its rise to
global dominance, Harbison and Myers’s Management and the Industrial
World (1959) and Kerr and colleagues’ Industrialism and Industrial Man
(1960) are of most relevance. The former particularly so since a core argu-
ment is that a class of professional managers was necessary for industri-
alisation and economic development and the conditions under which
such an elite might emerge and what skills, capacities and practices
they needed to possess was specified. This is crucial since it represents
a primary case of the specification of management and organisation
theory and practice emanating from the United States which presents
itself as a standard that the rest of the world is advised to adopt.
56 Robert Westwood

Westwood and Jack (2008, p. 377) argue that these two foundational
texts establish three interrelated themes that have continued to reso-
nate in MOS and development thinking: ‘(1) an industrialization thesis
which assumes the quality of an imperative with significant teleological
overtones; (2) a convergence thesis; and (3) an inherent universalism
and ethnocentrism germane to both theses’. The texts are explicit with
respect to the first two:

Industrialization is an almost universal goal of modern nations. And

the industrialization process has its own set of imperatives: things
which all societies must do if they hope to conduct a successful
march to industrialism. This is what we call the logic of industrialism.
(Harbison and Myers, 1959, p. 117)

The convergence thesis asserts that the ‘logic of industrialisation’ takes

economies down a common path, and not just at the macro-economic
level, also at the level of technology, organisation, management and
employment relations. A corollary is that in order for a managerial cadre
to emerge, as it must, then management education – itself modelled on
the United States – becomes a necessity. This introduces a managerial
imperative, a ‘logic of management development’ (p. vii), to accompany
industrial and technological imperatives. It is this imperative and the
development of an increasingly large and complex institutional appa-
ratus that drives the progressive exportation of US management theory,
education and practice around the globe, something well documented
(Amdam, 1996; Engwall & Zamagni, 1998; Hedmo et al., 2005; Kipping
et al., 2004). The institutional apparatus surrounding MOS and manage-
ment education has helped secure its dominance and facilitate a form
of intellectual and cultural hegemony that has further marginalised or
displaced the knowledge systems of the periphery (Jack & Westwood,
The convergence-divergence debate has reappeared at various times
and in various guises over the years with persistent advocates of conver-
gence and universalism (e.g., Chan et al., 2004; Doz & Prahalad, 1991;
Dunphy, 1987; Hickson et al., 1974; Leavitt, 1983; Lubatkin et al., 1997;
Porter, 1996). In addition to insisting on the logic of industrialisation and
the management imperative, wider socio-political changes on the part
of the countries of the periphery toward the model of the industrialised,
democratic centre was also advocated. Such insistences were consistent
with the strategic geo-political motives that accompanied the interna-
tionalisation of US business and economic interests to counter-point
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 57

the spread of communism and socialism (Westwood & Jack, 2008). The
same is true of early enunciations of US managerialist discourse from
influential advocates such as Drucker who expressly related the values
of freedom, individuality and democracy to the development of busi-
ness and practice of management. Harbison and Myers (1959) similarly
drew on early Human Relations thinking concluding that worker moti-
vation occurred in the context of democratic leadership and a culture
of consent.
This initiates a binary that has been repeated through MOS’s history
wherein the centre’s democratic values of leadership are contrasted
with authoritarian, autocratic, paternalistic or even despotic leadership
claimed to be pervasive in the non-centre. Indeed, there is a more or
less explicit denigration of the non-centre from Harbison, Myers and
colleagues with assertions that ‘traditional’, patrimonial and ‘polit-
ical’ forms of leadership are incompatible with modernising manage-
ment. It was also argued that those who resisted industrialisation and
this form of development were ‘“static” minorities such as aristocrats,
landowners and “medicine men”’ (Kerr et al., 1960). Such denigrations
persist and the binary so constituted is resonant with Saidean orientalist
tropes (Westwood, 2001, 2006a). Inglehart (1990, 1997) and colleagues
(Inglehart & Welzel, 2005) have more recently made somewhat similar
arguments about the logic of industrialisation which is held to require
changes to socio-cultural and political values in fairly predictable and
patterned ways. As societies continue to develop into post-industrial
phases, there is a further socio-cultural shift, this time away from instru-
mental rationality and into a postmodern zeitgeist and towards indi-
vidual autonomy, gender equality, greater democracy and the secular. It
is another convergence model constructed in and through the particular
history and discourse of the centre. A similar argument can be found
in contemporary management research literature (e.g., Ralston et al.,
Central to the logic of industrialisation and the convergence thesis is
the insistence on universalism, something that has also persisted within
MOS (Kwek, 2003; Lubatkin et al., 1997; Mintzberg, 1973; Redding, 2005;
Salk & Brannen, 2000). Universalistic claims have been central to the
development and practice of MOS, explicit in earlier texts but persistent
less explicitly right through MOS’s history. A prevailing assumption
has been that whatever can be said about organisations, organisational
behaviour, management and business within the context of the United
States has relevance, applicability and significance in any other part of
the world. In this sense the knowledge claims of the centre have been,
58 Robert Westwood

and continue to be, totalising and invasive. Not only has universalism
been asserted or assumed, but US economic, business and management
models are positioned as a standard that needs to be adopted by others
elsewhere if they are to achieve the modernisation and development
it is assumed they crave. The centre stands as example and model,
offering universalistic solutions for others to emulate. But, as Jamieson
(1980) notes, these imperatives, whilst claiming universality, are in fact
highly parochial and ethnocentric expressions of American geo-polit-
ical self-interest; a manifestation of the values and discourse of post-war
American industrial capitalism. Current debates about globalisation
often trace a similar path. Assertions of inevitability and proposals of
a form of economic order and consumer capitalism that is specific to
the political and economic interests of the countries and organisation
of the centre, masquerades as an ineluctable and logical development.
Included are transnational bodies such as the IMF and the World Bank
that apply theories, models and solutions constructed in the centre as
if they are universally applicable (Lubatkin et al., 1997). This persistent
universalism is despite recurrent contestation and not infrequent accu-
sations of ethnocentrism. Such critiques have particularly emerged from
those scholars, even within the United States, within the field of ‘inter-
national business/management’ going back to early critiques from the
likes of Boyacigiller and Adler (1991), Adler (1986) and Hofstede (1980a),
Kanungo & Jaeger, 1990; through to more recent times (Brohman, 1995;
Clark et al. 1999; Ozbilgin, 2004). It is a message that has infrequently
been heeded by the mainstream.
It is noteworthy that when scholars of the periphery submit articles
dealing with their specific part of the world, let’s say a paper on human
resources practices in Sri Lanka, they are required to contextualise their
findings and assertions. In other words, the specificity of human resources
practices in Sri Lanka needs to be accounted for. Such is not the case for
work produced in the United States or other parts of the centre. A paper
presuming to explain aspects of human resource practices within the
United States is very rarely met with requests for contextualisation and
justification, and assertions and findings are allowed to stand without
qualification. By the time we get to abstractions into theory then the
contextual requirements seem to fall away completely and US manage-
ment theory is presented universalistically with few caveats about loca-
tion and context. This is troublesome for those from the periphery for
their work is not only required to be contextually located, but also theo-
retically located within the Western canon and literature. The difficul-
ties of writing and publishing from the periphery in MOS have been
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 59

articulated by Meriläinen et al. (2008). Theories, models and ideas of the

centre are accorded privilege and primacy whilst those of the periphery
are inevitably positioned in relation to those of the centre. It is rarely a
relationship of equals and barely ever is peripheral primacy or superi-
ority acceded to. More typically, notions from the periphery are in a
relation of supplementarity or deficiency. For example, Porter (1991)
has asserted the universality of his conception of strategy and made the
rather odd claim that Japanese companies have lacked strategy.
What is at issue here is the claim to and occupation of the centre by
those countries and their institutions of the North Atlantic. In relation to
MOS, the auto-location of centre has been gradually insinuated and stra-
tegically imposed as well as emerging ipso facto as the United States has
historically led the development of academic thinking about manage-
ment and organisation and constructed an institutional apparatus for
the promulgation of ideas and practices globally. Given the historical
and prevailing geo-politics of knowledge, the conditions for the emer-
gence of MOS and International Management, and the expansionary
and hegemonic influence of the United States and its Anglo-allies, it is
perhaps unsurprising that this should be so. However, we already have
intimations that such claims to centre, universality and standard are
constructions, indeed are impositions anchored to and driven by the
interests and exigencies of the centre.
What I want to show in the remainder of this chapter is that US
conceptions, theories and models cannot be taken as occupying the
centre on any grounds other than self-construction and assertion. They
cannot sensibly be considered as universal accounts that have meaning
and relevance in all other domains. They cannot even feasibly be taken
as the standard, exemplar or norm that others are put in relation to,
must aspire to or will converge towards. Rather, I want to assert that
the United States and its ideas and practices are actually local, distinct
and different from much of the world. Indeed, their position vis-à-vis
much of the rest of the world is somewhat eccentric rather than central.
I will so assert based on the centre’s own mainstream MOS literature,
particularly work in international and cross-cultural MOS that compares
the US/centre with others. Let me be very clear; in examining these,
often empirical, studies I am not in any way affirming them or accepting
their veracity. Nor am I endorsing how these studies conceptualise and
measure culture and cultural phenomena. What I am doing is showing
that even when we consider work from within the canon of the centre
that compares it with others, that work actually shows the United States
and its intellectual partners to be at odds with much of the rest of the
60 Robert Westwood

world, and certainly the periphery; that its own position is not at the
centre, but is rather off-centre, is eccentric. This needs to be put against
the persistent universalism of the centre’s management knowledge
discourse and practice, its auto-positioning as ‘standard’ or exemplar,
and its imperialistic promulgation around the globe.

Clustering of cultures

The notions of centre and periphery are expressly a spatialisation of

geo-political and economic relations. The spatialisation of relations of
difference and similarity between countries/cultures can be represented
through the statistical technique of cluster analysis, a tool much used in
international and cross-cultural MOS. In this section I examine a series
of studies from that field that deal with presumed differences in manage-
ment and work related values and attitudes across cultures or countries
and use cluster analysis. They presume to represent how cultures/coun-
tries are distally or proximately related in terms of value dimensions
as articulated in models/theories of culture difference. They date back
to the 1960s, but are ongoing. We will see a repeated pattern wherein
the United States most often clusters with other ‘Anglo’ or ‘English-
speaking’ cultures, often in proximity to other countries of the Global
North or centre, but distinct and different from much of the rest of the
world, including those in the periphery of the Global South.
I turn firstly to some classic studies and a series of cluster analyses
performed by early researchers in international and cross-cultural
management. A key source is the work of Ronen and Shenkar (Ronen,
1986; Ronen & Shenkar, 1985) in summarising and re-analysing eight
empirical studies on the effect of culture on various aspects of organi-
sational behaviour and how country/culture differences and similari-
ties were revealed through cluster analysis. As Javidan and House (2002,
p. 1) state: ‘A cultural cluster is a group of countries that share many
similarities ... The countries in a cluster are more like each other than
another country from outside the cluster. By focusing on clusters, we
can identify the extent, nature, and dynamics of cultural similarities and
differences across the Globe’. Each of the studies considered by Ronen
and Shenkar were major pieces of work and a platform for the growing
field of international and comparative management, and include the
hugely influential work of Hofstede (e.g., Hofstede, 1980a).
The analysis shows the US clusters most often with a small number
of other ‘Anglo’ cultures, but is differentiated from other cultures/coun-
tries – including sometimes others of the centre. For example, Haire
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 61

et al.’s (1966) study of employee work values and attitudes reveals a clear
cluster comprising just the United States and the United Kingdom. A
cluster that includes India, Chile and Argentina is most distant from
the ‘Anglo’ cluster, but it is also distinct from the clusters of Northern
European countries and Southern European countries as well as Japan.
A smallest space cluster analysis of data from Sirota and Greenwood’s
(1971) study of work-related attitudes shows another separated cluster
of mostly Anglo countries (United States, United Kingdom, Australia,
New Zealand, Canada and South Africa). This cluster is distinct from
other revealed clusters – ‘Nordic’, ‘Germanic’, ‘Latin American’ and
‘Latin European’. This mirrors the Hofstede (1980a) study where there
is an ‘Anglo’ cluster (United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand and South Africa), distinct from ‘Germanic’,
‘Nordic’, ‘Latin European’, ‘Latin American’, ‘Near Eastern’ and ‘Far
Eastern’ clusters. Ronen and Shenkar’s (1985) meta-analysis revealed
nine clusters: Anglo, Germanic, Near East, Nordic, Arab, Far Eastern,
Latin European, Latin American and Independent.
Hofstede’s work has been the most extensively cited and used model
of cross-cultural difference in MOS for three decades. It has been hugely
influential and continues to be made use of in research and business
training.2 I am not going to explore or critique Hofstede,3 but note
the same type of clustering structure. Hofstede (1983) provided one
representation of the clusters, plotting country scores on two of his
culture dimensions successively. In relation to the Power Distance-
Individualism dimensions there is a clear ‘Anglo’ cluster that includes
the United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada
and within the cluster the United States, Britain and Australia are the
closest having the highest Individualism scores. In a separate but proxi-
mate cluster sharing small power distance/high individualism scores are
a further nine4 countries, mostly Northern European countries of the
centre. There are twenty-two countries mostly from the periphery in
Asia and South America that cluster together in a large power distance/
high collectivism grouping. Sharing the same quadrant is a cluster of
a further ten countries, also mostly countries from the periphery or
semi-periphery. It is clear that the majority of countries/cultures in the
world are at some distance from the United States and an Anglo cluster.
Plotting Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance also reveals that
virtually all the developed countries of the centre are on one side of
a dividing line which positions them as weak uncertainty avoiding,5
all the other countries of the world are shown as strong uncertainty
avoiding, including all those in the periphery (exceptions noted). An
62 Robert Westwood

‘Anglo’ cluster of the United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and
New Zealand (although it does also include Norway and the Netherlands
with the United Kingdom in another cluster, but adjacent) is revealed in
the Low Power Distance, Weak Uncertainty Avoidance quadrant. Once
again the largest number of countries (twenty-eight), mostly countries
from Asia and Latin America, many from the periphery, are in a quite
different location within a Large Power Distance/Strong Uncertainty
Avoidance quadrant. There is a further Anglo cluster when Masculinity-
Femininity6 dimension scores are plotted with Uncertainty Avoidance.
This cluster has the United States, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa,
Canada, New Zealand and Ireland together – but does also include India
and the Philippines. The largest cluster is in the strong Uncertainty
Avoidance/Feminine quadrant and consists mainly of Latin European
and Latin American countries.
This highly influential work, like those that preceded it, reveals that
the ‘Anglo’ cultures of the centre form a distinct and separate cluster;
sometimes joined by cultures over which they exerted colonial domi-
nance. This cluster is shown to be quite different from the rest of the
world and frequently the majority of the world’s nations/cultures,
particularly those of the periphery, cluster together in a quite different,
sometimes a polar opposite, space.
The GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational Behaviour
Effectiveness) study was a large-scale, multi-centred research project
that included 61 countries (House et al., 2004). It generated data on
nine value/attitudinal dimensions (including versions of Hofstede’s):
power distance, uncertainty avoidance, gender egalitarianism, institu-
tional collectivism, in-group collectivism, future orientation, perform-
ance orientation, assertiveness and humane orientation. Initiated and
coordinated by House, the project had colleagues from all countries
involved (House et al., 2004). A cluster analysis revealed ten culture/
country clusters: Nordic, Latin European, Germanic, Eastern European,
Latin American, Sub-Saharan African, Arab/Middle Eastern, South East
Asian, Confucian and Anglo. The Anglo cluster included England,
Australia, South Africa (white sample), Canada, New Zealand, Ireland
and the United States.
There are many issues one could address in relation to this work that
is problematical, but to reiterate, my aim is to point to what mainstream
literature generated from the centre declares about cultural clusters
and what is then said on the basis of that. Using Multi-dimensional
Scaling Smallest Space Analysis (MDS-SSA) and Hierarchical Cluster
Analysis (HCA) a re-test of the GLOBE data for clusters was conducted
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 63

(Littrell, 2012). This affirms a distinct Anglo cluster consisting of the

United States, the United Kingdom, English-speaking Canada, Australia
and New Zealand. Ireland and South Africa (English-speaking sample)
sometimes cluster with this group, but not consistently, and Singapore
is often very proximate. A robust Nordic cluster is also proximate to the
Anglo cluster and there is a distinct Germanic cluster. There is a Latin
cluster that includes Italy, Spain and Portugal and Latin America (but
excludes France and French-speaking Switzerland). Importantly, this
Latin cluster is frequently ‘intermixed’ with or overlaps Sub-Saharan
Africa, the Middle East and the Asian countries gesturing to a meta-
cluster comprised of countries of the global south plus some parts of
Southern Europe. Another re-analysis of the GLOBE data (Brodbeck
et al., 2000) for 22 mainly European nations identified six clusters, but
also two meta-clusters: the Northern/Western European meta-cluster
(comprised of Anglo, Nordic and Germanic clusters) and a Southern/
Eastern Europe cluster (comprised of Latin European, ‘Arab (Near East)’,
and Central and Eastern European countries). Taken together these find-
ings suggest a north-south division and even a core-periphery divide.
Importantly, most of the world is not in the same space as the Anglo
Littrell’s (2012) re-analysis of Hofstede data (based on Hofstede et al.,
2010), including the original four dimensions plus the later added Long-
Term/Short-Term Orientation and an additional Indulgence-Restraint
dimension (Hofstede & Minkov, 2010), also shows an ‘Anglo’ cluster.
The MDS-SSA analysis of four, five or six dimensions shows variation,
but for four and five the cluster is clear.7 Of note though is that in the
four- to five-dimensional analysis there is a north-south patterning. On
the original four-dimensional analyses the Anglo cluster is proximate to
the Germanic Europe cluster and relatively close to the Nordic cluster.
Collectively, these are at a distance from most of the countries of the
global south and European south. There is an Asian cluster, but as Littrell
suggests, this, the Latin, Sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern coun-
tries, are ‘intermixed’ (in relative proximity, but not clustering). On the
five-dimensional analyses a similar north-south separation is shown.
Plotted in relative proximity are the Anglo, Northern Europe and Baltic
States clusters with Israel, Italy, Belgium and Hungary being proximate
outliers. At a distance from these northern countries, but in relative prox-
imity to each other are the countries of the global south and Southern
Europe – including North Asian and South Asian clusters, a Latin cluster
(South American and European) and in this instance an Eastern European
cluster (Russia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Romania). There
64 Robert Westwood

are other countries and regional areas from the global south in this space,
but not clustering (e.g., Morocco, Philippines, East and West Africa).
In addition to working with Hofstede, Minkov (2011) has also analysed
and further developed cultural dimensions related to Trompenaars
and Hampden-Turner’s work (1997), the GLOBE study (House et al.,
2004) and the World Values Survey (Inglehart, 1997; Norris and
Inglehart, 2009) deriving four cultural dimensions – exclusion versus
universalism, indulgence versus restraint/industry, monumentalism
versus flexumility/self-effacement and hypometopia versus prudence.
Cluster analyses reveal a similar story to other analyses (Littrell, 2012,
p. 25). Again there is a clear Anglo cluster as well as Middle Eastern and
Latin American clusters. However, and importantly, there ‘are indica-
tions of a west [including the USA] and north Europe cluster’ (ibid.), a
global northern countries cluster that is at a distance from all the other
countries, almost all of which are from the peripheralised global south
or from Southern Europe.
The circumplex nature of the Schwartz (2006) values model makes
for a degree of complexity. Indeed, Schwartz argues that he views
‘cultural dimensions as forming an integrated, non-orthogonal system’
in distinction from the independent dimensions assumed by Hofstede
or Inglehart’s orthogonal dimensions (p. 142). This notwithstanding,
Schwartz (1999, p. 37) does suggest ‘the existence of broad cultural
groupings of nations’ and these include an English-speaking cluster
that comprises the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and
the United Kingdom. The other groupings are the nations of Western
Europe, Eastern Europe, Far East, Latin America and Islamic nations. He
maintains that the ‘English-speaking nations tend to emphasise Mastery
and Affective Autonomy values at the expense of Conservatism and
Harmony values’ (p. 38). The Eastern Europe group is depicted as repre-
senting an obverse value structure. The Anglo cluster is proximate to
the Western European cluster and shares preferences for Autonomy and
Mastery in contrast to much of the rest of the world, the Far Eastern,
Islamic and the African countries – countries of the periphery – which
emphasise Conservatism/Embeddedness and Harmony.
The World Values Survey (WVS) (Inglehart, 1997; Inglehart & Welzel,
2005) includes 53 countries and has been subjected to cluster analysis
with ‘cultural maps’ produced (Inglehart & Welzel, 2010, 2005). A
cultural map plotting country scores in a two-dimensional space with the
‘survival-self expression’ dimension on the horizontal axis and the ‘tradi-
tional values – secular-rational values’ on the vertical axis is produced in
Inglehart and Welzel (2005). This reveals an ‘English-speaking’ cluster
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 65

(United Kingdom, United States, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Australia,

New Zealand and Canada) as well as Latin America, ‘Catholic Europe’,
‘Protestant Europe’, African, Islamic, South Asian, Orthodox (e.g., Russia,
Serbia, Ukraine) and Confucian clusters. If one were to draw a diagonal
line so as to bisect the plotted space running from the top of the vertical
axis (i.e., maximal secular-rational values) to the end of the horizontal
axis (i.e., maximal self-expression values), then we again approximate a
global north-global south divide: except part of the Confucian Cluster is
above that line (i.e., with the English and European countries). Indeed,
the bifurcation is more in terms of developed and under-developed/
developing, or we might even say core-periphery. This is reinforced by
the fact that of the Confucian cluster it is Japan and Hong Kong, more
part of the centre economically, that are above the line whilst China
and South Korea are below. It is worth noting that the United States,
whilst it is one of the highest scoring in terms of Self-Expression, has the
highest Traditional values score of those countries of the core or devel-
oped side of the dividing line; only the United States, Canada, Ireland
and Northern Ireland from the global north score higher on Traditional
values than Secular-Rational values. All the countries of the periphery
and the global south are in the space characterised by Traditional values
and Survival values.
What this review of mainstream research on the clustering of coun-
tries with respect to aspects of management and organisation shows is
that what is taken to be the centre is often not that at all, but rather
is a distinct and separated intellectual, socio-cultural, economic, polit-
ical and ideological location oftentimes quite distant and distinct from
much of the rest of the world.

Instructing the world about management and


What is at issue here is not simply these clustering structures, but what is
said about management and organisation in the light of them. This was
the project of Hofstede and others, to argue that aspects of management
and organisation behaviour exhibit difference as a function of cultural
context. Hofstede’s project, at least initially, was also to challenge the
universality and portability of US MOS theory and practice (Hofstede,
1980a, 1980b, 1983, 1987, 1996). Arguments for the impact of culture
have been applied across a wide spectrum of management behaviours
and practices from recruitment, to negotiation, to accounting, adver-
tising, consumer behaviour and structure, but as the title of Hofstede’s
66 Robert Westwood

(1980b) article suggests, the issues of leadership, motivation and organi-

sation have been very central. There is not the space here to explore all
these treatments and so I will be economical and focus for illustrative
purposes on leadership with some gesturing to other areas.
There is an enormous amount of material deploying Hofstede’s or
other cultural dimensions (e.g., House et al., 2004; Trompenaars &
Hampden-Turner, 1997) or simply discussing cultural differences and
then pursuing the supposed implications for various management and
organisational behaviours and practices. Given the prevailing geo-pol-
itics of knowledge, most commonly in such work the countries of the
centre – most often the United States – are put in comparison with one
or more cultures from the rest of the world. A common form that such
work exhibits is to undertake a comparative study of some aspect of
management or organisational behaviour – say leadership style – in the
United States and compare that with leadership style in another country
or countries – let’s say Malaysia and Indonesia. It is then typical to assert
cultural value positions supported by a cultural dimensions framework
(sometimes empirically derived, but often merely assumed based on past
work) and then to state differences and similarities in the manifestation
of leadership given the proposed cultural profile. Typically this entails
essentialising statements of the sort: ‘Leadership in the USA is participa-
tory and empowering’ whereas ‘Leadership in Malaysia is paternalistic
and somewhat autocratic.’ Such asserted differences are then explained
by reference to cultural dimensions such as ‘Power Distance’. There is a
plethora of research and publication of this ilk (e.g., Jung et al., 1995;
Ralston et al., 1992; Schmidt & Yeh, 1992; Yan & Hunt, 2005). It can
lead to some rather bizarre statements at times. For example, in a paper
by Lee and Lui (2012), it was asserted that ‘[t]he higher power distance
a culture has, the more powerful authority the executives and managers
have. These cultures can be found among South America, East Asia, and
South Asia, such as Mexico, South Korea, and India’. This repeats the
association of authoritarianism and autocracy with the countries of the
periphery I noted earlier.
Furthermore, and also in consequence of the geo-politics of knowl-
edge, it is typical that any such discussion is refracted through the theo-
ries of the centre. Thus, if the discussion is of the impact of culture on
leadership comparatively, the discussion will be framed by one theory of
leadership or the other developed in the centre. By way of illustration,
the transformational theory of leadership (Bass, 1985; Bass & Avolio,
1994) has risen to prominence in western literature. In recent years
there have been a number of studies that deploy this western developed
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 67

theory in comparative studies (e.g., Jung et al., 1995; Walumbwa et al.,

2007). Claims have been made for the universality of the transforma-
tional-transactional model and even of the transformational style of
leadership (Bass, 1997; Bass & Riggio, 2006; Den Hartog et al., 1999).
For instance, Bass (1997) posits seven things that ‘bolster’ a univer-
sality thesis. (1) Leadership itself is universal – although he admits vari-
ability. (2) There is evidence for a degree of heritability for leadership style
preferences. This sounds dubious in relation to any specific leadership
theory and he only cites one source in support. (3) Knowledge work will
dominate into the twenty-first century and transformational styles suit that
mode. The assumption of the dominance of knowledge work is already
an assumption of the centre; international divisions of labour establish
particular unequal structures in this regard. (4) Socially oriented transfor-
mational leaders engage in the moral uplifting of followers. This is a tautolo-
gous argument given how transformational leadership is defined. Bass
invokes ‘moral absolutes’ to bolster the argument – in other words he
makes unfounded assumptions of universality in one sphere to prop-up
a universality assertion in another. (5) The transformational-transactional
framework can be applied at the group/team and the total organisation levels –
he has developed instruments that do that. He then makes the rather odd
assertion that ‘[t]he paradigm can even be extended to the international
behaviour of nations’ (p. 131). This dubious argument is apparently
based on Henry Kissinger’s observation that international diplomacy
rests on either self-interest (which Bass equates with the transactional)
or moral principles (which he associates with the transformational).
This stretches the so-called paradigm beyond sensible boundaries. (6)
A form of the convergence thesis is proposed in which as managers/organisa-
tions are subject to global cultural and intellectual flows and as pragmatists,
they will adopt whatever works or is best practice. He rather gives the game
away when he declares that ‘[i]t may not be politically correct to say
so, but less developed cultures change as a consequence of the diffu-
sion of ideas and practices from more developed cultures’ (ibid.). This is
not an argument for universalism; it is an unreflexive comment on the
politics of knowledge masquerading as such and takes us back to the
discredited diffusionism that Blaut (1993) critiques. (7) That ‘the United
States provides important sources of communalities in the post-industrialized
world’ (ibid.). He points to the notion that English is the international
language of business and asserts that ‘[m]uch of American management
practices and management education have been adopted universally’
(ibid.). Apart from the claim of universality simply being objectively
false, there is again no reflection on the politics of knowledge, on the
68 Robert Westwood

assertions of uni-directionality, no acknowledgement of mutual influ-

ence, adaptation or hybridity, no comment on how far the argument
has moved from the assertion of the universality of a specific leadership
Bass goes on to cite Lonner’s (1980) claim for four forms of univer-
sality – simple, variform, functional and systematic, to which he adds a
fifth, ‘variform functional’. This leads to some semantic sophistry culmi-
nating in the claim that ‘[t]he model and the theory underlying it are
systematically universal, although they include variform and variform
functional universals’ (Bass, 1997, p. 132). Later Bass asserts that ‘what-
ever the country, when people think about leadership, their prototypes
and ideals are transformational’ (p. 135), although much of the evidence
is anecdotal or US-based. The presentation of ideals or prototypes may,
of course, bear no relation to actual practice and at best we have idealised
universals. We also get arguments of the type that I have noted earlier
wherein a position on one cultural dimension or another is presumed
to lead to inevitable behavioural consequences. Bass invokes Hofstede
and says that since ‘North American’ societies are ‘individualistic’ trans-
formational leaders will be expected to be participative whereas ‘in the
collectivist societies of Asia, more directiveness would be expected of its
transformational leaders’ (p. 136). The homogenisation of ‘Asia’ and the
essentialisms are notable.
In contrast to assertions of universality, a recent meta-analysis of
studies of transformational leadership (via the MLQ) in relation to either
Hofstede’s or Schwartz’s (1992, 2004) cultural value scores reported
that transformational style varied with culture (Leong & Fischer,
2011). Indeed, Leong and Fischer suggest that their analysis ‘dispels the
notion that transformational leadership is universal’ (p. 170). Others
have also suggested that culture impacts on preferences for leadership
style (e.g., Dorfman et al., 2004). In Dorfman et al. we also get asser-
tions that are typical of the type I am referring to: it is suggested, for
example, that aspects of transformational style, such as charisma, are
better suited to cultures that have small power distance, and by impli-
cation are unsuited to those with large power distance. The countries
with small power distance are almost exclusively those of the centre,
including the ‘Anglo Cluster’ and much of North West Europe. All the
countries of the periphery are considered to be large power distance
cultures as are the countries of Southern Europe. Indeed, small power
distance cultures are in the minority. Leong and Fischer’s (2011) meta-
analysis also showed a relationship between power distance and trans-
formational leadership in the same direction; that is, higher means for
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 69

transformational leadership were related to small power distance scores

whereas ‘[t]ransformational leadership scores are lower in societies
that emphasize power distance (sic)’ (p. 166). However, despite prior
arguments that leadership is defined in masculine ways and associated
with assertiveness, directiveness and domination (Lord et al., 1986;
Yukl, 2002), the meta-analysis did not reveal an association between
masculinity and transformational leadership; nor individualism and
transformational leadership. However, it did show a significant rela-
tionship between higher transformational leadership and higher
Mastery/lower Harmony and lower Hierarchy/higher Egalitarianism.
As Schwartz (2006, p. 141) has asserted, ’American culture tends to
emphasize mastery and affective autonomy and to give little emphasis
to harmony’. Leong and Fischer (2011) affirm their hypothesis that ‘[t]
ransformational leadership scores are higher in societies that empha-
size mastery’. In summary, it is perhaps unsurprising that a theory
of leadership developed within the United States is compatible with
US cultural preferences. However, although the United States shares
this value orientation with others of the Anglo cluster, much of the
periphery is characterised by values supporting embeddedness, hier-
archy and harmony with the implication that transformational leader-
ship has less ‘fit’ in such a cultural context. The point again, however,
is that the research from within the centre suggests that more of the world
adheres to the values of hierarchy/harmony/embeddedness than those
with a configuration that matches the United States and the Anglo
cluster putting in doubt the transformational model as a standard.
Western-dominated theory and research on leadership has repeatedly
emphasised inclusive, participatory and non-autocratic tendencies. In
earlier work this was often associated, sometimes explicitly, with the
presumed Western democratic and inclusive values and democratic
ideology. There were also arguments linking with modernity in the
sense that as people become more educated they expect to be included
and empowered and not subject to authoritarian dictat or even pater-
nalism. By the same token, in the research literature and commentary
it has been common to assert that the leadership inclinations in much
of the non-western world are characterised by tendencies towards auto-
cratic, authoritarian and non-inclusive, hierarchical modes, or at best
to paternalism. Given the above argument in relation to the fit with
ideology and modernity, there is often an implicit association between
this supposed reliance upon more autocratic/authoritarian modes in the
non-western world and its developmental lag, implying that the failure
to embrace democratic principles is linked to retarded development.
70 Robert Westwood

One can find repeated references to authoritarian or autocratic leader-

ship inclinations in relation to non-western contexts. The point here
though is about boundaries and demarcation. It is, of course, unsur-
prising that leadership theories developed in Western contexts reflect
and resonate with the prevailing values, ideologies, structures and prac-
tices therein. However, the antithetical, non-participative and non-
inclusive aspersions can be found being made in relation to virtually
every culture/country outside of the centre – in relation to Africa, Latin
America, the Middle East, Asia and East Asia, and particularly in relation
to the countries/cultures of the periphery. In other words, the Western-
centre with its democratic, inclusive, empowering leadership rhetoric
is in the minority; countries of the non-centre – on the West’s own
account – have contrary leadership preferences, but actually are in the
majority. Indeed, as House and Aditya (1997) state,

[A]lmost all of the prevailing theories of leadership and about 98% of

empirical evidence at hand are distinctly American in character: indi-
vidualistic rather than collectivistic, stressing follower responsibilities
rather than rights, assuming hedonism rather than commitment to
duty or altruistic motivation, assuming centrality of work and demo-
cratic value orientation and emphasizing assumptions of rationality
rather than asceticism, religion, or superstition. (p. 443)

One wonders how the United States or the United Kingdom would
respond to the articulation of theories of leadership based on these
opposites and on authoritarian tendencies and the promulgation and
imposition of such a model through all the paraphernalia of a knowl-
edge system comprised of a global publishing machine, educational
framework, various practice regimes, including consulting firms, and
research dogma? In other words how palatable would a reversed episte-
mological imperialism be?
The same dynamics I have just explored with respect to leadership
can be witnessed in relation to a panoply of other areas of manage-
ment theory and practice. For example, the significance of relation-
ships to work and business practices is an obvious area. Again, one can
find persistent references in the western literature to the reliance on
personalistic relationships for work and business practice in cultures of
the non-centre. Personalism is held to be pervasive in all manner of
practices from employment and recruitment, through to leader-follower
exchanges, organisational commitment, business negotiations, succes-
sion planning, strategic information gathering, business partnering and
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 71

so on. Indeed, in relation to the former one often encounters moral

opprobrium directed at the reliance on personalism in employment
matters with western writers often invoking nepotism as a negative
attribution. The organisational/business world beyond the centre is
deemed by theorists and commentators of the centre to be overly reliant
upon solidaristic personalism. The counterpoint to this is, of course, the
impersonal rationalism first expounded by Weber and which is now
taken as axiomatic and as a standard, or at least an ideal. The link to
Weber is significant, not only given his foundational place in western
organisation theory, but also because of his cross-cultural comparisons –
particularly with India and China – which initiated and entrenched
these binaries. Once more the key issue here is that it is the west’s own
literature that provides these constructions, including auto-construc-
tions that contrast the rationalistic impersonalism of the centre with the
‘non-rational’ personalism of the rest of the world. For indeed, as I have
noted, one can find references to the reliance on personalism persist-
ently made in relation to Latin (even European) American cultures,
African nations, the Middle East, Asia and East Asia. Just to take one
example, Bass (1997, p. 137) suggests that in India subordinates have a
preference for a personal relationship with a leader (boss) rather than a
contractual one. The literature of the centre creates these constructions
without any apparent reflection on the fact that for most of the world
personalism is vital, viable and legitimate, it is the cultures of the centre
with their insistence on arid impersonalism that are in the minority.
One could go on. For example, with respect to motivation theory and
application I have argued elsewhere (Westwood, 2006b) that western
motivation theory is grounded in the specificities of the conditions of
its production, reflecting the values, ideologies and practical exigen-
cies that prevail in the home of motivation theory, the United States.
Motivation theory and practice tends to emphasise individualism,
achievement orientation, and a rational-calculative and decontex-
tualised orientation. At one level this view of motivation is manage-
rialist and surfaced as part of management in an attempt to explain,
predict and thereby control appropriate motivation in order to enhance
performance. The movement from theory to practice, from explanation
to control, led to a machinery of motivation for managers to deploy
under the aegis of performativity. It trades exclusively in positivity and
fails to confront the negativity of motivation – based on fear, anxiety,
shame and other factors. In my previous work I have contrasted this
rather slanted take on motivation with a view of motivation that is
more socially oriented, less individualistic, properly contextualised
72 Robert Westwood

and which has a place for a negativity of motivation and for motiva-
tion based in a sense of obligation – a deontological form of motiva-
tion. Once more it is the presumptive dominance of the centre and the
promulgation of a truncated view of motivation that is at issue. It is a
view of motivation that really only fits within the United States and
a few other cultures of the centre. For much of the world, including
the countries of the periphery, a more relational, social, contextualised
view of motivation, one more rooted in social obligation is more reso-
nant and awaits a fuller explication.


In this chapter I have essentially argued that the auto-location of Anglo-

American MOS knowledge as in the centre and as serving as model
and standard is untenable other than through its self-acclamation if
one examines its own empirics. A close reading of cross-cultural and
comparative studies using various forms of cluster analysis reveals the
following: (1) That there is a clear Anglo cluster that typically includes
the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New
Zealand, Ireland as well as sometimes some former colonies where the
‘Anglo’ imprint has been penetrative. (2) That this cluster is typically
proximate to other Western European countries, but distant from most
of the countries of the periphery. (3) At times countries/cultures align
in what approximates to a global north-global south bifurcation. (4) A
significant majority of countries/cultures of the world are proximate
on these analyses and exhibit some commonality. (5) It is the non-
centre that has related, dominant clusters of work-related values and
attitudes and presumably conceptualisations of and practices related to
management and organisation and these are at odds with the minority
position represented by the Anglo cluster. (6) The Anglo cluster in this
sense does not occupy the centre, but rather a somewhat eccentric loca-
tion, a minority position. We can suggest that most of the world does
not do business, management and organisation in the way that the
Anglo cluster does. Or perhaps we should say that most of the world
would have culturally, historically and socially informed inclinations
to do these practices other than in the Anglo way if there was not
such a skewed geo-politics of knowledge, there was not such pervasive
epistemic imperialism and they were not subject to a bombardment
of the theories, research and practices that reflect the way the Anglo
minority does business, organisation and management. I am encour-
aged in this view by Hofstede’s (1993, p. 83) observation that ‘in a
De-centring Management and Organisation Studies 73

Global perspective, US management theories contain a number of idio-

syncrasies not necessarily shared by management elsewhere’. Hofstede
only identifies three such idiosyncrasies (a stress on market processes, a
stress on the individual and a focus on managers rather than workers),
but I maintain that the ‘idiosyncrasies’ of US or Anglo theories and
ideas are more radical than that and cover a wide spectrum of issues in
business, organisation and management. Indeed, I suggest that there
are across-the-board differences that render US/Anglo approaches as
de-centred; as eccentric.
If we in MOS are serious about considering ideas, conceptualisations
and practices about business, organisation and management on a global
scale (something that the US Academy of Management, for example
affirms in its mission statements) and in a democratic fashion, then it
is clear that we ought to be giving more space to and hearing the voice
of the majority in the periphery. It is not sensible to continue to have a
minority position promulgated and put forward as a model or standard
for the majority. It is undemocratic and self-defeating for a minority
position to continue to export its ideas, methods and practices about
business, organisation and management onto the majority. This is only
justifiable in a bankrupt politics of knowledge that engages in epistemic
imperialism, engenders inequality, asymmetry and dependency and
which perpetuates the conditions of postcoloniality.

1. We need to be mindful of other colonial empires that preceded that of the
Western European nations from the fifteenth century on.
2. A search of Proquest (the search was of ProQuest using ‘Hofstede’ as the search
term with scholarly and peer-reviewed options selected. The period was ‘the
last 12 months’ from June 2013) for just the last year on ‘Hofstede’ revealed 24
papers: 18 empirical studies using Hofstede scales and dimensions in part or in
full, 2 proposed empirical studies, 2 literature reviews of empirical work using
Hofstede, 1 theoretical paper and 1 prescriptive paper advocating the value of
the Hofstede framework.
3. For sound critiques, see Ailon (2008) and McSweeney (2002) .
4. The original study, the results of which are being drawn on here, included
data from 50 countries and 3 ‘regions’ – Arab countries, East Africa and West
Africa. There have been additions and higher levels of specificity since.
5. Jamaica and Costa Rica are exceptions and Argentina is on the weak UA side,
but only marginally.
6. I note that the label has been changed, but this is the labelling from the source
I am referring to.
7. Including the sixth dimension results in some overlapping with parts of the
‘Latin’ cluster.
74 Robert Westwood

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Recontextualising the New
Institutional Conception of the
State to the Turkish Case
Şükrü Özen


The centre of global management knowledge, that is, the North Atlantic
countries, usually generates context-specific knowledge which aims at
understanding local phenomena with inductive research, and, therefore,
may not involve explicit contextualisation because the context is taken
for granted by the researcher (Tsui, 2004, p. 498). Through the mecha-
nisms of intellectual imperialism and academic dependency (Alatas, 2000;
Alatas, 2003; Altbach, 1987; Selvaratnam, 1988), scholars in peripheral
and semi-peripheral countries generally employ theories developed by the
centre in this way in investigating organisational phenomena in their own
contexts without recontextualising them (Kipping et al., 2009). The result
is the generation of knowledge that neither helps understanding organ-
isational facts embedded within the native contexts nor contributes to
the conceptual development of global organisational knowledge. What is
needed, according to Tsui (2004), is more context-specific, or indigenous,
research that involves the highest level of contextualisation by going
beyond the bounds of existing theories. However, this does not mean that
management scholars outside the central countries should close their
minds to genuine knowledge from any part of the world. Alatas (2000,
p. 27) suggests that scholars at the periphery should assimilate as much
as possible from all sources, from all parts of the world, but they need to
do this with an independent critical spirit. It is also suggested that indig-
enous research may begin with an existing model or constructs; however
they should also strive not to be bound by a priori conceptual frameworks
(Tsui, 2004, p. 501). This requires a critical evaluation, or recontextualisa-
tion, of organisation theories developed at the centre before using them
to understand local phenomena at the periphery.

80 Şükrü Özen

In this regard, new institutional theory (NIT) seems to be one of the

best candidates to recontextualise in different national contexts because
an emerging institutional literature (for instance, Özen & Özen, 2009;
Özen & Akkemik, 2012) has provided some indications that certain
assumptions behind the arguments of NIT, regarding institutionalisa-
tion, isomorphism and institutional change processes, may not hold for
the peripheral context. For example, examining institutional change in
the Turkish gold-mining field, Özen and Özen (2009) concluded that
the conceptualisation of the state as an arms-length stabilising actor,
commonly held within US-based institutional studies, does not work
in the Turkish case. Similarly, recent studies have shown that the state
plays a dominant role in shaping organisational behaviours in peripheral
and semi-peripheral contexts, much more than US-based studies have
reflected (Suhomlinova, 2007; Child et al., 2007; Kipping et al., 2009;
Krücken, 2007). Clegg (2010) also argues that North-American institu-
tional theory has neglected the power of the state in its institutional
accounts by preoccupying itself with normative and mimetic isomor-
phism mechanisms.
It is not surprising that this literature commonly considers the role of
the state in institutional processes as the problematic space where empir-
ical findings from the periphery frequently contradict the assumptions
of North-American institutional theory. This is because institutional
processes are embedded within the political organisation of a society,
or polity, which involves the governance of state-society relationships
(Jepperson & Meyer, 1991). Since modern societies have different poli-
ties that vary with respect to state-society relationships, such as liberal,
statist, segmental and corporatist polities, the involvement of the state
with institutional processes is expected to vary (Hamilton & Biggart,
1988; Jepperson and Meyer, 1991; Shenhav, 1995; Dobbin, 1994). For
instance, the state within a liberal polity, usually depicted as an instru-
ment for the expression of societal interests and choices, is expected
to be a regulator distant to organisational fields, whereas the state in
a statist polity, seen generally as the dominant actor articulating the
general will of the society, is expected to be involved directly with the
formation of fields (Jepperson and Meyer, 1991).
Except for the above studies, NIT research has largely neglected how
different polities embrace different institutional processes. It has usually
focused on the Anglo-American countries where a liberal polity has
prevailed (Tempel & Walgenbach, 2007). Due to the preoccupation with
liberal polities, NIT has a biased view concerning the conceptualisation
Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception 81

of the role of the state in institutional processes (Özen & Akkemik,

2012; Özen & Özen, 2009). We maintain that, given the fact that the
polity characteristics differ across countries, the theory is not capable
of explaining organisational realities in those countries within which
the polity characteristics differ from a liberal polity. Thus, if NIT is to
be utilised to understand the institutional processes within different
polities, the liberal polity assumptions underlying its main arguments
need to be deconstructed, and then recontextualised in the light of the
differing polity characteristics of the country in focus. In this chapter,
I attempt to do this by focusing on the Turkish case, where the statist
polity has prevailed, despite the recent liberalisation policies. The main
contribution of the present chapter is to make sense of the findings of
recent institutional studies within Turkey in relation to recontextual-
ising NIT, and more importantly, to explore new research issues that can
be studied from an NIT perspective with the context of a statist polity.

Polity assumptions in new institutional theory

Although there has not been an explicit claim in the new institutionalism
literature that its assumptions, constructs and models have universal
applicability, it has also been the case that there has been little reflec-
tion on the context-specificity of theories about US or North-American
polities. In contrast, its focus on such supposedly universal social and
political processes as modernisation and rationalisation generates a
false impression that its arguments would be valid for every context in
which these processes have been experienced. However, the new insti-
tutional studies have implicitly invoked liberal polity assumptions to
underpin its main arguments. These assumptions are apparent and can
be explored in both theoretical and empirical studies in the new institu-
tional literature.
According to the classics of NIT (Meyer & Rowan, 1977; DiMaggio
& Powell, 1991), the state is a rationalising and homogenising actor
affecting the emergence and diffusion of formal organising in order to
standardise and control social units. The state, together with the profes-
sions, is ‘the great rationalizer’ of modern nation-states (DiMaggio &
Powell, 1991, p. 64). The state and the professions ‘construct and legiti-
mate organizational goals, standardize and distribute resources (tax laws,
monetary policy, support for the banking system), and develop and
maintain systems of bureaucratic control (personnel policy and labor
law)’ and create the corporate form (Powell, 1991, p. 188).
82 Şükrü Özen

This conceptualisation of the state presumes that the state is able to

set the conditions that shape organisational structures and practices. The
institutional empirical studies in the United States have also reflected the
role of the state in a similar way and purport to show its direct effect.
In one of the earliest studies, Rowan (1982) argued that those admin-
istrative structures in the district schools that had been supported
consistently by the state and professional organisations were more wide-
spread and persistent. Similarly, DiMaggio (1983) pointed out that the
federal government’s policy led to isomorphism among art museums by
providing funds for the exhibition-oriented museum model. The federal
government also contributed to the formation and diffusion of formal
personnel regimes among organisations for the purpose of increasing
labour efficiency (Baron et al., 1986; Dobbin et al., 1993). Furthermore,
other studies emphasised that the government arranged corporate
mergers (Stears & Allan, 1996), shaped competitive behaviour in the rail-
roads industry (Dobbin & Dowd, 1997), and enforced the emergence of
new organisational forms in the health sector (Scott et al., 2000). We
argue that these studies have commonly represented the state as the actor
who, either coercively or normatively, leads organisations to adopt new
forms and practices that are thought to be more effective and efficient.
The state takes the necessary measures in a consistent way that enhances
social control through instrumental rationality. Thus, the new institu-
tional studies generally conceptualise the state as the actor that is able
to design and enforce the rules of the game, and the legitimate organi-
sational behaviours by articulating the economic and political ideologies
dominant in the society (Fligstein, 1990, p. 296).
Another characteristic of the state concept in NIT is related to its posi-
tion in organisational fields. New institutional studies have generally
considered the state as an actor external to organisational fields. Inspired
by the US institutional environment, Fligstein (1991, p. 314) argues that
even though the state is not a direct participant in the field, it can set the
rules of the game for any given organisational field. He also argues that
‘[i]t can mediate among organizations in the field and attempt to act in
the interests of all organizations in order to stabilize the fields’ (p. 314;
italics added). However, this does not mean that the state is absolutely
more powerful than the other actors in the field. For instance, in the
higher education field in the United States, Brint and Karabel (1991) eval-
uated the role of the state as indirect and ranked the power of the state
in third place after the education organisations and companies in the
field. Fligstein (1990) also found that the diffusion of the multidivisional
Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception 83

structure among large US corporations was the indirect consequence

of the laws enacted by the state in order to construct a more competi-
tive market system. Hoffman (1999) also reported that the institutional
change in environmentalism in the United States was a product of the
interactions between many actors such as NGOs, activists, companies,
and the state with its judicial, legislative and executive bodies. Thus, the
state is not the actor that determines the fields, but one of the influential
Finally, new institutional studies have generally seen the state as the
source of planned stability and change. As mentioned earlier, the state
provides certainty by setting the rules of the game (Fligstein, 1991,
p. 314). On the other hand, it is also a reformer that changes the rules of
the game according to political, economic and social changes (Strang and
Sine, 2002). The state can sometimes create shocks and cause unexpected
consequences (Fligstein, 1991). However, such changes and uncertainties
do not emanate from arbitrary actions by the state or disorder: they are
rather the consequences of planned and managed governmental policies
required by new conditions or of conflicting practices of governmental
bodies within the complex structure of the state (Powell, 1991, p. 196).
For instance, Schneiberg (2007) examined the infrastructure field in the
United States, and concluded that the important source of change in this
field was the different applications of policy in different states.
We can summarise by suggesting that institutional studies conceptu-
alise the state as follows: (1) the state is able to set and enforce the rules
of the game in a manner that is coherent with the dominant ideologies
in a given society; (2) it is external to the fields and the mediator between
actors with conflicting interests; and (3) it is the source of planned
stability and change in fields. These characteristics largely represent the
state in the liberal polity where the role of the state is limited in forming
the interests and choices of social groups; it is rather an instrument of
expression for societal interests, and the state and society are intertwined
(Jepperson & Meyer, 1991, p. 216). It resembles ‘the arm’s length state’
in the liberal polity that prefers to establish formal rules of the game
without intervening directly into market mechanisms (Whitley, 2005,
p. 196). The state is expected to maintain stability by articulating the
demands of various social groups from which it is equally distant.
Drawing upon these conclusions, I do not argue that US-based insti-
tutional studies have adopted this conception of the state because
they just reflect the US polity in practice. The case is more compli-
cated. For instance, contrary to the mediator state assumption earlier,
84 Şükrü Özen

critical studies on the US polity have long argued that the people at
the pinnacles of political, economic and military institutions, and inter-
organisational networks have dominated the US political economy
(Benson, 1975; Mills, 1959; Zeitlin, 1974). Therefore, it may be naive
to believe that the US government is a mere neutral arbitrator between
the social classes, although the US polity has always been concep-
tualised as a typical liberal polity (for instance, Jepperson & Meyer,
1991). NIT has long been criticised for neglecting the power structure
in society. For instance, Perrow (1986) and Hirsch (1997) are critical
of NIT for neglecting how institutions are shaped by the power elites,
and for being persistently indifferent to the strong capacity of large and
powerful organisations to influence governmental policies. To investi-
gate why NIT neglects power structures is beyond the scope of this study.
However, what immediately comes to mind as one of the reasons for this
neglect is the institutional structure that has conditioned the production
of management knowledge. First, organisation theories have generally
been produced within business administration departments that have
typically been dependent upon funds provided by the powerful organi-
sations that have a stake in maintaining the existing system. Therefore,
this dependence may have blocked the generation of knowledge critical
of the existing system. Second, the hegemony of liberal ideology and the
structural-functionalist paradigm in US organisational scholarship (see
Üsdiken & Pasadeos, 1995) may have conditioned scholars’ conceptu-
alisations of state in a liberal way, even if the reality may not match this
conceptualisation in some respects.
What is more important for the present chapter is, in fact, the conse-
quences of, rather than the reasons for, the current polity bias in NIT.
Western theoretical models are too frequently taken for granted by
scholars in the periphery without independent critical spirit, and applied
to their native context (Alatas, 2003), although there have been a few
instances of resistance (see Srinivas, 2009). This academic dependency
has, among other things, resulted in a displacement of attention from
the issues that should be of vital concern to the countries of the periphery
(Alatas, 2000). In other words, since the scholars at the periphery look
at their reality through lenses borrowed from the North Atlantic centre,
they may conceive local facts in a partial, distorted or irrelevant way.
To give an example for new institutional theory, which is the focus of
this chapter, taking for granted the polity assumptions implicit in NIT, a
scholar from the periphery may irrelevantly preoccupy themselves with
such topics as conformity, isomorphism and stable institutionalisation
Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception 85

although there may be excessive decoupling, diversity and persistent

instability that may emanate from the polity characteristics differing
from the liberal polity.
Institutional research on different polities, particularly statist polity,
has usually concluded with the results constituting a challenge to the
role of the state largely assumed by US-based institutional studies.
Contrasting with a liberal polity, in statist polities such as France until
the 1980s, China, and South Korea, the state exists ‘as both the model
of organizing rationality and the location for the articulation of the
general will of the society’s actors’ (Jepperson & Meyer, 1991, p. 216). For
instance, in South Korea the state played a crucial role in the creation of
entrepreneurs and business organisations as well as organisational fields
(Hamilton & Biggart, 1988). As compared to England and the United
States, the government in France played a more active role in organ-
ising the railroad industry (Dobbin, 1994). The study by Suhomlinova
(2007) on the oil industry of Russia also implies that the government
in a statist system is not a secondary or indirect element in the busi-
ness environment, but is an active player that very much forms and
shapes the institutional landscape. Similarly, Child et al. (2007) found
that in the formation of an environmental protection system as a field in
China, the state and its agencies dominated the process as the principal
institutional entrepreneur, in contrast with the evolution of the same
field in the United States (see Hoffman, 1999).
These studies imply that NIT developed at the centre needs to be criti-
cally evaluated in terms of its underlying assumptions through a consid-
eration of the political, economic and cultural contexts of the country
where it is utilised. Furthermore, and perhaps more crucially, the institu-
tional processes ignored by NIT in these different polity contexts should
be revealed. We need to offer one caveat before discussing the validity
of the state conception of NIT for the Turkish context; that is, although
categorisations such as the statist or liberal polities are useful concep-
tual tools, they should be regarded as ideal types and as such no one
country holds all characteristics of one specific polity case. The situation
is more complex and blurred as indicated by the examples from the
US polity noted earlier. Similarly, Turkey, despite its resemblance to the
statist polity, has been changing toward a more liberal system, and has
its own idiosyncrasies due to the conflicting nature of this transition.
Therefore, I use the statist category for the sake of convenience to illus-
trate the Turkish case, rather than as a fixed and generalisable explana-
tory category.
86 Şükrü Özen

Examining NIT polity assumptions in terms of the

Turkish polity

Studies on the Turkish polity, despite their differences, have commonly

emphasised that the Turkish polity has always been state-centred despite
the liberalisation policies implemented since the early 1980s (Berkman
& Özen, 2007; Özen & Akkemik, 2012; Buğra, 1994; Heper, 1991).
The state in Turkey has always been hostile towards the demands of
interest groups, and has traditionally had a top-down governing style
(Heper, 1991; Özen and Özen, 2009). This has been a common char-
acteristic of the statist polities where the state and society are clearly
separated, and society is seen as ‘irrational and chaotic in itself’ and
limiting the state (Jepperson and Meyer, 1991, p. 216). Furthermore,
the liberalisation experience in Turkey did not lead to a society-cen-
tred polity; instead it led to a party-centred polity where paternalistic
relations with social subgroups have remained (Heper, 1991, p. 20).
Similarly, the particularistic and rent-creating relations between the
state and big business have always been prevalent in Turkey (Demir,
2005; Özen & Akkemik, 2012). Concerning these characteristics of the
Turkish polity, we reconsider NIT polity assumptions described earlier,
namely, the state as an actor which is (1) able to set and enforce the
rules of the game; (2) external to the fields and mediator between
conflicting groups; and (3) the source of planned stability and change
in the fields.
Is the state in Turkey able to set and enforce the rules of the game
in a manner coherent with the dominant ideologies in the society? As
suggested in Özen and Akkemik (2012), although the state in a statist
polity is usually said to be a ‘strong state’, this does not necessarily
imply that the state is able to provide a stable institutional infrastructure
necessary for the structuration of the fields. The state may be strong in
the sense of making policy decisions independently of the interests of
societal actors, but at the same time may have a low level of capacity
in effectively formulating and implementing public policies (Buğra,
1994, p. 18). Comparing Turkey with some other late-industrialising
countries, Buğra (1994) concluded that while the Turkish state enjoyed
significant autonomy, as in South Korea and Taiwan, it had a low level
of capacity in implementing a coherent, systematically pursued indus-
trial strategy. This low level of policy formulation and implementation
capacity may emanate from the lack of financial resources and manage-
rial capability as well as the national and international dependencies of
the state. Özen and Akkemik (2012) argue that conflicting internal and
Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception 87

external imperatives may give rise to contradictory state interventions.

For instance, under the influences of external and internal dependen-
cies, the state may adopt conflicting economic policies, such as stabilisa-
tion versus growth, or liberalisation versus protection, which may result
in economic rents as frequently happened in Turkey. Thus, I can say that
the first assumption of the new institutional studies on the role of the
state may not be valid for Turkey.
Is the state in Turkey external to the fields and does it function as the
mediator between actors with conflicting interests? The state in Turkey is
a dominant developmental state (Whitley, 2005) that has had a leading
role in economic development not only by establishing institutional
structures, but also through intervening in the markets as an economic
actor. Thus, it is clearly not an actor external to the market, but is itself
an actor within fields. For instance, it has created big businesses directly
and indirectly through long-term credits, subsidised inputs, tax-exemp-
tions, protectionist policies and governmental biddings (Buğra, 1994).
This policy has recently prevailed in various forms despite the adoption
of liberal economic policies since the 1980s (Jang, 2006). Furthermore, it
has been an economic actor itself competing with private companies it
created through its public enterprises; not only in raw material and input
producing industries, but also in consumption goods industries. Rather
than being a mediator between social groups with conflicting interests,
the Turkish state itself has been an omnipotent entity attempting to
transform society by directly intervening in a top-down fashion into
the social, economic and cultural spheres of life according to its devel-
opmentalist-modernising ideology. In doing this, governments have
also developed clientelistic relations with their party constituencies by
providing rents in return for their political support (Heper, 2002). It can
be concluded, then, that the state in Turkey is not an actor external
to the fields, and a mediator between societal groups with conflicting
Is the state in Turkey the source of planned stability and change?
As usually expected from a modern state, the answer to this question
would, in general terms, be affirmative. However, due to its patrimonial
characteristic (Özen & Akkemik, 2012), the Turkish state has intervened
in the economic and social life arbitrarily. Combined with politicised
bureaucracy, this led to state interventions that entailed frequent
modifications in the institutional parameters of the business environ-
ment, often according to the requirements of daily politics or partic-
ularistic interests of party constituencies (Buğra, 1994, p. 22). These
88 Şükrü Özen

characteristics of the government have been maintained during the last

decade in which the ruling political party, the moderate-Islamist Justice
and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), has had strong
ties with emerging Islamic business elites, resulting in their privileged
treatment by the government (see Başkan, 2010; Buğra & Savaşkan,
2010; Jang, 2006). Therefore, statist polity characteristics such as patri-
monialism and clientelism indicate that the Turkish state frequently
creates instability in economic and social life with its unpredictable and
arbitrary actions. Thus, the third assumption of NIT may not hold for
the Turkish case.

Some lessons from institutional studies on Turkey

A considerable number of scholars in Turkey have recently employed

the new institutional framework in order to explain various institutional
processes in Turkey. In this section, I report the results of my analysis
of these studies by critically evaluating their findings in order to draw
insights relating to the validity of the new institutional polity assump-
tions for Turkey. Reviewing the relevant studies, I conclude that their
findings provide significant challenges to the assumptions of NIT, partic-
ularly on the role of the state in institutional processes. These are (1)
ambiguity, instead of consistency, in the rationalising role of the state,
(2) diversity and proto-institutions instead of isomorphism, and (3)
stable uninstitutionalisation instead of stable institutionalisation.

Ambiguity, instead of consistency, in the

rationalising role of the state
The findings of the new institutional studies on Turkey (for instance,
Özen & Özen, 2009; Özkara & Özcan, 2004; Üsdiken, 2003) suggest
that the role of the state in rationalising and homogenising society is
ambiguous. The Turkish state has excessively rationalised certain fields
on the one hand, but it has played this role at the minimum level in
some other fields on the other. For instance, the study of Özkara and
Özcan (2004) on the institutionalisation of the accounting profession
found that the state has played a crucial role in forming and changing
the accounting field by enacting laws and enforcing certain organi-
sational forms. In this case, the dominant institutional actor was the
government, instead of professional associations and accounting
companies, which can be crucial actors in changing the same field in a
more liberal polity, for instance, Canada (see Greenwood et al., 2002).
Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception 89

Furthermore, Üsdiken (2003) showed that the Turkish government

has homogenised the Turkish higher education field, particularly
since the early 1980s, through a central organisation, the Council
of Higher Education. This council, for instance, has even intervened
in the curriculum and the recruitment and promotion criteria for
academics. Similarly, Koç et al.’s (2011) study of Turkish football as
an organisational field concluded that the state has been the most
important actor, despite its changing impact over time: it founded
and administered the football clubs, decided which club would be
the champion, and authorised the regulative agency entitled with
Although the state has rationalised some fields to a large extent, it has
been reluctant to intervene into some others. For instance, according to
Buğra’s (1998) study of the formation of the consumer durables industry
in Turkey, the state was reluctant to establish institutional infrastructure
that would make transactions in this field possible. Instead, a manu-
facturing company formed the field on the basis of relational trust
by using their embedded relations with dealers. The study of Kalemci
and Özen (2011) also showed that the Turkish state had almost done
nothing, except for imposing censorship mechanisms, in forming the
Turkish film industry until the 1990s. Similar to the consumer durables
industry, producers, distributors, and movie theatre owners have formed
a field based on embedded relations, which inherently involved exploi-
tations. Furthermore, Erçek (2004), Özen (2002a, 2002b) and Özen and
Berkman (2007) indicated that the state has not played a significant
role in the diffusion of personnel management, HRM and total quality
management practices in order to rationalise the use of the labour force
in organisations, in contrast to the significant role played by the US
government for the diffusion of similar practices (see Baron et al., 1986;
Dobbin et al., 1993; Lawler et al., 1992).
In conclusion, the Turkish state’s role in rationalising and homogenising
organisational fields is ambiguous due to its priorities, or the problem of
policy-making capacity, or clientelism. The institutional studies on the
North Atlantic countries, on the other hand, seem to suggest that the
state in liberal polities construct consistently, and from a distance, the
institutional infrastructure for almost all organisational fields through
normative and coercive isomorphic processes. In contrast, the state in
Turkey may be absent in some fields, but, when it intervenes in some
other fields, it directly determines not only the institutional infrastructure,
but also the functioning of the fields. One consequence of this ambiguity
90 Şükrü Özen

in the role of the state is that formal organising in society may be isomor-
phic to the state structure in some fields as usually happened in the statist
polity (Jepperson & Meyer, 1991, p. 223), but in some other fields may be
isomorphic to foreign organisational structures imported by local actors
from the West. In other fields it may emanate from informal organising
embedded in the structure of social relations. This signals the prevalence
of diversity, rather than isomorphism, in the fields in Turkey.

Diversity and proto-institutions instead of isomorphism

Based on the findings of his study on HRM and personnel management
discourses in Turkey, Erçek (2004) argued that the basic assumption of
NIT – that an institutional change towards isomorphism requires a struc-
tured macro infrastructure composed of the state, professions, compa-
nies and their interactions – may not be true for peripheral countries
like Turkey. Erçek indicated that due to the lack of this infrastructure,
different, sometimes conflicting, actor networks in the same field in
Turkey have transferred from abroad and promoted diverse practices that
are supposed to solve similar problems, for instance, personnel manage-
ment versus HRM for improving labour productivity. Therefore, there
have always been diversities and proto-institutions instead of isomor-
phism in the fields in Turkey. Similarly, the studies of Üsdiken and
his colleagues (Üsdiken, 1996, 2003; Üsdiken & Erden, 2001; Üsdiken
& Pasadeos, 1993) found that the academic literature on organisation
and management in Turkey involves the prevalence of competing insti-
tutional logics that were transferred by different actor networks from
Europe and the United States in different historical periods, namely,
contextualised versus universal management education logics.
In addition to diversities in terms of different practices or logics trans-
ferred from abroad, there have also been diversities, instead of isomor-
phism, that emanate from the conflicts between the transferred logics
and locally embedded logics. For example, Özen (2008) found that the
conflicts between the liberal competition policy of the European Union
introduced into Turkey in 1997 and its historical state-dependent char-
acteristics resulted in a diverse series of inconsistent implementations
varying from: compliance with the liberal logic; its translation; brico-
lage between the liberal and statist logics; avoidance of the liberal logic
for different industries and cases. As another example, Koç and Vurgun
(2012) found that two competing logics, servant and commercial logics,
presently live together in the Turkish healthcare field without replacing
each other: the former logic is the existing logic which emphasises the
public provision of healthcare services whereas the latter one is the new
logic which involves a private-business-like management of healthcare.
Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception 91

In conclusion, as suggested by Jepperson and Meyer (1991) for periph-

eral countries, Turkey is a place where conflicting local logics and logics
imported from different parts of the world live together, resulting in
diversities and proto-institutions.

Stable uninstitutionalisation instead of stable institutionalisation

Turkey can be considered as a modernisation project where the central
elites, who identified with the west, attempted to transform in a top-
down fashion the ‘traditional’ society into a ‘civilized’ nation (Heper,
1977). Therefore, there have always been conflicts between the higher
order institutional logics such as democracy, bureaucracy, corporation,
market, family and religion (Thornton & Ocasio, 2008): for instance,
conflicts between an Islamic way of life versus secularism, rights and
liberties versus duties and obligations to the state, the demands for
ethnic rights versus homogenous nation. These continuous conflicts
are labelled by Jepperson and Meyer (1991) ‘stable instability’, which
means that the conflicts between the modern institutional structures
imported by the central elites from the west and the traditional struc-
tures of the peripheral social groups may cause episodic cycles of protest
and disorder. The net result of these episodic cycles of conflicts would
be uninstitutionalisation. Inspired by the definition of institutionalisation
by Jepperson (1991, pp. 144–145), I mean by uninstitutionalisation the
process by which sequences of activities fail to become self-producing
and routinely enacted by being established and standardised. By entitling
their paper The Weakness of a Powerful State: The Un-institutionalization
History of Turkish Football Field, Koç et al. (2011) tell the story of how
the Turkish football field failed to become institutionalised, even over a
long period of years. Here, uncertainties emanated from the weakness of
the strong state; patrimonialism and clientelism are crucial in this stable
uninstitutionalisation (Özen & Akkemik, 2012) since uncertain condi-
tions consistently lead to a high level of opportunism. It refers to acting
according to the particularities and exigencies of the given conditions,
which is detrimental to the persistence of rules, practices and structures,
that is, their institutionalisation.
As mentioned earlier, it can be argued that the most characteristic
behaviour of the Turkish government has been its opportunism, which
means acting according to the requirements of daily politics or particu-
laristic interests of party constituencies at the expense of conforming
to norms and regulations (Buğra, 1994). Özen and Özen (2009) showed
that the Turkish government may extend the realm of opportunistic
behaviour, even to the extent of violating the rule of law: in order to
maintain its liberal mining policy, it did not conform to the rulings by
92 Şükrü Özen

the Council of State and administrative courts for the closure of a gold
mine. The uncertainties that are created by this opportunistic style of
the state may also lead to opportunistic behaviours on the part of indus-
trial firms. Özen and Akkemik (2012) suggest that illegitimate corporate
behaviours in the Turkish context, such as speculation, rent-seeking and
pursuing non-operating revenues, may have been institutionalised as a
behaviour that is continuously reproduced by industrial firms in order to
survive under the circumstances where there have been both uncertain-
ties and opportunities largely created by the statist polity characteristics
such as strong state with a weak policy-making capacity, patrimonialism
and clientelism. Thus, the Turkish case implies that opportunism itself
may have been institutionalised.
Another consequence of the persistent instability caused by state-so-
ciety conflict would be a widespread decoupling. Jepperson and Meyer
(1991, p. 224) suggest that, given societal opposition to organisational
structures defined by the state, there is an extensive ‘decoupling’ in the
statist polity: society pretends to adopt, or ceremonially adopt (Meyer,
1977), structures or practices imposed by the state in a top-down fashion
by decoupling them from the actual activities for the sake of opti-
mising legitimacy and efficiency concerns. Recent research has shown
that extensive decoupling has occurred in the process of adopting
environmental protection measures (Küskü, 2001), corporate govern-
ance (Üsdiken & Yıldırım-Öktem, 2008) and total quality management
(Özen, 2002b) in Turkey. For instance, although the Turkish govern-
ment has forced family-owned big business groups to increase the ratio
of independent members within their boards of directors as a corporate
governance practice, business groups ceremonially adopted this prac-
tice by including more ‘independent’ members in boards. However,
they were not actually independent due to their close informal ties with
owning family, thus maintaining owning families’ dominance in the
boards of directors (Üsdiken & Yıldırım-Öktem, 2008). Similarly, most
Turkish industrial companies adopted TQM ceremonially by pretending
to conform to a complete model of TQM without any customisation,
but implementing it in a limited number of departments in their organi-
sations (Özen, 2002b).


Reviewing the institutional studies in relation to Turkey in this chapter,

I found that they suggest significant challenges to the propositions
Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception 93

of NIT promulgated as the orthodoxy in the centre. These challenges

are apparent in and through: the presence of ambiguity instead of
consistency in the rationalising role of the state; diversity instead of
isomorphism, and stable uninstitutionalisation instead of stable insti-
tutionalisation. These challenges can also be considered as important
research topics that could contribute to a better understanding of insti-
tutional processes in different national contexts. In working to recon-
textualise NIT for peripheral countries having statist characteristics, I
would suggest focusing on why and how the state plays an ambiguous
role in the institutional processes by dominating the other actors in
some fields but totally disappearing in some other fields. Furthermore,
it would be worth studying how informal structures and organising are
involved in the institutional processes where the state is surprisingly
absent. Pursuing the diversities, rather than isomorphism, in the form of
translation and bricolage would be a more appropriate research topic at
the periphery. Resembling a garbage can where diverse logics or practices
imported from the centre by different actors at different times conflict or
live together with local logics or practices, the peripheral context is the
most appropriate space to study this issue. This provides an opportunity
for a better understanding of how local actors make sense of, or translate,
new practices through their local meaning systems, and integrate them
with existing local practices, or use both new and existing practices in a
patchy way (Campbell, 2004). Furthermore, why certain practices and
structures do not become institutionalised, although they may be widely
adopted for relatively long periods of time in a field, is also worth stud-
ying, given the overemphasis on institutionalisation or deinstitution-
alisation in NIT. This issue is interesting because it implies a challenge
to the assumption widely held in North American institutional theory
suggesting that practices become more institutionalised as they become
widespread and are adopted for longer periods of time (see Tolbert &
Zucker, 1983). The case of persistent uninstitutionalisation suggests, in
contrast, that the institutionalisation of practices may not be a function
of their widespread diffusion and their adoption duration. To explain
how opportunism, which contradicts institutionalisation, becomes an
institutionalised way of doing things would also enhance our under-
standing of why the institutionalisation of transferred logics and prac-
tices fails most of the time within the peripheral context. Related to this
issue, I finally propose that studying the widespread merely ceremonial
adoption within peripheral contexts would be key to understanding
continuous change, opportunism and uninstitutionalisation because
94 Şükrü Özen

widespread ceremonial adoption may be both the antecedent and conse-

quence of these processes.
Studying these topics would also be helpful in understanding institu-
tional processes in other polities. As I mentioned earlier, the conceptuali-
sation of the state in NIT as a homogenising and stabilising, arm’s length
actor may not reflect truly the real politics of North American countries.
This conceptualisation may be rather due to the liberal political ideology
and functionalist paradigm dominant among the North American
scholars. Therefore, bringing the state back in may help overcome the
neglect of power and agency in NIT, which has been its enduring neglect,
and provide a better explanation of institutional processes even in liberal
polities (see Barley, 2010; Clegg, 2010; Zietsma & Lawrence, 2010). Clegg
(2010, p. 11) also argues that it should be difficult to disregard the role of
the state anymore, ‘given the widespread rediscovery of the neo-Keyne-
sian role of the state by governments such the United States, Australia,
and the United Kingdom in their response to the crises’ and also their
central role in an emerging ‘audit society’. This also implies that there
may be a convergence in the role of the state within different polities
towards one engaging more actively in restructuring organisational fields
as a response to the global financial crisis.
Finally, I need to emphasise that my intention in this study was
neither to seek to invalidate NIT nor to propose a new (new) insti-
tutional view proper for the peripheral and/or statist countries. My
intention was simply to show that the liberal conception of the state
widespread in North American institutional studies provides little help
in understanding institutional processes in Turkey, which is a periph-
eral country with statist characteristics. As I mentioned earlier, I used
the categories of liberal and statist polities as conceptual tools to show
the cross-country differences more conveniently. These categories,
together with ‘periphery’ and ‘centre’, are, in fact, too broad, and do not
reflect complexities, dynamics and idiosyncracies within each country.
For instance, some characteristics that are said to represent the Turkish
polity, such as direct intervention of the state into fields, clientelistic
relations between the government and big businesses and governmental
action violating the rule of law, can also be observed in more liberal poli-
ties, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. The
rescue of automotive companies by the US government between 2008
and 2010, the authoritative and corrupted governmental actions in the
era of the Bjelke-Petersen administration in the state of Queensland in
Australia (Clegg, 2010) are just two examples to illustrate. Therefore, I
Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception 95

should say that the propositions developed in this study cannot be easily
generalised to other peripheral countries with a statist polity. Hence,
scholars from other peripheral countries should recontextualise NIT by
considering the polity characteristics prevalent in their own countries.
The contribution of this study would be more significant if it can inspire
these efforts.

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The Historical Trajectory of a
Peripheral National Business
Maria Kapsali and Rea Prouska

Introduction: challenging presumptions in

peripheral National Business Systems

The recent global financial crisis has revealed that the application of
ahistorical and grossly generalised lessons and methods from studies on
core National Business Systems (NBS) to understand countries on the
European periphery does not generate explanations about the ‘leaping’
back and forth of systems from the periphery to the semi-periphery.
Research on peripheral countries is limited, and most NBS literature
focuses on advanced-core or semi-peripheral systems. There have been
several studies on Asian peripheral countries, including China, Japan,
Hong Kong and South Korea (Witt & Reading, 2012; Černíková, 2010;
Bendt & Sanne, 2010; Tipton, 2009; Carney, 2005; Yeung, 2000; Whitley,
1991) as well as comparative studies (Casson & Lundan, 1999) and fewer
studies on European and South American peripheral countries in the last
decade (Gabrisch et al., 2012; Černíková, 2010; Psychogios & Szamosi,
2007; Amable, 2003). Furthermore, the definition of ‘periphery’ in these
studies has been confusing, as the same economies have sometimes
been perceived as peripheral and sometimes as semi-peripheral or core
(Italy and Spain). For example, the European periphery was thought
to comprise the countries of Eastern Europe (the Balkans, including
Greece) or the former Soviet Empire (Poland), while countries areas
on the European semi-periphery are declining cores – Portugal, Spain,
Italy, southern Germany and southern France (Chase-Dunn et al., 2000).
However, other studies include Greece as part of the semi-periphery
(Prokou, 2003; Wallerstein, 1974, 1997).
Careful analysis of (semi)peripheral NBS is frustrated by two presump-
tions embedded in the study of core NBS: (1) the presumption of

The Historical Trajectory 101

coherence; (2) the presumption of stability, which are used to study

the status of (semi-)peripheral NBS. Peripheral NBS, however, are often
characterised by incoherence and instability due to their continuous
exposure to asymmetric external forces. These presumptions have
been challenged by two currents of thought in the NBS literature: (1)
‘segmented’ NBS; (2) the exploration of longitudinal and other types of
historical change. As yet, no attempt has been made to examine both
currents in greater historical depth.
This chapter challenges these presumptions by using a historical
approach to analyse and explain the behaviour and development of
a ‘leaping’ peripheral/semi-peripheral NBS (Greece). This represents a
renewed call for ‘more history and less systems’ in the comparative anal-
ysis of capitalisms (Martin, 2008), especially on the periphery (Fellman
et al., 2008), and we will show that the use of this model requires an
understanding of historical sequence. The next section will examine the
ways that NBS studies deal with the issues of incoherence and instability
and will explain our approach to critical junctures in segmented NBS

Theoretical framework: the segmented NBS

The NBS model shows the ways that institutions merge into a cumu-
lative bundle of economic activity to support organisational practices
(Morgan, 2007). However it is an ‘ideal’ type of institutional model,
constructed eclectically in order to avoid the infinite combinations of
institutional components (Whitley, 1999, 2000). This ideal model makes
sense only out of the structures of advanced systems presumed to be
‘coherent’, where institutional parts function in close interdependence
with each other based on the premise of self-reinforcing integration and
unidirectional relationships that achieve optimal wealth-maximising
results (Lundvall, 1999; Mayer & Wittington, 1999). In reality, an NBS
is neither a coherent nor an optimal system; rather it is an evolutionary
system with many interfaces and paths of action that develop through
time. Ideal configurations that are ‘optimal’, ‘stable’ and ‘coherent’ by
definition do not sufficiently explain why institutional paths in highly
volatile environments are likely to be ‘crooked’ (Djelic & Quark, 2007) or
the effects of (re)combinations of institutional interests and the accu-
mulation of struggles in developmental paths.
To deal with the presumption of incoherence, studies have looked
into systems that are profoundly non-optimal. Djelic and Quark (2007),
Martin (2008) and Wood and Frynas (2006) propose a model of the
102 Maria Kapsali and Rea Prouska

‘segmented NBS’, a distinct variety of capitalism that is not wealth-max-

imising with low degrees of complementarity but is sustained because
it serves specific interests – usually elites, often foreign ones (Wood and
Frynas, 2006).
The focus on internal coherence leaves little room for explaining
change (Brookes et al., 2005), as it produces relatively static paradigms
within which dynamic features are primarily explained by means of
institutional reproduction (Herrigel, 2006). Instability is explained by
the cumulative effects of subtle, incremental and transformative change
(Streeck & Thelen, 2005; Thelen, 2003), neglecting other types of change,
such as flux (frequent and turbulent change; see Burnes, 2004). Some
studies delve into the history of particular NBS, but not all of them are
academic (Amatori et al., 2011) and many of them explore longitudinal
change but not historical development (De Jong et al., 2010; Tengblad &
Ohlsson, 2010). Highly volatile systems such as peripheral NBS need to
be accurately portrayed if their instability is to be understood.
Since peripheral NBS are neither coherent, stable nor optimal, they
should logically be regarded as segmented. The segmented NBS model
was created to explain incoherence in all types of NBS; however, weak
and underperforming peripheral NBS, which are admittedly incoherent
and unstable, are suitable for analysis.

Context and method: legacies within

segmented NBS paths

As our aim is to use a historical approach to challenge the presumptions

of coherence and stability in peripheral NBS, we will assess the forma-
tion of various legacies using Hotho’s (2009) four institutional indica-
tors of a segmented NBS: the role of the state; labour/skills; finances;
and firm structure.
The use of legacies requires an analysis of earlier political-economic
choices that shape the costs and benefits of embarking on certain institutional
paths (Kopstein & Reilly, 2000; Mazzoleni, 1997). We will examine the
ways that legacies form, develop or change institutional paths at critical
junctures (Deeg, 2005). Junctures are points in time at which significant
systemic changes occur and that host interfaces between institutional paths
(Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006), showing that history matters (Gourley,
2008; Pierson, 2000; Mahoney, 2000; Thelen, 2003). By exploring the
historical transition of Hotho’s four NBS indicators through legacies, we
will identify recurring institutional practices and more clearly describe
the historical development of a peripheral-segmented NBS. Studies
The Historical Trajectory 103

that use aggregate measures, such as trade globalisation (Chase-Dunn

et al., 2000), are less sensitive to historical causality since such meas-
ures produce relatively stable core-periphery hierarchies with limited
We will use the case of the Greek NBS on the periphery of the EU,
summarising its historical trajectory over the past 170 years, based on
information obtained from 13 empirical studies on the country’s insti-
tutions and managerial practices (Prouska & Kapsali, 2011). We will
examine three critical junctures at which the NBS entered a new histor-
ical ‘era’ and use the legacies created in each era to explain segmenta-
tion: (1) establishment of the independent Greek state and its gradual
expansion from 1830 to 1900; (2) intense change and warfare from 1900
to 1974; (3) restoration of democracy and formation of the contempo-
rary Greek NBS from 1974 to the present. These junctures were selected
because they marked radical shifts in governance with respect to poli-
cies, regimes and systems of economic production.

The segmented Greek business system during the

past 170 years

Two legacies at three junctures

Greece has been subject to constant political change and conflict during
regimes that ranged from rigid dictatorships to occupations and monar-
chies between 1830 and 1974 (Kapsali & Butler, 2011; Maddison, 1995).
The role of the state changed radically at the three critical junctures,
creating two legacies that channelled institutional development into a
segmented whole.

Legacy I: the power broker state

The first legacy involves the role of the state as a ‘power broker’
(Table 5.1), a mediating entity between national and foreign interests, a
role that lasted during the first two critical junctures. The ‘power broker’
legacy stems from persistent historical patterns of external interference.
At the third critical juncture, the role of the state shifts to being the
‘patron of the electorate’, as monarchist and centralist regimes transi-
tion to socialism. However, the role of the state eased the path of corrupt
internal politics and failed to create the cessation processes that are
necessary to ensure interdependencies and complementarities among
business entities.
Table 5.1 The path of the role of the state with indicators by Hotho (2009) (evidence from Prouska & Kapsali, 2011)

1900–1974 1974–2010
EU patronage,
supranational ‘allies’
1830–1900 1900–1950 and pressures of
Debt and political patronage – Violent 1950–1974 global competition –
foreign kings interventions and Control of the economy the government is
and foreign policies – periodic loss of and civil society – a negotiator – low
State government is an intermediary control – divisions divisions investment and debt crisis

Role, policies and public Foreign political patrons – the Due to patrons’ wars King, military, state wars, Restoration of democracy
administration ‘Great Powers’ – control (Balkan wars, world recurring regime change, using foreign Central
Elites and power domestic affairs – the patrons wars, Civil War, government infighting European models
structures chose foreign kings as head of Depression, Cold War, led to dictatorship (French and German),
state etc.) and civil disputes The United States replaced abolition of monarchy,
Public sector: Ottoman-style (National Schism, the British and European Europeanisation of the
government corruption military coups), state allies as the new state – the EU replaced
hybridised with Bavarian infrastructure was ‘patron’ – invasion of the patronage of the
hierarchy allocating resources destroyed several Cyprus and interference Great Powers and
using patronage and clientelist times – no continuity in domestic affairs the United States –
relations with elites of industrial compliance with EU
Feudalist policies are not modern policy, constant rules and policies
by foreign standards – policies reconstruction, debts Relative political stability,
(education, investment) – Flux back and but still social division –
land redistribution set back forth intensifies a legacy of mistrust and
initiatives for industrialisation partisanship and fractured class/political
corruption divisions. Redistribution
policies used for
reconciliation – social
unrest when the state
tries to cut back – no
overall design or policy
Legacy of clientelist
relationship with the
The Historical Trajectory 105

Legacy II: socio-political and economic division

The second legacy is a historically consistent pattern of political,
economic and social division throughout contemporary history (Jesse,
2007). The division emerged from the autocratic patronage role of the
state, led to several civil wars, favoured the interests of elites and caused
political distortions, incoherence and instability, ultimately leading to
segmentation in the NBS (Kapsali & Butler, 2011). The division was exac-
erbated by the internalisation of change after every exogenous shock,
especially when foreign interference was involved, generating colliding
social conflicts and creating a highly volatile environment. The repercus-
sions of this legacy for NBS institutions involved continuous disruption
and partisanship in domestic politics, policies and institutions, as well as
the marginalisation vis-à-vis public and other institutional resources of a
large part of the private sector not politically aligned with the state.

Critical juncture I: 1830–1900

The role of the state
The ‘power broker’ legacy starts with the establishment of the modern
Greek state in 1830 (Table 6.1). From the very beginning, Greek affairs
were subject to foreign influence. The major European political forces of
the time were Britain, France and Russia, referred to as the ‘Great Powers’,
which actively interfered in domestic affairs as if dealing with colonies.
As an envoy of Britain, Lord Byron predicted that ‘an “independent”
Greece would be a colony of the sovereigns of Europe’ and the British ambas-
sador in Athens was quoted as saying in 1841 that ‘Greece is either Russian
or English and, since she must not be Russian, she must be English’ (Sarafis,
1990, p. 124, author emphasis). Dependency on the Great Powers with
Britain as a leader was twofold: they saw to it that London’s financial
houses (the Rothschild bank) provided Greece with independence loans
and they appointed a Bavarian king (Otto Friedrich Ludwig of Bavaria)
while ‘sponsoring’ their own politicians in the Greek parliament.
The political and financial structures of the new kingdom were feudal-
istic. As a result, they were unable to keep pace with the capitalist struc-
tures into which western democratic systems were evolving. The main
mistake was the establishment of a public bureaucracy (often referred
to as Bavarocracy), a western-oriented, hierarchical, centralised, proce-
dural system superimposed on the eastern public practices of decentral-
ised political patronage and clientelism (exchange of public services and
resources through favours among actors with asymmetrical power in
informal networks) that had been the norm under the Ottoman regime for
106 Maria Kapsali and Rea Prouska

400 years. Thus, the Bavarian bureaucracy did not make processes trans-
parent but created a hybrid system of overlapping corrupt practices.

Labour/skills, finances and firm structures

Piperopoulos (2009) writes that industrialisation during this period was
characterised by a lack of specialisation in production capabilities or
supply chain activities, as well as random industrial production. Land
redistribution policies exacerbated the problem of fragmented produc-
tivity. The state taxed civilians and small businesses heavily to repay war
debts and failed to invest in industrial infrastructures or substantially
empower and regulate private investment. As a result, economic produc-
tion remained agrarian and small-scale; the peasant class, which repre-
sented the majority, was cut off from specialised, vocational or tertiary
education and began to emigrate (Table 5.2). Unlike industrialised econ-
omies where a strong middle-class owned most investment capital and
exercised political power (Table 5.3), the Greek middle-class was small,
politically marginalised and reluctant to invest in industrial produc-
tion. They invested in non-industrialised sectors such as trade services
and marine commerce for quick profits, as well as low-risk industries
like weaving (Limberakis, 1991; Αgriantonis, 1986). Small-scale indus-
trial firms obtained state resources through clientelism and bank loans,
relying on the import of technology and knowledge. Firms did not
develop the critical mass required for industrial clusters; they emerged
opportunistically and remained small (Demiris, 1991; Limberakis, 1991).
Family businesses dominated because industry was unable to develop
collaborative infrastructures (Αgriantonis, 1991) (Table 5.4).
However, commercial and agricultural productivity expanded rapidly,
demonstrating that the country had capacity for growth. But industriali-
sation stemmed mostly from the initiatives of a few entrepreneurs and
elites rather than from systematic, organised activity, and small-scale
production was insufficient to compete in wider markets. Greek produc-
tivity was so fragmented and haphazard that cumulative economic
growth was too weak to overcome debts and deficits (Kabouroglou,
1985). As a consequence, the economy was insolvent by 1890.

Critical juncture II: 1900–1974

The role of the state
Due to its peripheral location, Greece went through an extremely turbu-
lent period, including the Balkan Wars (1912–1913), two world wars
(1914–1918; 1939–1945), a national catastrophe (1922) as a result of
Table 5.2 The path of the financial institutions with indicators by Hotho (2009) (evidence from Prouska & Kapsali, 2011)

1900–1974 1974–2010
Emergence of middle-class
investors- credit-based
1830–1900 financing and savings
War debts and 1900–1950 dominate – market-based
insolvency – missed Loss of control with 1950–1974 stock exchange boost that
opportunity for periodic revivals – more Regaining control – collapsed due to weak
Financial systems industrialisation debts – periodic boosts credit-based booms regulation

Sources of financing The economy started Markets and production Marshall Plan partly Reallocation of industrial
Debt or market functioning with a destroyed by recurring implemented sectors – agriculture
Production and market investment deficit due to war debts wars Protectionist policies gradually disappeared,
to London banks State unable to repay led to rapid business weak industrial and
Due to lack of loans, loss of markets development innovation sectors –
investment, the (domestic and Boosts industries – service boosts
country had to rely on foreign) – further debt economy entered State used monetary
recurring debts Lack of investment due a capitalist phase policies to attract
Land redistribution to war shocks – the with high levels investment and
confined investment state used monetary of investment in to make services
to small plots – lack of policies to raise industry, tax credits competitive until the
middle-class investors revenues – more debt and protectionism, euro was adopted
and poor market Injection of labour and the emergence Redistribution policies
financing through mass of monopolies – due to social
Trade, shipping, sporadic immigration led to investment still credit- divisions – led
industrialisation based short boom for small based to savings rather
on funds from political businesses – retail- Businesses continued than stock market
elites – or loans oriented to invest little – investment – black
opportunistic economy
industrialisation– Self-employment, no
service sector large companies to
invest, mainly SMEs
Did not attract much
Table 5.3 The path of the labour institutions (education, training, unions) with indicators by Hotho (2009) (evidence from Prouska
& Kapsali, 2011)

1900–1974 1974–2010
Influx of educated people – Increase in university education,
1830–1900 establishment of education asymmetric labour pool,
Educating the illiterate but not for business incomplete protection of
Skills development system masses professions workers

State of literacy, labour pool Diaspora of educated people Destruction of Smyrna, huge No calibration of market demand
Strength of education and training Population was illiterate, influx of new labour refugees and education planning
systems (availability and accessibility of uneducated – confined to contributed to business Most of the population was
education) agrarian professions and banking, they are well- educated (undergraduate and
Adoption of a free education educated and entrepreneurial, postgraduate degrees), educated
system, modernisation of labour became cheaper, small foreign labour, new skills
language businesses rose (services), vocational education
Gradual population growth Frequent changes to government weak (little in-house training)
cannot create predictable inhibited a long-term Increased labour costs due to
skills policies education policy for business social policies, unionisation
and industrial professions – and poor demand for many
classical ‘professional’ business-related professions led
education (doctors, lawyers, to high unemployment among
etc.) was preferred educated young people
Until the 1950s – investment in Policies for unemployment and
skills lagged behind industrial protection of employee rights
development improved but were not fully
Changes in market practices, implemented. Insurance and
unstable labour markets, pensions needed to be reformed
cannot industrialise Greater demand for tertiary
No social welfare for the education spawns controversy
unemployed, but over private university
establishment of insurance education – a great deal of
and pension systems income spent at foreign
Table 5.4 The path of the firms’ institutionalised practices with indicators by Hotho (2009) (evidence from Prouska & Kapsali,

Structures continued to bear
power conflicts – employer/
employee regulations,
efforts for gender equality
and similar policies only
1830–1900 1900–1974 partially implemented –
Unregulated power Formation of structures – marginal unemployment
Trust and relations with distance – family craft some medium-sized policies – family businesses
authorities and trade businesses industries – majority continue to dominate

Business practices of authorities – Bavarocracy, the rule of Bavarocracy lives on, the Public sector organisations,
power distance patronage and bribery state became the main the state was now the
Willingness to delegate decision- Autocratic leadership employer largest employer that
making and family-oriented Small family businesses generated debt
Faith in formal institutions structures – great power dominated the private SMEs unable to work
distance, not much sector in cooperatives or
delegation Start of larger enterprises/ clusters due to lack of
Trade, shipping, no demand for more intermediary institutions
industrialisation, short- professional expertise and mistrust/greater
term orientation and Social divisions/great power distance between SMEs
opportunistic emergence distance between public and larger oligopolistic
of industry and private workers and firms
employers Labour and social security
policies still not fully
implemented – great
power distance –
autocratic practices/series
of strikes and industrial
110 Maria Kapsali and Rea Prouska

war with Turkey, 13 military coups during the National Schism (1924–
1935), the Great Depression (1929), the Civil War (1945–1950), the Cold
War (1950–1970) and a seven-year dictatorship (1967–1974) (Kapsali
& Butler, 2011). The country had been in war for most of the twen-
tieth century, with 34 isolated years that were free of serious domestic
or external conflict. The pattern of dependency continued during this
period, including more war, reconstruction debts and heavy external
interference in domestic affairs, especially by the United States after the
Civil War (Weiner, 2007; Legg, 1969), leading to loss of internal control
and often of sovereignty as well. The country was exploited in various
ways by its allies, adding to violent conflicts between the externally
imposed monarch and the population. These conflicts consumed the
resources of the state while continually fragmenting business infrastruc-
tures and institutions.
The state continued to play the role of power broker, this time as an
intermediary between conflicting or overlapping domestic and foreign
vested interests. Governments backed up the police state and distorted
democratic processes. State regimes and economic philosophy, as well
as policy formation and implementation, changed so many times that
the only efficient way of conducting business was by means of clientelist
and particularistic practices (Taylor-Gooby, 2006) allied with personal
networks, and with the public sector as the main distributor of resources
(Table 5.1). Thus, the absence of a stable, sovereign political order had a
segmenting effect on business practices.

Labour/skills, finances and firm structures

Business institutions were frequently disrupted during these 74 years.
Such disruptions stunted business growth – the fundamental institu-
tional fabric had to be reconstructed and business policies had to be
reconstituted a number of times (Demiris, 1991). To compensate for the
lack of coherence and stability and to sustain business expansion, govern-
ments either borrowed money or pursued protectionist or devaluation
policies. They also used supranational institutions and programmes
(Marshall Plan, Bretton Woods) in the 1950s to patch together the
missing business infrastructures. The use of external institutions created
some stability for business during times of relative peace and promoted
credibility in the market. However, supranational external funds were
designed to be absorbed and utilised by business systems that already
had basic infrastructures and rules of liberal capitalism, not to suit the
needs of a segmented, incoherent system. Despite the problems, business
was resilient and high levels of growth were achieved during the three
The Historical Trajectory 111

decades between conflicts (Polizos and Panagiotopoulos, 1998). Two

periods of economic growth exhibited strong entrepreneurial activity,
albeit opportunistically (Demiris, 1991; Table 5.2). The first period
was after the war in 1922, boasting growth of 3.5 per cent per annum
(Freris, 1986) mainly due to the influx of educated immigrants who
started countless small businesses (Hirschon, 2003). The second period
was after the Civil War from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s, which
exhibited impressive economic development due to the Marshall Plan,
a drastic devaluation of the Drachma, price and import controls, lower
interest rates, a dynamic chemical industry, tourism, transport service
and massive public funding to rebuild the transportation infrastructure
(Mouzelis, 1978). Growth averaged 7 per cent per annum second only to
Japan. Growth was highest in the 1950s and often exceeded 10 per cent
per annum in the 1960s (Maddison, 1995).
Greece adopted the Fordist model of industrial production, though
not fully implementing it, and achieved a modest peripheral position
in the international economy (Vasiliadis, 2008). The economy still
resembled underdeveloped capitalism, with low agricultural produc-
tion and bureaucratic public administration in control of most bank
accounts and directly or indirectly managing the insurance industry
through the National Bank and Commercial Bank (Piperopoulos,
2009; Choumanidis, 1990). Both internal and direct investments were
primarily financed by the state, the industrial sector was unable to
grow due to sluggish investment activity and population movements
destabilised the labour force, further discouraging investment and
weakening the education system (Iakovidis, 1998). For these reasons,
the vast majority of businesses were family-owned and had trouble
competing due to the lack of investment in modernisation. The
gap between these businesses and the few politically connected and
oligopolistic larger businesses widened (Piperopoulos, 2009; Tsouflidis,
2003; Kostis, 1999).

Critical juncture III: 1974–2010

The role of the state
Radical changes occurred in 1974 – the restoration of parliamentary
democracy, abolition of the monarchy, elimination of the army’s inter-
ference in politics, reconciliation with political prisoners and refugees,
participation in the European Union and resistance to the intense influ-
ence of the United States (Kapsali & Butler, 2011). Another radical shift
occurred in 1981 when socialist governments took over, leading to the
establishment of welfare institutions.
112 Maria Kapsali and Rea Prouska

Although the effort to restore internal order and oppose external

interference was very successful, the role of the state shifted from being
a ‘power broker’ for the elite to serving as a ‘patron of the electorate’
(Table 5.1). In essence, governments used patronage practices in the
public sector to provide the general electorate, not just the elites, with
employment and access to business resources. Such economic redistri-
bution, which reduced social and economic inequalities, confronted
governments with the dilemma of trying to satisfy conflicting objec-
tives, including economic growth, the resolution of social conflicts and
The ‘patron’ state role led to: (1) more intense distortions in the struc-
ture of business institutions sustained by debt; (2) division of society
into two factions (those who had access to business resources and the
opposition who did not), this time in the political arena. A string of
governments enjoyed relatively short lives and changed business poli-
cies in arbitrary ways.

Labour/skills, finances and firm structures

Three significant milestones marked the evolution of a segmented
business system after 1974: welfare reforms and policy discontinuity,
an enormous public debt and reliance on European patronage, all of
which led to poor performance (Othelen et al., 2003). Post-1974 govern-
ments created market distortions (radical socialist policies that led to a
steep increase in labour costs, a semi-regulated financial system, public
monopolies, nationalisation, subsidies, expansion of public administra-
tion and a supply-driven system based on investment grants and EU
transfers) that not only discouraged private investment but destabilised
the balance of payments and made it impossible to control inflation
(Alogoskoufis, 1995).
One cause of economic deterioration was the lack of the kinds of
complementarities among the government, labour market, investment
and businesses (Table 5.2) able to absorb the tremors of economic and
social ‘shocks’ (Alogoskoufis, 1995; Vasiliadis 2008). Socialist govern-
ments after 1981 eventually pursued policies to promote dialogue
between ‘social partners’ in the NBS (employers-labour-finance-skills),
including the healthcare system, pension funds, trade unions, regula-
tions to support investment in the stock market and education reform
(Tables 5.2 and 5.3). However, the ‘social partners’ perpetuated the culture
of partisanship, corporatism and polarisation, failing to reach consensus
on more progressive policies (Charalambis et al., 2004) making labour
highly expensive and leading to political inertia (Venieris, 2003). In
The Historical Trajectory 113

addition, these policies encountered opposition or were incompletely

adopted due either to the public bureaucracy or to the lack of famili-
arity among small family firms with these kinds of practices (Table 5.4).
Because the public sector was used to rein in political opposition through
the control and distribution of state resources, it remained a source of
corruption and mistrust of government. As a result, redistribution was
inequitable, leading to the highest percentage of employers and self-
employed people in the EU (sustaining the black economy and compro-
mising price-wage flexibility) at the expense of private sector employees
(Timmer et al., 2007).
Although economically important industries grew (Polizos &
Panagiotopoulos, 1998), the NBS still performed poorly. However, poor
performance was not correlated with low productivity but with the large
black economy, extremely regressive taxation system, high labour costs
and lack of investment in modern technology (Oltheten et al., 2003).
Poor performance was also linked to the lopsided business sector: a large
service sector, along with small agricultural and industrial sectors, which
shaped demand for particular types of labour (Piperopoulos, 2009), and
the elimination of protectionist and monetary policies, which meant
higher costs after the adoption of the euro in 1999.

Discussion: implications of legacies in the

segmented peripheral Greek NBS

We have been discussing segmentation of the Greek peripheral system due

to political practices that historically are embedded in legacies and create
internal incoherence and instability. We have also discussed mainte-
nance of the segmented system despite the lack of complementarities.
The two legacies bind the NBS together in a segmented structure. At
the source of this segmentation is the division of the economy into
private and public sectors that compete for (mainly public) resources.
The patronage role of the state and its clientelist practices have
constantly used the public sector to eclectically distribute resources to
the private sector, leading to corruption and the black economy, weak
infrastructures and alienated firms at every juncture (see Figure 5.1).
The internal division was exacerbated by external interference, which is
supposed to be absent in semi-peripheral systems. The division within
this segmented system is so deep that the phenomenon replicates itself
in a cyclical process – the legacies have to change in order for social prac-
tices (and the institutions that regulate them) to be acculturated into a
new modus operandi (Clogg, 2002).
114 Maria Kapsali and Rea Prouska

Legacy 1 Legacy 1
the power broker state the patron state

Path 1: lack of long-term policy design

Path 2: the spurious business infrastructure Path 2: weak business infrastructure

Legacy 2
the social-political and economic division created by clientilistic and patronage politics

Path 3: the corruptive practices in the public sector


Figure 5.1 Legacies and paths creating the Greek segmented peripheral NBS
Source: The authors.

Segmentation in the Greek NBS consistently exhibited a lack of comple-

mentarities (Kang, 2006), creating a fragmented, risk-averse industrial
landscape. Firms remained small, mostly service-oriented, and relied on
bank loans or personal investment, unless there were clientelist connec-
tions to public structures as compensation for the absence of formal
institutional support. Thus the average small firm is ‘alienated’ and
incompletely integrated with the institutions (Martin, 2008; Figure 5.1),
making it more vulnerable to external influence, given constant depend-
ency on external production systems, mainly core countries.
Unlike the argument of NBS theory according to which this cycle can
be broken by radical reforms (Wood & Frynas, 2006), persistence of the
legacies neutralised radical political and socio-economic reforms at the
second and third critical junctures. Even though reforms temporarily
improved institutional performance at these junctures, which explains
the ‘leaping’ between periphery and semi-periphery, neither legacy
that had caused institutional failure changed and the system remained
segmented. Efforts by post-1974 governments to change legacies by
means of European institutional rules were unsuccessful due to the lack
of complementarities and other ‘clumsy’ institutions (Gourley, 2008) to
support these rules. Any attempts by governments to create comple-
mentarities and clumsy institutions were inhibited by public actors,
preserving legacies since the first critical juncture. Importing rules from
The Historical Trajectory 115

a supranational institutional system into the segmented NBS ultimately

failed to change business practices. Rather than altering or replacing
current practices the new institutional rules either reinforced the lega-
cies or became inactive.
Further analysis of (semi-)peripheral NBS that is sensitive to the partic-
ularities of their internal and external power struggles and links to core
countries might reveal that our assumptions are inaccurate (Featherstone,
1998). Take the example of the transferability of, or compliance with, EU
regulations at the last critical juncture. A facile conclusion would be that
Greece’s current financial crisis is the result of deception on the part of
the government, given that structural inefficiencies were concealed by
the statistical and economic reports provided to the EU when entering
the Eurozone. However this perspective is based on the assumption
that the EU had no knowledge of the consistent historical structural
and performance inadequacies of peripheral systems like Greece. The
fact that several peripheral systems with well-known structural deficien-
cies – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain (PIIGS) – were accepted
and placed in the ‘central zone of the euro’ suggests that the EU was aware of
such vulnerabilities but accepted the risk, mainly because they intended
to take control of these economies by saddling them with more debt in
the case of crisis. This raises the question of whether such politics are
a new form of ‘colonialism through debt’ by which the repositioning of a
segmented NBS from a peripheral to a semi-peripheral status subjects it
to suboptimal financialisation of its economy, leading to the subsequent
economic and political dependency on its creditors.
For example, the assertion that the EU Common Agricultural Policy
(CAP) and structural funds sustained Greece is an exaggeration, as they
comprised only 3 per cent of GDP and much of it remained unabsorbed
due to segmentation. However, the bail-out debt imposed as the inevi-
table result of economic submission to the pressure of keeping up with
the core countries gives the EU leverage to proceed with extraordinary
political interventions in the policies of peripheral countries. In the
recent case of Cyprus, such intervention involved the illegal confisca-
tion of private property – 40 per cent of private deposits (above EUR
100,000) – which economic theory defines as a gross abuse of govern-
ment power (even though the EU is not the government). This marks
the beginning of a new legacy. Christine Lagarde characterised this
theft as ‘a lasting, durable and fully financed solution’, suggesting that
it might turn into a more frequent tactic to address the institutional fail-
ures of other peripheral and semi-peripheral economies and raise ques-
tions about the kind of political and economic intervention that stems
116 Maria Kapsali and Rea Prouska

directly from dependence on ‘debt politics’. Theft of private property

from peripheral systems unable to hold out against their creditors could
easily continue, and the only question is which ailing NBS is next in line
for this type of treatment. The opposite example of the peripheral PIIGS
is Iceland, which refused ‘interventions’ that included austerity meas-
ures and punishment of private citizens. Iceland overcame a debt ratio
of 240 per cent by reducing institutional corruption and helping citizens
and businesses to recover. Alternatives exist and can be implemented.

Conclusion: the future of the peripheral NBS

We started this chapter by challenging prevailing perceptions about

(semi-)peripheral NBS and exploring their historical development in
order to explain why they cannot be classified correctly. We presented an
explanation of an NBS that leaps from the semi-periphery to periphery
through an analysis of the historical development of institutional
segmentation and lack of coherence and stability instead of resorting
to aggregate measures, such as trade globalisation, that are less sensitive
to historical causality and upward or downward mobility within NBS
hierarchies. We suggest that adoption of a more historically segmented
approach may not only explain the reasons for the position in the hier-
archies but disclose more variation within this hierarchy, as well as
many outliers that are currently assigned to one position or another.
This is a significant topic for future research on peripheral systems: how
their legacies affect their institutional development and status in the
global system.

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Governing the Global Periphery:
Socio-economic Development in
Service of the Global Core
Sammy K. Bonsu


Walking on the streets of Accra, Ghana, I am struck by the masses

of people striding briskly in suits under the scorching sun. No one
seems bothered by this unreasonable choice of attire designed for use
in temperate and cold climates. I cannot help but ponder the source
of such misery – wearing heavy clothing and sweating profusely even
though relief, by way of breathable local cotton wear, is readily avail-
able and cheaper. Thinking about the situation, my mind is filled
with several examples of imported ideas and items that do not quite
fit the Ghanaian condition: the use of English language at the risk of
losing local languages, the aggressive pursuit of money as the only
avenue to happiness, individualism as the emerging substitute for the
community-based society that was Ghana, the preference for pack-
aged Western foods, in spite of their proven health hazard to the
locals. These are deemed the symbols of successful development and
my people are buying into it. Lord save us all!
Adapted from my personal field notes, 21 August 2012

Pondering these important matters of clothing, food and other exter-

nally influenced cultural changes, I wondered about the general issue of
development and how the superpowers of the world have and continue
to define the lives of Africans. History suggests that the so-called third
world – comprising those countries that are defined as under-developed
based on United Nations and World Bank assessments – has always been
on the periphery of global socio-economic development. Global polit-
ical power, therefore, rests at the core where the destinies of those at
the periphery are chartered. This was clearly the case in colonial times

122 Sammy K. Bonsu

when imperial Europe defined the conduct of the peoples in their colo-
nised countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas (Boahen, 1987; Falola,
2005; Rodney, 2012). Some have argued that colonialism has given way
to contemporary globalisation that affords an enhanced potential for
equality among nations. Others (e.g., Bonsu, 2009) have noted that
while the brutalities of colonialism may no longer be in direct use, the
colonial legacy maintains a core-periphery relationship that fosters the
continued subjectivisation of the ‘colonies’. Decolonisation of the mind
has not been successful and so assaults on the mind continue unabated
and those at the periphery are encouraged to assume that western norms
are better than local ones. The results are manifested in economic terms
too as square development pegs are forced to fit into round develop-
ment holes.
Consider this gloomy picture of Africa painted by Paul Lubeck in 1992:
continental Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita declined by
an annual average of 0.7 per cent between 1986 and 1990; the ratio of
gross domestic investment to GDP declined from 23.9 per cent (1980)
to 17.6 per cent (1989); gross domestic savings declined from 24 per
cent (1980) to 16 per cent (1989); and real net resource flows to Africa
declined from $24.6 billion in 1986 to $23.3 billion in 1990. This is not
a pretty picture. Two of the world’s foremost institutions dedicated to
poverty alleviation (The United Nations Organization and the World
Bank) admitted openly to the failure of their strategies to ‘stem the
tide of rising human misery’ in the 1980s (Lubeck, 1992, p. 521). The
failure was not restricted to Africa as similar conditions were observed in
varying degrees across the globe, especially in Asia and Latin America.
Attempts to mitigate this condition and its effects have included
many African countries’ adoption of structural adjustment programmes
(SAPs) sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the
World Bank Group (WBG). In Ghana, for instance, the restructuring of
the country’s economic system began in the 1980s under the Rawlings
regime. Economic development was to be achieved through a formula
proposed by international bodies at the core of the global economy,
supported by countries of the north. At the heart of the strategy was the
sale of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the proceeds of which would be
used to support governments’ regulatory role. In essence, the private
sector would replace the state as the primary engine for socio-economic
development. As in the colonial era, the imperial order commanded the
African socio-economic agenda of the 1980s. This time around, privatisa-
tion was the theme for action. Although there is talk of improved devel-
opment and hence an improvement in the conditions of the world’s
Governing the Global Periphery 123

poor today, the overall picture of global poverty is not much different
from the 1980s (e.g., Collier, 2007; Nussbaum, 2011; UNDP, 2008).
Still, efforts to reverse the appalling trends in human misery are contin-
uing. The most conspicuous of these attempts in recent memory was the
meeting of 147 heads of state and government at the United Nations
in September 2000 to fashion what would be called the Millennium
Declaration that outlined specific actions for getting the world out of
poverty by the year 2015 (Millennium Development Goals or MDGs).
Notice the active involvement of the global north in these affairs. This
and earlier efforts have been assumed under the general rubric of ‘devel-
opment’, which is aimed at eradicating poverty and increasing the
productive/consumption lot of all. Development, as an institutional
force, is expected to improve human existence through:

expanded economic opportunities and improved outcomes in

domestic and/or export markets, employment, standards of living,
and (by supposition) social conditions commonly included under
the concept of quality of life – access to quality health care, educa-
tion, cultural opportunities and civic freedom and harmony. (Klein
& Nason, 2001: 263)

Obviously, over 60 years of active development interventions have

yielded only marginal reprieve from human misery, if any (Easterly, 2006;
Litonjua, 2012). By any measure, the majority of the world’s population
still lives in poverty (Chen & Ravallion, 2012; Ravallion, 2013). Some
have even argued that these interventions have increased under-devel-
opment and disenfranchisement (e.g., Dossa, 2007; Escobar, 1995). A
common theme in these discussions is that development reneged on its
promises, providing instead an institutionalised violence of inequality,
domination and subordination of poor nations and peoples. For Sachs
(1992), the idea of development stands like a ruin in the intellectual
landscape. The question then is: what has the institution of develop-
ment done to deserve such not-too-positive assessments?
In this chapter, I interrogate the institution of development within
the logics of power and control. I do so by tracing briefly the history
of the contemporary concept of development from its colonial roots
through its re-launch by American president Harry Truman as an osten-
sible strategy for mitigating under-development and the spread of
communism (Pieterse, 1991), to its current focus on creating neo-liberal
subjectivities. My critique suggests the political and power dimensions of
development that is otherwise deemed a disinterested process of poverty
124 Sammy K. Bonsu

alleviation. In other words, development interventions seem to mask

global power play whereby the ‘developed’ sponsors of under-develop-
ment pull the strings from the core, employing western-based historical
experiences as a guide (Gubser, 2012; Rossi, 2004) and adopting colo-
nial and other control strategies as necessary (e.g., Goldsmith, 1997) to
manage the affairs of those at the periphery. Thus, the rules and strategies
for development are designed at the core and applied at the periphery,
ostensibly for the benefit of its sponsors in the global north.
Indeed, the troublesome biography of institutional development
may have been carefully and consciously orchestrated to exploit the
under-developed for the benefit of the colonial master (Dossa, 2007;
Goldsmith, 1997). However, I am cautious in my subscription to the
extension of this view into the postcolonial era where, I believe, devel-
opment discourse and practice have taken an ideological trajectory,
meaning that those involved may not always be consciously aware of
its effects. That is, while the development discourse at the global centre
(core) is the primary basis for development action at the periphery
(under-developed areas of the world), I give the benefit of the doubt to
the ‘core’ in arguing that there has not been a postcolonial conspiracy to
subjugate Africa and the rest of the developing world. Let us be nice!

Modern development

Development as we know it today gained popularity after World War Two

and more intensely after what I will describe as the Truman declaration. On
20 January 1949, President Harry Truman of the United States of America,
in his inaugural speech, declared his intention to support a necessary and
coordinated effort to address under-development. The declaration was
operationalised more concretely by John F. Kennedy when he launched
his 10-year plan (Alliance for Progress) for developing stronger economic
links with South America in 1961. The Truman-Kennedy pursuit of devel-
opment, part of the containment doctrine to keep the third world out of
Soviet influence, was supported by a philosophy of markets that called
for increased financial aid to poorer nations to bolster their economic
migration from pre-modernity through ‘take-off’ to modernity (Rostow,
1966). Modernisation in this sense meant the appearance of ‘modes
of social life or organization which emerged in Europe from about the
seventeenth century onwards and which subsequently became more or
less worldwide in their influence’ (Giddens, 1991, p. 1).
Based on Europe’s historical experience, development planners advised
that increased-cooperation between the north and south would lead to
Governing the Global Periphery 125

increased global demand and supply as well as a wider assortment of

goods and services on the market. Subsequent to this increase in supply
and demand, competitors would emerge in all aspects of the economy.
The resulting competition minimises monopolistic tendencies, thus
creating operational and cost efficiencies (Alderson, 1957; Anderson,
1970; Layton, 1985). The incremental income resulting from the savings
in production and distribution costs would make more money available
in the economy, thereby leading to increased per capita incomes through
trickle down effects (Galbraith & Holton, 1955; Layton, 1981). Increased
competition and income may lead to capital accumulation (Miracle,
1968), an essential requirement and propellant for further economic
growth and development (Nurske, 1971). The process is continuously
repeated, establishing a predictable pattern of change.
This predictable pattern of events toward achieving the goals of devel-
opment seems straightforward. However, the expected outcomes have
not materialised in the global south: poverty is still rife; food, clothing
and shelter are not guaranteed for all; preventable diseases and deaths
are common; water, health and education have been privatised to the
detriment of all, save the beneficiary firms and the wealthy individuals
attached to these firms; individualism and material pursuits have over-
taken the African penchant for community; and local cultures have given
way to the global. What is more, companies located in the global north
are exploiting these opportunities for profits. For instance, according
to the World Health Organization (WHO), a child dies every minute
from malaria. Rumour in Ghana has it that a major drug company has
developed a technique that could render the malaria-carrying mosquito
impotent and make malaria history. However, for the benefit of profits,
the company is holding back on this.
I speculate that this trend of affairs is partly because contemporary
development is grounded in Eurocentric processes of modernisation
that prioritises profits over human life (see Comaroff and Comaroff,
2006). Indeed, throughout history, the predominant point of reference
for curing under-development was the sixteenth-century transition of
western countries from agricultural to modern economies. Development,
therefore, has sought merely to reconstitute the under-developed coun-
tries in the image of the western industrialised countries, regardless of
the history and culture of the target population. Gubser (2012) put it
best when he observed that:

From colonial times through the First Development Decade of the

1960s, [development] aid projects were undertaken against the
126 Sammy K. Bonsu

backdrop of theoretical models based on Western history. In the

1940s, the new discipline of development economics sought affir-
mation from Europe’s industrial past. Early development economists
such as Paul Rosenstein-Rodan and W.A. Lewis drew on the Western
example ... Walt Rostow, the most renowned moderniser, based his
stages of growth analysis on explicit generalisations from European
history ... Even modernisation’s great antagonist – Latin American
structuralism – based its model on a historical narrative of Western
exploitation of [global] peripheries ... . Modernisation theory distilled
a relatively uniform Western template from myriad variations in order to
present Africans and Asians with their future, a procedure that mooted
the national and local experiences of both developed and developing lands.
A distilled European past remained an explicit reference, shaping the
strategies of [development] planners. (p. 1800; emphasis added)

Perhaps on the assumption that the colonised has no value to add to

their own lives, it is the ‘white man’s burden’ (see Easterly, 2006) to rid
the uncouth and undeveloped of their incivility, even if it causes harm to
the under-developed. Throughout this process, the colonial masters and
their progeny ensure subjugation of the development target. Heldring
and Robinson (2012) have implicated colonialism and its legacy in the
current state of affairs regarding development, especially in Africa:

[M]any different mechanisms have been suggested via which coloni-

alism reduced development. An earlier generation of scholars (e.g.,
Rodney, 1981) emphasized the sheer looting of African societies
by the colonial powers which undoubtedly took place, particularly
in the Congo. More recently, scholars point to the perverse effects
of particular colonial institutions, such as agricultural marketing
boards ... They also argue that the arbitrary state system created and
defended by European powers has led to political conflicts, instability
and dictatorship ... Another argument is that the colonial authorities
created ‘gate-keeper states’ which were only interested in ruling rather
than in developing the countries and these have left a path dependent
legacy in the state structures of post colonial Africa ... Others have
proposed that the political authoritarianism of the colonial state is
a direct source of the authoritarianism that has plagued Africa since
independence. (p. 17)

On this basis, I have to agree with Dossa (2007) in his argument that
development was just plain wrong – pure and simple.
Governing the Global Periphery 127

Development’s focus meant that the under-developed were defined

merely by their economic poverty, not by their humanity, histories or
culture (Esteva, 1992). The resulting essentialisation afforded by the
unitary label of ‘under-development’ supported ‘arrogant interven-
tionism from the North and pathetic self-pity in the South’ (Sachs,
1992, p. 2). It is in this context of arrogance and self-pity that one might
consider, for example, the imposition of European forms of democ-
racy such as voting rights to replace African forms of democracy such
as consensus building (Busia, 1968). The dynamics employed forced
locals to accept western norms as the standard for all things, while the
local was cast as inferior. The demand for market-driven western items
has escalated into a contemporary version of development that I have
labelled as ‘neo-liberal development’.

Neo-liberal development

Adam Smith’s classic liberal principle called for individuals and firms to
be set free to make profit and accumulate wealth, consulting only their
own interests, that is, the market is supposed to be the dominant logic
for all human activity, considering only individual rights. Neo-liberalism
has extended this principle into placing such high authority in the free
market that all matters of development are intended to be regulated by
market forces (Harvey, 2007). It perceives the state as a tyrannical entity
that constrains the freedom of the individual to pursue and accumu-
late wealth. That is, the state curtails the freedom of the individual by
interfering in the choices and opportunities that would otherwise be
open to that individual. Government must therefore be constrained and
the invisible hand of the market allowed free reign to manage what the
government is likely to mismanage – scarce resources. A government’s
only role is to facilitate the work of the private sector in encouraging
entrepreneurship among the under-developed (Hart, 2007). Individuals
and firms are, thus, relieved of all government encumbrances and
supported in their wanton pursuit of profits and wealth.
Building on the colonial legacy, neo-liberal development has taken
on a stronger market inflexion. Thus, contemporary design and prac-
tice of development emphasise material well-being (branded clothes, big
houses, all-terrain cars, etc.) at the expense of the non-material (envi-
ronmental sustainability, spirituality, community, etc.), in the name of
profits. For instance, it requires the transformation of agricultural land
into residential developments, forcing local self-sustaining communities
to engage in unsustainable practices just to survive (see UNCTAD, 2012).
128 Sammy K. Bonsu

Neo-liberalism expects all aspects of life to be subjected to the rules of

the market, assuming that is the only viable avenue for an enjoyable
human existence. The result, in part, is the relegation or eradication
of the non-material in life (spiritual, cultural, etc.) and the conversion
of self-sustaining communities into environment-devastating and soul-
crushing systems predicated on false assumptions that the world is an
infinite garbage can, an infinite resource base, with human salvation
possible only through material consumption (Bonsu & Belk, 2012).
Disguised and carefully embedded in presumed poverty alleviation
techniques such as ‘base-of-the-pyramid’ strategies (Bonsu & Polsa,
2011) and the concept of empowerment (Triantafillou & Nielsen,
2001) among others, development efforts now invite neo-liberal ideolo-
gies through its call for diminished state interests in the market except
to provide legal and other frameworks to protect capital (Harvey, 2007).
Market-driven liberalisation and regulation policies call for a drastic
reduction in the size and responsibilities of the social state, while
empowering individuals and corporations to take charge of their own
economic destinies. In the process, the state’s power to influence socio-
economic decisions and to sanction individuals and firms who do not
meet government obligations are mitigated.
Contemporary neo-liberalism perceives development as a problem
that can only be addressed through market processes that harness
governments’ careful support of relevant practices through encour-
aging citizens to appreciate the need for active participation in develop-
ment programs: for instance, dispensing grants and advice to citizens
who buy into the notion of becoming entrepreneurs. Such support is
often funded by quasi-private organisations or multinational organisa-
tions from the developed world like the Schwab Foundation for Social
Entrepreneurship, the World Bank and the Gates Foundation, to name a
few. Local resistance to the attempts to shape citizens into western-style
entrepreneurs frustrate the process, often leading to marginalisation of
the relevant under-developed nation that may be labelled as uncoopera-
tive (Robinson, 2012). All the parties cooperate in the spirit of propa-
gating capitalism for development by crafting the under-developed as
partners in the development process – even if by force, as was the case
with multinational oil companies in the oil-rich delta area of Nigeria.
The core decides, the periphery applies, locally!
Thus, the contemporary iteration of development that is neo-liberal
imagines an entrepreneurial poor who can be empowered by capitalist
processes toward individual pursuit of wealth and materialism. Whether
by intention, accident or ignorance (Dossa, 2007; Goldsmith, 1997), this
Governing the Global Periphery 129

new face of development propagates a unitary essence of development

that is supposed to be achieved only through the adoption of western-
style historical process of socio-economic and cultural transformation
grounded in individuality and related ideals. Such development requires
empowerment of target beneficiaries and must necessarily

seek to create a set of circumstances enabling the community or the

individual to bring about beneficial changes by themselves. With
participatory practices invading development interventions in order
to empower individuals and communities, a host of self-technolo-
gies have been launched whereby the poor are supposed to consti-
tute themselves as active and responsible subjects capable of taking
charge of their lives and improving the well-being of themselves and
their communities ... . Effective empowerment and increased room
for choice are entirely dependent upon particular knowledges, tech-
niques and procedures for constituting the active subject – and these
are feasible only through their investment in particular relations of
power. (Triantafillou & Nielsen, 2001, pp. 64–65)

Empowerment is not an autonomous practice that occurs in and of

itself; it must be policed carefully and rigorously to yield expected
results (Triantafillou & Nielsen, 2001). Policing empowerment for devel-
opment, however, requires none of the complex equipment of physical
surveillance and brutality that was associated with the colonial past.
However, the resulting development processes provide semblances of
colonialism (Goldsmith, 1997). Indeed, the target beneficiaries – already
essentialised into a single community of the ‘under-developed’ – are
mobilised as a collective to monitor themselves (Foucault, 1991). The
constellation of power that such a situation engenders trickles through
all aspects of beneficiaries’ lives.
Such is the current state of development – that which seemed to be
the reserved province of government (Utting, Reed & Reed, 2012) has
become an extension of the capitalist machine, seeking to mobilise
resources mainly for individual and corporate ends. Development’s
intended focus on poverty alleviation at the global periphery is only
present where relevant activities yield returns for the firm and through
an empowered poor individual. Neo-liberalism and its incursions into
development indicate a power system whereby development options are
determined at the global core and applied at the periphery. The system
draws on capitalism’s appeal to push the idea that market forces, free
trade and general freedom are the most efficient means of allocating
130 Sammy K. Bonsu

productive resources. This is in spite of the established view that market

forces, applied to development unchecked, can yield negative results such
as widespread poverty, environmental degradation and socio-economic
inequities and social discord (Dossa, 2007; Harvey, 2007; Kang, 2012;
Sennett, 1998). From this perspective, institutional development in its
contemporary form employs neo-liberal rationalities and lends itself to
theorisation within the notion of ‘governmentality’.

Governing contemporary development

Michel Foucault (1991) advanced the notion of governmentality to

suggest forms of government and power relations that are premised on
active consent and subjectivisation of the governed. Government in this
sense is not limited to the actions of the state, but entails the entire set
of techniques, knowledge and strategies of acting, notably through indi-
rect means, on the conduct of others under a range of different authori-
ties, and the practices of acting upon the self by the self (Foucault,
1991; Dean, 1999). Governmentality relates to ‘the conduct of conduct’
(Dean, 1999, p. 10), that is, the myriad ways in which human conduct
is directed by calculated means. Parties to this process are led subtly to
accept the ways of the governor as the norm and to take direct respon-
sibility for living within these norms. Those involved are unwitting
conspirators in the dynamics of change, unconsciously defining socio-
political authority that rests in no particular individual or entity but in
the collective psyche and action of the entire population. Under this

the social and regulatory operations of the state are increasingly

‘de-statized’ ... But this is not a matter of less government, as the
usual ideological formulations would have it. Rather, it indicates a
new modality of government, which works by creating mechanisms
that work ‘all by themselves’ to bring about governmental results
through the devolution of risk onto the ‘enterprise’ or the individual
(now construed as the entrepreneur of his or her own ‘firm’) and
the ‘responsibilization’ of subjects who are increasingly ‘empowered’
to discipline themselves ... . [it entails] a transfer of the operations of
government ... to non-state entities, via ‘the fabrication of techniques
that can produce a degree of “autonomization” of entities of govern-
ment from the state’ ... . The logic of the market [is] extended to the
operation of state functions, so that even the traditionally core insti-
tutions of government, such as post offices, schools, and police are if
Governing the Global Periphery 131

not actually privatized at least run according to an ‘enterprise model’.

(Ferguson & Gupta, 2002, p. 989)

A major process on which the success of regimes of government depends

is fabrication (Beckett, 2012). Fabrication occurs through constant
surveillance of the governed toward facilitating the comparison, projec-
tion and measurement of the now visible subjects, and through which
they are rendered into ordered objects of knowledge. Indeed in devel-
opment practice, the target is under constant watch of Big Brother –
the partners from the ‘developed’ world. Recall the gloomy economic
picture of Africa painted by Lubeck (1992) that I reproduced in the
introduction section of this chapter. The data were reported by various
international institutions that monitor economic performance of coun-
tries. The United Nations and the World Bank routinely monitor devel-
opment programs and people in the under-developed world and report
on these programs, often comparing performance (or providing a basis
for comparison) across under-developed countries.
A cursory review of the documents presented to those seeking to
partner with global agencies for development will show that each of
these organisations considers ‘monitoring and evaluation’ as a vital
part of its programs. Monitoring and evaluation allow for ensuring that
the project is operating in accordance with the prescriptions and in the
interest of the donor. For instance, CIDA has recently introduced what it
describes as a ‘performance management framework’ as part of its results
based management tool for development projects. According to CIDA
(Canadian International Development Agency) (http://www.acdi-cida.

[P]erformance measurement framework is a plan to systematically

collect relevant data over the lifetime of an investment to assess and
demonstrate progress made in achieving expected results. It docu-
ments the major elements of the monitoring system and ensures
that performance information is collected on a regular basis. It also
contains information on baseline, targets, and the responsibility for
data collection.

What is important to note is that ‘development [projects are] always

initiated with a specific goal in mind, and although developers portray
themselves as “facilitators”, they still know where the process ought
to end’ (Nustad, 2001, p. 481). The goals, often based on the devel-
oped country’s experiences, are routinely monitored to ensure that the
132 Sammy K. Bonsu

beneficiary country is moving in the intended direction. As was the case

with development programs in the Peruvian Andes recently, local devel-
opment partners were concerned primarily with devising measurable
project achievements in a limited period in order to secure contracts and
legitimise their engagements, and to avoid conflicts with other stake-
holders (Kang, 2012). This suggests conformity to surveillance expecta-
tions. Those countries and organisations deemed successful by donors’
predetermined measures are showcased as in the case of Ghana that is
currently being celebrated as the poster country for the cause of neo-
liberal development.
Surveillance now occurs through various electronic means that have
become a normal aspect of the reporting systems of development project
execution. Consider Kiva, an organisation that bills itself as contributing
to development by way of microfinance through ‘crowd sourcing’. Kiva
visits its target groups and reports performance on its web pages and
associated spaces. Kiva provides very detailed information about partner
organisations and the direct beneficiaries. As a beneficiary pays off his or
her loan, a report is generated that is sent to the benefactor. Thus, Kiva
has generated a rich database of information on beneficiaries of their
development program.
CIDA, USAID, World Bank and several other development institutions
support projects dubbed ‘e-government’, ‘e-parliament’, ‘e-reporting’
and others intended to increase the speed of reporting in the age of elec-
tronics and globalisation. These organisations now support the conver-
sion of development monitoring reports into electronic formats. Where
such technologies support the interaction between surveillance instru-
ments and strategies of control, as they seem to do in the case of these
development organisations, Foucauldian biopower emerges in excessive
doses (Foucault, 2003). Biopower here, in Foucault’s terms, refers to how
capitalist states exert control over citizens through surveillance by way
of statistics and probabilities. It involves strategic intervention by the
state or other entity on a collective level for the benefit of individuals’
health and life. For instance, a ruling party may use constant polling
to determine the likely responses to actions on a health bill and then
design ways that they can get people to behave and think in specific
ways to the party’s benefit. Development agencies employ similar tech-
niques to design strategic approaches for achieving their intended objec-
tives. Here, the core imposes subtly, the periphery enforces vigorously.
If Haggerty and Ericson (2000, p. 606) are correct in their analysis
of databases, then the information gathered on development benefi-
ciaries become part of a massive classification system that operates ‘by
abstracting human bodies from their territorial settings and separating
Governing the Global Periphery 133

them into a series of discrete flows. These flows ... can be scrutinized and
targeted for intervention’. Thus, development programs’ incorporation
of electronic monitoring systems allows for ease of surveillance and
carefully considered development interventions. Removing the human
face of development, as such data are apt to do, allows for deepening
the fabrication of intended beneficiaries in the under-developed world.
As Beckett (2012, p. 4) notes, regimes of governmentality reflect on the
nature of the governed subjects and the types of behaviour the governor
seeks to promote. Targets routinely reflect on their performances in rela-
tion to the defined norms in efforts to conform.
It is quite common to constitute targets as free and empowered agents
whose input into their own development is required. Triantafillou and
Nielsen (2001) reported on how Moroccan and South-East Asian women
were deemed empowered through participatory practices to facilitate
their development. The researchers observed that the inclusive efforts
‘serve to install and maintain norms of activism and self-assertion. It is
through the group that the individual woman [ ... ] subjectives herself
as a citizen’ (2001, p. 80) and takes responsibility for her development.
They concluded that empowerment in this context does not mean
transfer of power to those who had little or none, but as a technology
seeking to create self-governing and responsible individuals.
Constitution of the development beneficiary as an individual respon-
sible for his or her own well-being is at the core of many discussions on
the nature of contemporary development. Problems with such consti-
tution include the assumed equity of access to the requisite resources
for material well-being. As it is, the privileged who has better access to
resources (education, support funds, etc.) will remain privileged while
those with little or no access might remain under-privileged forever.
Worse still, all risk associated with human existence is shifted to the
individual who must now find interesting ways to survive without the
support of the commons.
In this regard, Bonsu and Polsa (2011, p. 4) recognise the Base-of-
the-Pyramid (BoP) strategy as a development strategy that supports the
vicious circle of poverty for the under-privileged as the strategy recon-
ceptualises development as ‘a purposeful crafting of the poor as part-
ners in a mutually beneficial set of market processes, yielding enhanced
value that is shared – albeit inequitably – among partners’.
The ideals of the market logic rest within the confines of the freedom
that are allowed for the target as beneficiaries of development are
expected to behave in specific ways: accepting norms and practices
often handed down by external stakeholders (e.g., Kang, 2012), working
actively to help the individual and the firm assume more control while
134 Sammy K. Bonsu

minimising the role of the state (Bonsu & Polsa, 2011) and assuming an
entrepreneurial stance and hence more risk in all relevant transactions.
Indeed, it is quite common in development circles for funding to be
contingent on certain conditions specified by the donor. Consider yet
again Canada’s foreign aid policy that rendered ineligible for Canadian
aid any country that allowed legal abortions (Smith, 2010). Here was
a partner from the north using development aid to force a particular
type of behaviour, thereby constituting beneficiaries as anti-abortionists
who, once normalised into this way of thinking, would take it upon
themselves to police anti-abortionist behaviour in their home countries.
These sponsored modes of behaviour and other aspects of a development
project may be in conflict with the locals’ views and expectations (e.g.,
Kang, 2012; Rossi, 2004). However, the political power of the sponsor
renders the locals impotent to defend themselves against the global
north. Once again, we observe a sponsored development frame from the
core disseminated to the periphery in the service of the sponsor.

Concluding remarks

In a recent speech, Canada’s international co-operation minister Julian

Fantino outlined the country’s new direction for foreign development
aid. Among other things, he observed that

[w]hile we have a long history of working with the private sector

as executing agencies, the fact is that we need to engage even more
. ... The private sector is the driver of long-term economic growth
globally for us. And without an increasing presence in the developing
world, we will not achieve the development goals we’re committed to
achieve at CIDA ... CIDA can help develop the capacity to negotiate
with other countries, implement international commercial agree-
ments with Canada and other trading partners and help firms benefit
from these agreements. We will be doing more of this in the future.
(Globe and Mail. 26 November 2012; emphasis added)

This statement reflects the direction of development the world over:

removing the state from development as profit-oriented institutions
take over; training individuals to willingly assume the risks associated
with cooperating with the institutions that now govern their well-being.
Several practitioners and thinkers celebrate this new logic as a moment of
empowerment for the target beneficiaries. I perceive it as a practice that
strips the individual of his or her power to resist the current trend that
places the firm over the state and the individual. Such disempowerment
Governing the Global Periphery 135

occurs through the use of subtle, non-coercive power to alter commu-

nities and their modes of organisation. How can a mining company
(Newmont in Ghana) relocate a community in its efforts to gain access to
mineral resources in the community without disrupting the local culture?
The company also redefined the mode of living of the citizens through
training programmes intended to help them adjust in their new location.
The governed – those in the under-developed world (the periphery) – are
led to assume certain responsibilities as if they were foreign in their own
countries. They have been trained to assume that self-regulation by way
of individual conformity to market expectations (e.g., assuming entre-
preneurial postures in hope of economic freedom) will yield individual
economic returns. However, as I have suggested, the ultimate benefits
of contemporary development do not accrue to the governed but to the
sponsors at the global core and the larger institutions who govern.
The foregoing leaves us little or no hope for development as one is
encouraged to agree with Dossa (2007):

As delivered by the West, development assaults extant life-forms in

the South. It explicitly colonizes their life-world; it consciously seek
to supersede and supplant the living structures and values of life. It
is thus endured as an alien invasion, as cultural intrusion, intended
to kill native ways of life. Development ... is colonial, lethal and
unwanted by its objects ... Development is whereby other peoples
are dominated ... appropriated and turned into objects ... whereby
the ‘developed’ countries manage, control and even create the third
world’. (p. 888)

What I have tried to do in this chapter is to suggest that development

as an institution has maintained the promise of colonialism that prof-
fered the subjugation of the colonised to the advantage of the coloniser.
Having been transformed from its noble roots as a metaphor for modern-
isation into an oppressive apparatus of social transformation that works
in the interest of its sponsors, development no longer carries with it
the cache that it did in its early postcolonial years of implementation
when the promise of hope for the world was greatest. While the colonial
dimensions of contemporary development may not exhibit the crude
and brutal features of the past, it is nonetheless present and constitutes
a lethal assault unleashed from the global core on the global periphery.
Going back to where I started this chapter – on the streets of Accra,
Ghana – I see the emerging skyline that resembles that of any large city
in the north; I see ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ (the slum neighbourhood
where some of society’s marginalised reside). I constantly experience the
136 Sammy K. Bonsu

abandonment of the traditional code of conduct where helping one’s

neighbour was more noble than trampling on that neighbour for mate-
rial gains. Decolonising the African mind, as Ngugi (1986) would note,
seems quite far away. Of course, material obsessions fed by the global
core (money, media, drugs, and rock & roll, etc.) engulf the periphery
that seeks economic redemption through contemporary development.
Foreign products have uprooted Indigenous options, mercilessly. Firms
from the global north are ready for picking their ripe profits, as the masses
are encouraged through various development and related techniques to
perceive westernisation as ‘progress’. I see a movement of wealth and
resources from the periphery to the core, which is then reconstituted as
power for the core. On this note, I have to conclude that the promise of
development as an effective avenue for human progress is no longer a
tenable proposition. An alternative to development must be sought.
Does this mean that we must abandon any hope of achieving the
motto of the World Bank: ‘Working for a World Free of Poverty’? I do
not think so. There is hope! The periphery must rise as was the case
when periphery countries at the last Doha round came together to resist
the core’s insistence on removing agricultural subsidies to farmers in
the periphery while such subsidies were maintained and used to help
farmers at the core. I hear you ask: ‘what is your hope for the core-pe-
riphery relationship?’ Well, I hope for a future where the core-periphery
distinction is unnecessary; a future where the core, if it exists, will make
actual sacrifices for the betterment of the periphery; a future where neo-
liberal rationalities recognise that people do matter and that the hope for
a better future takes the interest of the under-developed to heart for pure
altruistic reasons. Take me to Utopia!

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Transforming the Institutional
Logic of the Centre through
Indigenous Wisdom
Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

Introduction: the Logic of the Centre

We posit that the system for development intensifying globally is gener-

ated from what we are calling the Logic of the Centre, a set of values and
interests expressed and imposed through market mechanisms under-
pinned by system-preserving instrumental ethics. We seek to contribute
to the growing exposure of embedded contradictions and paradoxes
internal to the Logic of the Centre that are more likely to come under
examination when aspects of its taken-for-granted attractiveness are
challenged in some way. We recognise that exposure of contradictions,
conflicts and paradoxes in a system does not automatically bring systemic
transformation. We persist in such exposure, however, as a starting point
to move from observation to analysis and to support and amplify action.
In support of this transformational scholarly mobilisation we draw on
the work of Seo and Creed (2002) who invite exposure of contradictions
and paradoxes as a form of praxis. We juxtapose the Logic of the Centre
with contrasting ideas drawn from Indigenous ways of being in order
to find conversations through which we may transform our relation-
ships with each other, with Earth and with all her creatures. We offer
an adaptation of a governance metaphor that might allow for integrity
in the co-ordination of diverse values in our cohabitation on and with
Earth. This challenge to the prevailing mode of development calls for a
relational ethic to transform the system preserving instrumentalism that
now prevails in the justification of the economic prioritisation that is
degrading our humanity and exploiting Earth. As an illustration of the
potential of such an ethic we provide a sketch of a re-visioning of the
relationship between River (as the lifeblood of Earth) and Humanity (as
dependent on that lifeblood).

140 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

The dominating institutional Logic of the

Centre and its critique

With waves rising ever higher ... the oceans are ... sending a signal that
something is seriously wrong with our current model of economic
Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations secretary general, Pacific Forum
Address, September 2011

According to Korten (2001) the rise of mighty multinational corpora-

tions poses significant concern to modern society. Over a decade ago
Kofi Annan, then secretary general of the United Nations, echoed this
concern when he said he was keen to

bring home the uncomfortable truth that the model of development

that has prevailed for so long, has been fruitful for the few but flawed
for the many ... . The world today, facing the twin challenges of
poverty and pollution, needs to usher in a season of transformation
and stewardship, a season in which we make a long overdue invest-
ment in a secure future. (Reported in Washington Post, 3 September
2002, p. 6)

The Logic of the Centre that generates, manifests and polices this
system of development has overshadowed and disciplined to subju-
gation all other possibilities. We posit that the values and interests of
self-proclaimed free-marketeers have been enabled and endorsed by
national governments and international instruments of legitimacy.
They have become so embedded in so many communities, organisa-
tions and personal identities that they appear like immutable aspects of
an assumed natural order.
The Logic of the Centre, we posit, is a logic that serves the privileged
few most consistently. It is a logic that disciplines and orders both the
centre and the periphery – but not uniformly. Elevated to an all-en-
compassing ethos, neo-liberal ideas manifest as heightened competi-
tive individualism and accelerated consumerism made palatable by a
simultaneous promulgation of the myth of meritocracy. This achieve-
ment includes the selective harnessing of neo-liberal values, the skilful
assimilation or tolerance of some obvious paradoxes, contradictions,
and aspects of diverse value systems. This expansion of the reach of the
Logic of the Centre gives a semblance of inclusion of diverse individuals,
once excluded ethnic groups, newly available workforces, and distant
Transforming the Institutional Logic 141

geographic regions and so on. The majority of people on Earth however,

remain vulnerable, even in the apparent security of The Centre. The
prevailing institutional logic is one of competition, of winners and
losers. Status is generated from a shallow, deluded or dishonest call on
the principles of meritocracy as the only just way to distribute oppor-
tunities and outcomes and the whole system is supported by an instru-
mental ethic of justification. There are, however, other forms of logic we
might entertain to organise our humanity and we invite for considera-
tion those that are generated from a relational ethic.
Many relational ethics are to be found thriving or struggling for artic-
ulation at The Periphery (see, e.g., Cajete, 2000; Cordova, 2007; LaDuke,
1999; Spiller et al., 2011b; Williams et al., 2012). These thriving or
struggling challenges to the assumed natural(ised) and universal(ising)
ordering of our humanity and relationship with Earth can be brought
to greater scrutiny when the internal contradictions of this order are
examined or when its values can be contrasted with alternative ideas
that may better meet the challenges of social instability and environ-
mental degradation that are now associated with the Logic of the Centre
(cf. Stiglitz, 2010, 2012).
The critique of the Logic of the Centre is no longer only the domain
of critical organisation theorists once relegated to the periphery of
academia. More people once enchanted by the Logic of the Centre are
willing to consider that the implementation of this logic may be the
source of many social and environmental ills (Moore and Nelson, 2010;
Speth, 2004). It is notable, for example, that Joseph Stiglitz (2010), World
Bank chief economist from 1997 to 2000, explains the 2008 worldwide
economic downturn as a result of flawed economic ideologies, systemic
flaws in the financial system that allow unbridled greed to manifest
as fraud on a massive scale and unsustainable consumption set atop
a shifting pile of debt. That the trajectory of the Logic of the Centre
is destructive of people and planet now reaches well into mainstream
conversations in the Academy, exemplified for instance by the choice of
‘Capitalism in Question’ as the theme for the Academy of Management
meeting in 2013. In the broader management educational realm there
is a growing sense that ‘the system’ appears to be in danger of (self)-
destruction. This recognition from within the organisational disciplines
may be akin to the scientific community’s realisation that polar ice caps
are melting and that our ways of being human are implicated (Reason,
2007; Stiglitz, 2010). The expression of concern and the promulgation of
remedies remain largely framed in a US/Eurocentric view of justice, effi-
ciency and possibility. The tenets of capitalism in general remain well
142 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

defended and even glamorised through the advocates of free market

models of development who meet at the World Economic Forum in
Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, each January. Neo-liberalism appears to
have been saved from self-destruction invited by its more overtly preda-
tory off-springs and may even have been strengthened by the exercise of
self-defence in the face of some strenuous challenges.
This logic favours large corporations as the new moral guardians of
development and the harbingers of a more just and sustainable future. It
relegates all other ways of thinking and being to the periphery. Yet, the
manifestation of this logic is increasingly associated with systemically
generated social disparities and intensifying environmental degrada-
tion. This will remain the case while the institutional logics that mani-
fest as the Logic of the Centre remain intact.

Institutional logics: informing, ensuring, embedding the

Logic of the Centre
Institutional logics are the ‘taken for granted’ beliefs that guide behav-
iour through legitimated identities, institutionalised organisational
forms and the strategic behaviours these encourage (Seo and Creed,
2002). A specific institutional logic is the set of material practices and
symbolic systems including assumptions, values and beliefs by which
individuals and organisations provide meaning to their daily activity,
organise time and space, and reproduce their lives and experiences.
An institutional logic allows for the shaping of the rules by which the
validity of reasoning can be assessed. It sets in place how rationality is
perceived and experienced. The related assumptions, norms, and beliefs
influence legitimate identities, organisational forms and strategic behav-
iours allow daily life to flow smoothly (Glynn and Lounsbury, 2005;
Suddaby and Greenwood, 2005).
Institutional logics as a distinct theoretical orientation has grown from
the challenges to neo-institutional theory to incorporate the consid-
eration of ‘macro structure, culture and agency, through cross-level
processes ... that explain how institutions both enable and constrain
action ... restore the sensibilities of the role of actors and structures while
revealing multi- and cross-level processes and mechanisms’ (Thorton
et al., 2012, pp. vi–vii). A focus on institutional logics invites a recogni-
tion that institutions operate at multiple levels of analyses, that actors
are nested in higher order levels of human organisation and that despite
difficulties of doing so, there is the potential for cross-level interaction
effects (Thornton et al., 2012). A strength of the theory is the acknowl-
edgement of and interest in the opportunities for and constraints on
Transforming the Institutional Logic 143

change that may come about from dialectic tension between competing
institutional orders that can be detected at the global, national, regional,
local, organisational and community levels, each with both consistent
and contradictory material and symbolic elements within and across
fields (Thorton et al., 2012). This recognition of the possibility for new
sense-making in generally accepted ways of being that may be generated
from inevitable cognitive tensions invites the examination of the scope
for change in a vested order. It alerts us to the out-workings of vested
interest and unequal formal and informal power and influence in the
enactment or resistance to institutional change.
Over several hundred years, various capitalist formations have
emerged with expressed emancipatory values. They have been justified
as a system of social cohesiveness and integration by some, and criti-
cised as inherently divisive and exploitative by others (Sennet, 2006).
Corporate business activities, their enabling legislatures and the social
norms that sustain their legitimacy are similarly perceived and assessed
in a variety of ways. We take the position that the predominant form of
capitalism being intensified the world over is generated from an instru-
mental, seemingly amoral market logic that claims legitimacy through
its association with the emancipatory values of neo-liberalism. The
institutional logic that drives this form of capitalist expression selec-
tively promulgates the neo-classical economic view that social and envi-
ronmental considerations must be kept external to the business realm
(cf. Marcus et al., 2010) but that isolation of market orientation is to
diminish the isomorphism of the various instruments of social co-or-
dination, vested interests and embedded power. ‘Modern societies are
typically more influenced by the logics of the state, the professions,
the corporation, and the market’ argue Thornton et al. (2012, p. 12).
We agree with them to some extent but we posit that the corporation’s
influence is eclipsing all others, and in its justification for survival and
control, expansion and intensification, the corporate logic harnesses
and subjugates all other influences to its service. Observers of these
dynamics call this ‘predatory capitalism’ which, though not referring
to a new form of corporate activity, has come under more intense scru-
tiny as banks, financial institutions and corporations deemed too big to
fail are bailed out by taxpayers’ dollars and losses are worn by millions
of small shareholders and pension fund holders. Breakouts of reactions
and protests provide momentary glimpses of media interest and hopeful
demands for change – but order is soon restored. The hegemony of the
Centre, while never water tight, is soon made secure. We offer as an
illustration of such a system-preserving dynamic through a focus on the
144 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

outcomes of attempts by the Ogoni people to restore their well-being

after the entry and exit of the Royal Dutch Shell and rapacious corpora-
tions on their lands.

Sidestepping culpability and liability: Royal Dutch Shell

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) was ranked eighth by Forbes top 2000 list in
2012. It is a wealthy and powerful corporation with a highly visible
global identity. Shell came under significant scrutiny and pressure over
its activities in the region of the Niger Delta known as Ogoniland.
In 2011, a United Nations report criticised Shell and other multina-
tionals, and the Nigerian government, for 50 years of oil pollution in
the region (UNEP, 2011). The report claimed that the area, where Shell
now no longer operates, needs the world’s biggest-ever oil clean-up.
It is anticipated that this clean-up would take 25 years and cost an
initial $1 billion (UNEP, 2011). The early history of this story is told
in detail in a trilogy of papers by Boele et al. (2001). Generations of
people, note Boele et al. (2001), would continue to be impoverished
and suffer diminished health. Many will die prematurely. For bringing
this travesty of western ideals of justice to the attention of the world,
Ken Saro Wiwa and nine others activists were hanged in 1995. Boele
et al. (2001, p. 194) suggest that it is tempting to speculate that the
events of 1995 ‘were sufficiently shocking to the Shell system that they
created the essential conditions for radical change but the reality was
probably more prosaic’. We take up the story of the Ogoni struggle to
illustrate how the embeddedness of the institutional knowledge that
bolsters the Logic of the Centre manifests in and perpetuates the insti-
tutions of the Corporation, the State and Stockholders. A human rights
case against Shell resulted in a $15.5 million settlement in 2009. The
story continues:

Jennie Green, a lawyer with the Centre for Constitutional Rights who
initiated the lawsuit in 1996, said: ‘This was one of the first cases
to charge a multinational corporation with human rights violations,
and this settlement confirms that multinational corporations can no
longer act with the impunity they once enjoyed’.
The deal follows three weeks of intensive negotiation between the 10
plaintiffs, mainly drawn from relatives of the executed Ogoni nine,
and Shell. The oil giant, and its Nigerian subsidiary Shell Petroleum
Development Company, continue to dismiss all the claims made
against them, saying they played no part in the violence that swept
southern Nigeria in the 1990s.
Transforming the Institutional Logic 145

The company said it was making the payment in recognition of the

tragic turn of events in Ogoni land. ‘While we were prepared to go to
court to clear our name, we believe the right way forward is to focus
on the future for Ogoni people’, Malcolm Brinded, a Shell director,
said. (Pilkington 8 June 2009)

Laudable intentions or system preserving adaptation?

In 2013, further claims against Shell for oil spills in Ogoniland resulted
in mixed verdicts. Staff writer for The Guardian, Fiona Harvey writes:

Shell was acquitted in a Dutch court on Wednesday morning of most

of the charges against it for pollution in Nigeria, where disputed oil
spills have been a long-running source of contention between the oil
company, local people and environmental campaigners.
The case involved five allegations of spills in Nigeria, and four of these
were quashed by the court. On the fifth count, Shell was ordered to
pay compensation, of an amount yet to be decided.1

Shell and their shareholders cannot deny that the devastation of the
Ogoni and their lands has enriched them. Their abdication from liability
and rejection of responsibility for the ongoing consequences of their
activities would seem contradictory to a worldview espousing inclusion
in the benefits of development and opportunities from market engage-
ment. The discussion of the case in the media ought perhaps to have
generated an external jolt to our collective conscience, a conscience
pricked each time we tank up at Shell. The outcome ought, perhaps,
to invite us into a deep enquiry into the institutional logic that allows
Shell to walk away from any ongoing responsibility for the well-being
of the Ogoni people and their lands. The Logic of the Centre, however,
prevails. From exploration to exploitation, from drilling to hanging,
from wealth extraction for distant investors to local poverty entrench-
ment, all is justified as reasonable, just and right.
The potentially transformational call to our collective conscience
and to the Shell stakeholders in particular was soon absorbed into the
stabilisation of Shell and the incremental securing of the corporate capi-
talist agenda in general. Shell, the Nigerian government and the Dutch
Court appear to be unwilling or unable to fully restore the conditions for
healthy living for the people of Ogoniland. Governments, their courts
and powerful corporations appear to see the world through the Logic of
the Centre in which corporate profits are the priority and responsibilities
are defined. Shell may well argue that it is now using its massive surpluses
146 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

to develop new types of clean energies and markets to distribute these.

They may argue that their existence as a large corporation creates jobs
and brings development and stability to otherwise under-developed and
disordered regions of the world. In other words, their remedy for the
resolution of undeniable systemic damage is the further investment in
the market model, the system based on the Logic of the Centre that
has served them and their investors so well. Their investment in this
logic seems to grant them liberal indulgence of nation states. Increasing
investment by pension funds in these corporations indirectly embroils
ordinary people in corporate destinies and invites collusion, tolerance
or (un)conscious endorsement of corporate capitalism by ever more
people. As in the case of Shell and the Ogoni, we suggest, however, that
more of the same will not deliver different outcomes, and this, argued
Wheeler et al. (2001, p. 192), ‘does not necessarily auger well for consist-
ency of application of principles of sustainability’. And we agree. But
where would we look for something radically different?

Travesties of justice as transformational opportunities

In the (non)response to the Dutch Court’s decision about the levels of
responsibility to be accorded the Royal Dutch Shell, large swaths of the
global population may feel reassured that justice has been done. We can
fill our gas tanks with an apparently clear conscience. We can choose to
believe that our human duty of care for each other and for Earth has been
enacted by the system. The interests of shareholders have been served but
the devastation of the people of the Ogoni region and the destruction of
their land and livelihoods continues (UNEP, 2011). Attention is drawn
away from the distorted ethics whereby the liability for the well-being of
the Ogoni and their land seems to fall neither on the corporations nor
the state. This must surely be a travesty of the inclusiveness principle
expressed in both the value of liberal markets in leading solutions to
social and as articulated in expressions of environmental concerns and
the duty of democratic governance to serve all equally.
What good can come of ‘working’ this apparent contradiction or
paradox we have put under investigation? The differing voices in this
story, we suggest, bring to light a contradiction in our claims for justice
and environmental concerns. The story brings a potentially vibrant
contribution to the necessary transformation of our human being
should we be serious about aspirations for universal inclusiveness and a
restoration to Earth of the vibrant energy that supports all life. We argue,
however, that such a transformation will not come about if the Logic of
the Centre is to be our guiding light.
Transforming the Institutional Logic 147

The very noticing that the origins of any human logic originates in
the human imagination and may have local variations and contingen-
cies opens all logic to challenge and potential transformation. While
a prevailing institutional logic that attains a privileged position or a
hegemonic state can confer legitimacy, order and ontological security
at micro, meso and macro levels during a particular historical period,
such dominant institutional logics may be contested by competing or
conflicting logics that shift over time, sometimes in response to exog-
enous jolts (Glynn & Lounsbury, 2005). Recent economic and environ-
mental crises may be the type of jolts that might begin to shift dominant
institutional logics towards a position of vulnerability. To date, these
jolts, particularly visible in the repercussions of the sub-prime debacle
and worldwide recession, have, however, been met with pressure on
various populations to accept austerity measures, reduced incomes and
diminished conditions of service. Exorbitant executive salaries appear
to be sacrosanct.2 It seems that for now the Logic of the Centre has
survived this current spate of crises reasonably intact.3
Seo and Creed (2002) remind us that no matter how robust a hegem-
onic order may appear no hegemony is ever water tight. Any hegemony
may be unsettled by rising tensions from within or disruption from
without. Such hegemony may be challenged by strategically planned
or inadvertent confrontation of ideas forged at the periphery. The case
for the Ogoni people, however, would suggest that the systemic Logic
of the Centre is remarkably impervious to such challenges. We suggest
that while the internal contestations to injustices must persist, there
may be more fruit in bringing about a deep shift in the consciousness of
humanity – a transformation of the very institutional logic that supports
the Logic of the Centre. It is to this aspiration we now turn our attention
by adding our voice of Indigenous peoples who insist on maintaining
the integrity of their traditional and spiritual values and kin-connection
with a living Mother Earth.

Indigenous knowledge: harbinger of a relational


Dr. Chellie Spiller posits that closer attention to the values of Indigenous
people may hold more transformational traction in the transformation
of the life destroying outcomes of the Logic of the Centre. She writes:

I believe that some of the walls of perception about Indigenous busi-

ness are coming down, and the example of the Lenape peoples in
148 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

Manhattan describes the shift taking place. Manhattan is Lenape

for ‘the Island’. A wall was built on the lower reaches of Manhattan
to keep the Lenape peoples out and became Wall Street, a financial
epicenter too often associated with unbridled corporate greed and
self-interest. In a paradoxical twist a new era is being ushered in. As
Wall Street faces challenges in the wake of a Global Financial Crisis,
the Lenape and descendants of those who built the original Wall,
along with other business leaders, are working to create a Lenape
Center. This represents a remarkable turning point as Indigenous
wisdom re-enters Manhattan. The Lenape example is a rallying cry
that invites the wider business community to work together in part-
nership with ... Indigenous peoples to co-create sustainable business
models that ensure a healthy future for all.4

We contrast the optimistic view expressed by Dr. Spiller with the

outcomes for the Ogoni people who have pursued justice through the
employment of the Logic of the Centre with little satisfaction. The call
to partnership could hold the seeds of a different model of develop-
ment. We remain cautious of the power of the Centre to harness diverse
interests under the increasing numbers of partnership agreements with
governments, civil society organisations and Indigenous communities
in their claim to being better corporate citizens. We concur, however,
that a re-invigoration of a relational ethic is needed. Such an ethic is to
be found in the moral considerations central to many – but not only in –
Indigenous cultures. Such logics, however, are rendered peripheral in
the Logic of the Centre. We review aspects of such ethical thinking here
and then illustrate the creativity of such an orientation in a potential
re-visioning of a relationship between River and people.

Amplifying alternative logics from the periphery:

a relational ethic
Relationality underlies commonalities among values expressed by many
but not all nor only Indigenous thinkers (for non-Indigenous examples,
see, e.g., Gergen, 2009; Hosking et al., 1995; Jonas, 1984; Reason, 1998,
2007). Such relationality has found religious expression in, for example,
the writing, art and music of European Hildegaard von Bingen in the
twelfth century (Fox, 2002). Such a relational ethic is implicit in Marcus
et al.’s (2010) embedded view of business, society and nature that recog-
nises nature as a circle encompassing society which in turn encompasses
business. They note that businesses and other human activities rely
upon nature for sustenance. They remind us that nature does not need
Transforming the Institutional Logic 149

humans (or business) to survive. Without us, she may better regenerate
it would seem.
The instrumental ethic generated to support a mandate of growth in
production and consumption serves economic priorities expressed as
the Logic of the Centre even as the Centre claims to be concerned with
sustainability and justice. In contrasting this dominating ethic with
wide reaching relational ethical systems relegated to the periphery, a
creative tension may be set up. This tension may have the potential to
call us to reflection and to inspire new ways of being human. We call
for an emphasis on relational ethics to counter the prevailing instru-
mental ethics of the Logic of the Centre that seems to govern almost
all institutions – be they institutions of markets, religion or culture. In
proffering a reflection on Indigenous knowledge systems and wisdom,
we are mindful and respectful of the unique and diverse expressions
and concerns across and within Indigenous communities and among
western thinkers whose ethics stand in contrast to the amoral instru-
mentality associated with the market logic that underpins much
western organisational theory and practice. We believe, however, that
there are commonalities that provide wisdom for common exploration.
In such traditions, communities were and are organised through a rela-
tional logic. This perspective assumes the interdependence and inter-
connectedness of all, responsibility to and respect for all living things
and the Earth, and a metaphysical dimension that links past, present
and future together (Cajete, 2000; Cordova, 2004; Cordova, 2007; Spiller
et al., 2011a, 2011b; Williams et al., 2012). This latter element extends
responsibility to honour the past and to ensure sustainability for future
generations. It is expressed by Māori Marsden who draws on Einstein for
a parallel: ‘[T]he rhythmical patterns of pure energy’ woven together by
a voice of the Universe into a fabric of relationships (Royal, 2003, pp.
xiii–iv). Under a relational ethic, Shell’s responsibility would extend to
all future generations affected by its past, present and future actions.
A relational ethic characterises the expression of many Indigenous
cultures the world over. This ethic emphasises the interconnectedness of
all things. This interconnectedness carries with it responsibilities. Thus,
humans are embedded in natural systems rather than being external to
them. The values include care, respect, humility and balance in human
and non-human relationships (Cajete, 2000). For instance, humility
means that humanity is not superior to other creatures, and responsi-
bility for those creatures is encompassed in care and respect. Moreover,
the spiritual, natural and social realms are not severable or differentiated
notions of value and wisdom but are inextricably intertwined (Cajete,
150 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

2000). This is in stark contrast with the Logic of the Centre in which
spiritual matters are relegated to the periphery. All parts of creation are
infused with spirit and are accorded respect. The amplification of this
ethic provides an opportunity to make a shift from typical postcolo-
nial marginalisation, silencing and exclusion of Indigenous peoples,
perspectives and interests, to respect and inclusion through active
participation. Thus, it is one possible path to transcend the privileging
of corporate market interests over that of Indigenous and societal inter-
ests in natural resources. It is expressed in its most explicit and applied
sense in Bolivia’s recent commitment to enshrining the rights of Mother
Earth in law and policy (Vidal, 2011). In places as diverse as Africa,
Canada, the United States, Asia, the Pacific and the northern reaches of
Scandinavia, Indigenous people are raising their voice in insisting that
the Logic of the Centre does not serve them, and at times does them
grievous harm. There is now a substantial literature on aboriginal land
and water management. Learning from Indigenous traditional practices
to improve contemporary organisational practice appears to be on the
rise (see, e.g., Baker et al., 2001; Luckert et al., 2007; Taylor, 1995). In
management education this discussion has reached conference calls and
specialist journals that reach beyond the specific needs and interests of
Indigenous communities (see, e.g., Fitzgibbons & Humphries, 2011).
Indigenous people are calling for the enforcements of the rights to live
out their own institutional logics (Humphries & Verbos, 2011; Verbos
& Humphries, 2011). One way this call has been made much more
accessible to a wider world is through the United Nations Declaration
of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We develop our considerations to
make our contribution to the growing influence of this Declaration. As
a macro-level legitimising mechanism, the Declaration provides a basis
for asserting the underlying Indigenous rights in relation to corporate
actions that affect them. In December 2012, the Global Compact prom-
ulgated an exposure draft of a Business Reference Guide to advance the
Declaration through the Global Compact,5 a move that we applaud.
Shell is a corporation that espouses good corporate citizenship in
the global context. Shell is a signatory to the Global Compact. Yet, we
suggest, while the legal decisions that have been made with regard to
Shell’s culpability and responsibility for the situation in Ogoniland may
well be correct in law, justice has not been delivered to the people of the
Ogoni region. Land and waterways remain polluted. Opportunities for
secure livelihoods and healthy lives are severely curtailed. Shell’s actions
during their time in the Niger Delta are not right actions. How might
a relational ethic provide a different kind of guidance to our decisions
Transforming the Institutional Logic 151

about right actions? For this part of the discussion we turn to the pollu-
tion of waterways of a different country, Aotearoa/New Zealand, a
land that prides itself on its clean green image. Here the worldview of
Māori, the Indigenous people of this land, has influenced significantly
the prevailing colonial power as evidenced in the increased visibility of
Māori claims for restitution of breaches of justice and their insistence on
the integration of Māori values in the many institutions that combine
to constitute the Logic of the Centre – most recently in determination to
co-govern major waterways of the country.6 Māori offer ways to rethink
not only our attitudes to water, but a worldview that may offer radical
remedies for the devastations that flow from the effects of an unbridled
neo-liberalism and it thriving on unequal relationships. We provide a
small and humble outsider explanation of how Te Ao Māori (The Māori
World) is being articulated in the wider contemporary Aotearoa/New
Zealand. We do so in order to introduce Tarawera, river and source of

All our relations

Māori, the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa/New Zealand view life and all
its inter-relations with Earth and all her creatures, with generations past
and future, as a woven Universe (Royal, 2003) where an ethic of rela-
tionship and duty of care prevails (Stewart-Harawira, 2012). Māori have
experienced the rapacious colonial capture and control of their land,
water and governance processes that began overtly in the early nine-
teenth century (Orange, 1987). This attack on their integrity as Māori
continues today through political, economic and cultural influence of
powerful financial actors, entrepreneurs, investors and their corpora-
tions, agents of the Crown, and settlers. Māori are not, however, silent or
acquiescent in their marginalisation. They have a history of a complex
engagement with and resistance to their colonisation (among many, e.g.,
Bargh, 2007; Durie, 2005; Stewart-Harawira, 2012). In the contemporary
context Māori insist on creative and courageous co-governance of the
waterways of this land motivated by their understanding of a spiritual
relationship with and thus responsibility to Earth. They have significant
interests in the dairy, fishing, tourism and forestry industries among
others (Statistics New Zealand, 2012) and thus a significant interest in
and responsibility for their governance in keeping with their cultural
values. In their participation in these global commercial activities, Māori
may influence issues of environmental concern and the organisation
of the people involved through a culturally articulated ethic of inclu-
siveness that stretches beyond the current narrow conceptualisation of
152 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

Earth as a resource to be mined, and rivers as sluice drain to flush away

human waste.
Māori, along with most Indigenous peoples and many western human
beings, recognise relationships of importance beyond the current inhab-
itants of Earth (e.g., Marsden and Henare, 1992; Mehl-Madrona and
Mainguy, 2012). Many Māori and some of New Zealand’s later settlers are
reaching for something more hopeful, inclusive and respectful, despite
the invasive reach of market logic in economic and social governance
that is expressed so extensively in this region of the world (Kelsey, 2002;
Williams, 2012). The contradictions and paradoxes that arise in attempts
at collaboration between Māori and the later settlers provide opportuni-
ties for those born of the Centre, to review, revise and reframe the logics
by which the direct their activities.
Water is essential for all life. The commodification of water and inten-
sifying pressure for its distribution through a market mechanism puts
many peoples and communities at risk through the redirection of water
from small communities to serve agri-business, power generation, waste
disposal or elite recreation. Our focus can be applied to the governance
and use of land, the sea, mineral extraction and the creation of commod-
ities of all types: human beings as labour and their ideas as intellectual
property, their estimation of and speculation about crop volumes and
currency movements and the very allocation of speculative value to
such ideas that affect the quality of human life and the well-being of the
planet. To focus on one of these applications necessitates attending to
others. We proceed with an exploration of this position in the descrip-
tion of a governance model that emphasises an relational ethic. We then
illustrate in a small vignette how such a revision and reframing might
bring into view the relationship between Tarawera and the people who
live with her.

A two hulled waka: valuing difference to guide

a common destiny
In the face of seeming growing respect for Indigenous ways of being,
we are left with questions. How do we converse a constructive critique
of prevailing institutional logics? How might a ‘contrast of institutional
logics’ as expressed as two hulls of one vessel be brought to generative
tension? How skilled are the leaders guiding our ship from the ‘bridge’
in the acknowledgement of the dynamics in each hull? Might the spot
on the horizon as the point of destiny determined from the bridge
be a metaphor for Habermas’s (1981) ‘space between’ – the space for
developing communicative action?
Transforming the Institutional Logic 153

Habermas discusses the relation between system and lifeworld in

terms of the intrusion of the system’s technical and instrumental ration-
ales into the lifeworld. He sees it as a process of colonisation. He talks
of how the lifeworld and the public sphere are colonised by the twin
functional imperatives of the state and the economy – as made manifest
in the obsessions of efficiency and technology. We concur with this view
and we posit that this relationship is an amplification of the colonising
effect Indigenous people, women in patriarchal relationships, and all
those relegated to the margins will recognise. The caution against the
potential risk of a systemic assimilation of the most docile, adaptive and
domesticated from the periphery drives our intent for a much deeper
engagement with the fundamental Logic of the Centre (Humphries &
McNicholas, 2009; Thomas & Humphries, 2010; Verbos & Humphries,
2012). What effects can our conversation have on the system that creates
the conditions of vulnerability for so many?
Māori are adept navigators whose ancestors journeyed across vast
oceans in magnificent dual-hulled vessels (waka). To progress our
thoughts, we take up the metaphor of the two-hulled waka as adapted
by Humphries and Martin (2005). In our thinking, each hull repre-
sents a ‘worldview’, a way of being, a way of doing, an institutional
logic. In each hull, all activities of social organisation of that particular
hull are attended to. Careful attention must also be given in each hull
to the understanding of how the particular ordering of the particular
hull contributes to the well-being of the vessel as a whole. The vessel
is guided from a platform or bridge that joins the hulls to make one
vessel. Leaders from each hull guide the ship to a common destination –
a destination on the horizon marked by ‘the space between’ the hulls.
The desired destination cannot be reached if one hull overwhelms the
influence of the other. If our imaginary vessel represents western market
logic as one hull and Indigenous relationality in the other, and if the
vessel is aimed at universal inclusiveness and the thriving of Mother
Earth, the current activities on the hull of the marketeers are no doubt
pulling us off course. The bloated size of the market hull against the
diminutive size of the relational hull, and the inability of the pilot and
crew on the bridge to understand the associated risks from their lack of
understanding, results in navigating in destructive circles which keep us
from any real progress to our espoused destination. We invite a radical
reconfiguration of governance of our activities on the vessel as a whole,
of the steering platform in particular, and of our relationship to our host,
Mother Earth – be that as expressed through the governance of public
institutions, the organisation of trade and exchange, or organisational
154 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

forms. Through a balance between the market and relational hulls, navi-
gation to a destination of universal good is possible. As an illustration,
we now turn our thoughts to Tarawera, a river system in the Bay of
Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. The river is the life-
blood of the region but she has been subject to industrial pollution for
over five decades. Industries in the region have been flushing their waste
into the river, particularly the pulp and paper industry. Our illustration
is not unique to this region. This story is playing out the world over as
access to water becomes a high priority for investors of all types (Griffin,
2005; UNESCO, 2009, 2012).
The geographic region through which Tarawera flows is vibrant with
numerous entrepreneurial ventures. Some activities are led by Indigenous
people who seek to provide alternative ways of thriving. These include
activities and attempts at governing projects with non-Indigenous part-
ners that provide the means by which the Indigenous people of this
region can exercise what they understand to be their responsibility to
Earth as a priority. They describe a relationship with Earth (and thus
with Tarawera) as a living being whose thriving is essential for the well-
being of the generations to come. Activities with Tarawera must first and
foremost demonstrate responsibility for their part in her well-being.
Taking our guidance from our understanding of what might be
described as Māori institutional logics, we re-(in)state Tarawera’s identity
not as the sluice drain typical of corporate need for waste disposal, but
as an energetic channel of anima mundi (Reason and Bradbury, 2001) an
idea also endemic in Indigenous relational ethics and ways of knowing
in many regions of the world (Broomfield, 1997; Cajete, 2000; Cordova,

Ko Tarawera ahau! I am Tarawera

I am Tarawera. I flow from the Mountains to the Sea. As I flow towards
the Pacific Ocean many creatures depend on my good health. Some
way from my headwaters, a mighty corporation and many smaller
ones pours life destroying pollution into my currents. I have heard
myself called ‘The Black Drain’.7 My spirit is vexed. I call for my

What difference might a change of lexicon bring to a world suffering

seemingly intractable issues of poverty and environmental degradation?
Recognising these diminished or overshadowed values by the prevailing
emphasis on economic concerns allows for the opening of conversa-
tion within the Centre and with and through representatives of quite
Transforming the Institutional Logic 155

different value sets. As logics generated at the periphery find audience

and visibility at the Centre, long established practices and taken for
granted interpretations of symbolic meaning may come under scrutiny.
The effects of such scrutiny within and between logics in and across
different institutional arrangements may vary significantly (Greenwood
et al., 2010; Jones & Livne-Tarandach, 2008; Meyer and Hammerschmid,
2006; Rao et al., 2005; Reay & Hinings, 2009). The values of significance
to our discussion here are the values of universal inclusiveness and envi-
ronmental sustainability as necessary aspects of thriving democratic
societies. Insistent contradictions and conflicts may arouse passions,
fears and a commitment to restore the established order as quickly as
possible. An unavoidable confrontation with a significant contradiction
may also engender a determination to change what had, till then, been
taken for granted in order in a creative response to new insights and
opportunities. We take our stand as activist academics from Seo and
Creed’s (2002) proposition that direct engagement with conflict, contra-
dictions and paradox may bring forth transformational opportunities.
Such engagement runs the risk of generating more misunderstanding or
violent repercussions. We urge therefore for a focus on dialogue – and
with this focus to hone sensitivity to the transformative potential and
the risk of system-preserving adaptations of a change in the common
lexicons of engagement.

Towards a transformative dialogue

The Logic of the Centre is generated from concepts of control, manage-

ment, growth and exploitation that serve wealth creation expressed
through the worldview that is, even according to some relatively
conservative entities such as the United Nations, not serving humanity
well. The devastating impact of their enactment has been rehearsed
earlier in this chapter. A different story about our humanity and our
relationship with Earth must be conversed into being. In our vignette,
Tarawera is adding her voice to this call. Is it naive to assume a change
in language can herald a change in attitude and practice? We believe
a change in informing metaphor is essential if a fundamental shift in
ethics is to be achieved.
We, two academics who have no immediate ties to the region, are
interested in Tarawera’s distress because her story so framed invites a
radical rethink of the logic that now dominates and leads to her subju-
gation. We read of the hopes and aspirations of the people who are
living with Tarawera and seek to aid in the alleviation of her distress.
156 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

We wonder how some of these ideas might lend themselves to fruitful

translation into an alternative economy that brings sustainability to all
the residents of the region – human and otherwise. We reflect on the
many interests that are being expressed through their common depend-
ence on Tarawera.
Our call for the purposeful change in the very way we think and speak
of Tarawera, and by implication, of Earth and all her creatures, contrasts
dramatically with the prevailing instrumental weighing up of the finan-
cial costs and benefits by those for and against the presence of the mills
and the dairy farms in the region. In thinking about Tarawera as a living
entity, and describing her material existence as an energetic flow, we are
soon drawn into thinking differently about the organisational activi-
ties that are being generated in the land through which she travels. To
reposition Earth as Mother, her rivers as her lifeblood and her thriving
as necessary for our thriving is to reposition our humanity in a relational
position that requires respect and dignity at all times, care and nurture
when she is ailing, immediate redress and significant penalties to those
who harm her. In the case of the Ogoni people, the Law of the Centre,
an instrument of the Logic and Ethics of the Centre, has not shown itself
up to the task. Our two-hulled waka – with the vulnerable on one hull
and the powerful on the other, cannot navigate to a destination that
will ensure universal thriving and justice for this generation and those
to follow. Indigenous people know well the effects of the powerful hull,
the distress of its damaging effects in and to their own hull as well as
the hulls of all those tied to steering bridge and the cavalier systemic
dismantling of the responsibilities assumed in an Indigenous worldview
for future generations by the pilots controlling the bridge.
Within the prevailing Logic of the Centre it appears difficult to argue
for a commitment to community well-being considered perhaps seven
generations hence and including Tarawera and all her creatures. The
extent to which voices of Māori can be heard by those on other hulls
appears to depend on the extent to which Māori can show how their
perceived responsibilities will trickle down and serve the interests of
other defined groups (argued largely in economic terms) – and more
specifically – support the agenda of the multinational investors of the
region – in the service of the bottom line.
Our illustration has global relevance because the governance and
use of water affects every living creature and the very life of Mother
Earth (and, of course, not just water management). To harm Tarawera
or to allow her to be harmed is to harm ourselves. We are related, no
matter what theoretical paradigm we prioritise. To continue with the
Transforming the Institutional Logic 157

exploitative tendencies that dominate so many relationships, overtly or

under the guise of self-serving sustainability policies, is to ensure death
for many and maybe for Earth.
The critique of the driving force of global economic activity has
reached into the very centre of the established order and it is attracting
responses from both the centre and the periphery – but differently so.
It has become increasingly evident to both the adherents and critics
of the Logic of the Centre that the predominance of the profit motive
expressed there does not necessarily create the type of economic value
and social cohesiveness promised by its advocates. Some apparently
contrasting and even systemically challenging values are to be found
within the Logic of the Centre. Major corporations do become actively
engaged in activities that may be seen as a distraction from the core
obligation of profit generation. Corporate volunteering in impover-
ished communities, mentorship or struggling ethnic populations and
native communities, and visible presence in environmental restorations
programmes are examples. Exposing such social and environmentally
orientated activity as systemically self-preserving by the Logic of the
Centre is easily dismissed as destructive cynicism or a form of juvenile
conspiracy theory.
We argue that critical organisation studies offer institutional critiques
that are coupled with a mandate to work towards transformation of
perceived inequities, exploitations and oppressions. We are interested
in transformative research and pedagogy that confluence with a critical
analysis of neo-colonialism in the relationship between western organi-
sational scholarship and Indigenous intent to sustainable sovereignty,
and the responsibilities associated with the relationship between them.
These ideas combine to generate a justification for a form of scholarly
Many activist scholars find the early revolutionary work of Paulo
Freire inspirational. According to Macedo (in Freire & Macedo, 2001),
Freire has provided the language to critically understand the tensions,
contradictions, fears, doubts, hopes and deferred dreams that are part of
living a borrowed colonised cultural existence. Macedo calls for respon-
sibility to react thoughtfully and positively to such undesirable situa-
tions. According to Brown (2006, p. 19), Freire provides the ‘pause in
the busyness of our lives to consider the social structures of oppression’
and urges critical reflection as central to transformation in the context
of problem posing and dialogue with others. Conversation, dialogue,
communication between peoples of differing perspectives invite a chal-
lenge. This challenge, we argue, can be engaged by a greater attention to
158 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

the thoughts that are possible when contradictions, conflicts of interest

and paradoxes are attended to through a relational ethic to guide action.
It is the increasingly assertive and accessible voices of Indigenous people
to which we have turned our attention in this chapter. Our focus comes
with a caution. The skilful centre-preserving adaptations of the concerns
generated at the periphery have proven the capacity and the willing-
ness of the centre to assimilate and domesticate contradictions. Our
work is intended to amplify the intent of those not to be so assimilated
(Humphries & Grant, 2010; Humphries & McNicholas, 2009).

Institutionally disruptive Indigenous knowledge:

harbinger of corporate resilience or transformative vanguard?
The choice is ours!
Our reflections on the experiences of the Ogoni people at the hands of
western stories of justice are at the forefront of our minds. We believe
a new story of justice must be created. Greater collaboration between
Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples invites closer examination of
the dynamics that are inevitably at play in interdependent relationships.
We see that the ethics that drive the Logic of the Centre have prevailed
and that the Ogoni people’s resources and hope invested in its ethic
have been wasted. The Ogoni will go on suffering. Shell is largely exoner-
ated. We have turned to examples of the relational ethics of Indigenous
peoples to bring a contrast to the travesty of justice when driven by
the ethics of The Centre to suggest relationships of mutual trust for the
achievement of universal well-being of people and planet. Indigenous
wisdom as an ethic requiring responsibility for the well-being of others
including generations unborn, and for the well-being of Earth and a
duty for its own sake, may provide guidance towards an institutional
logic that recognises inherent connectedness among human society,
business, and the natural world. We argue for scholarly activists to work
to change prevailing institutional logics of competitive individualism
and exploitative resource manipulation through closer attention to
ancient wisdoms that may help to address the twin concerns of social
exclusion and environmental degradation as identified by the United
Nations, various national governments, corporations espousing social
and environmental ideals, and activists the world over. Our impetus
towards greater attention to a relational ethic conceptualised in terms
of ancient wisdom is based on our perception of its transformational
potential and our belief that contemporary institutional signals indicate
a possible readiness to benefit from this still peripheralised perspective.
Transforming the Institutional Logic 159

We understand that bringing our critique to the public places of

academic work may appear naïve, and even run the risk of being appro-
priated and used in dangerous or destructive ways. The growing interest
in selecting and showcasing Indigenous values is not without significant
risk to Indigenous peoples, to their relationships with governments and
organisations that offer partnerships and commercial opportunity, and
to writers who take the discussion of this work upon themselves. This
is particularly so if the description is to include a critical eye on these
relationships. And yet we persist because our collective attention on the
skill of the contemporary coloniser to perpetuate selective interests is
needed as much as ever. We thus do this work with caution. We choose,
as far as possible, to work with a lexicon of hope and only through
aspects of Indigenous wisdom that have already been expressed in the
public domain. We have provided one specific example of a relational
ethic. Based on reflective attention to the many dimensions of relational
ethics we find in our academic field a place for praxis as teachers and
researchers (Verbos & Humphries, 2012). Public universities, we argue,
must rethink their trajectories from unsustainable for-profit educational
models and move to include relational logics in their teaching agendas
and in their own governance. We advocate for a vigorous rehearsal of the
apparently contrasting views held by many Indigenous peoples for their
potential contribution in the transformation of the Logic of the Centre,
or the risk of their co-option that may serve to make this logic appear
more diverse and just, but may actually strengthen its muscle under the
guise of greater seeming sensitivity, selective inclusiveness and espoused
rather than real responsibility to environmental degradation and the
issues of justice and well-being called for by the Global Compact. We
would allow this at our peril.

1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/30/january/2013/shell-acquitted-
2. http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/nation-of-inequality-
3. http://www.economist.com/node/4424657.
4. http://www.fulbright.org.nz/grantees-alumni/profiles/nzscholars/chellie-
5. http://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/issues_doc/human_rights/UNDRIP_
6. http://www.alternative.ac.nz/journal/volume8-issue2/article/key-actors-
160 Maria Humphries and Amy Klemm Verbos

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‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’:
Ancestral Leadership, Cyclical
Learning and the Eternal
Continuity of Leadership
Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare

Prologue: the journey to leadership from

Dara’s perspective

This research developed out of a fascination with leadership as a

personally intuitive experience growing up in Vancouver, Canada, and
observing my father. I saw in him a translation of our Indigenous Stó:lō
values and knowledge that he learned growing up with his grandmother
(my great grandmother) on our Indian reserve lands and applied to
the complexities of contemporary life that were presented to him in
the city. Dad’s responsibilities have always required him to attend to
our Indigenous community’s social and political relations, to negotiate
personal and professional boundaries in work and to maintain balance
between individual fulfilment and family obligations. What I saw
beneath his contemplations around these often competing responsibili-
ties was a point of reference that guided his decisions and actions. He
draws upon our Stó:lō cultural values that he learned in his early life to
guide moral and ethical behaviour and decision-making. Those values
transfer through his own life, but also through ours as his children.
Through my father, there exists a cultural and spiritual connection for
me to those values. It helps explain the intuitive affiliation I have to my
great grandmother as someone whom I have never physically met, but
feel a deep affection for by way of the leadership landscape that she and
my father traversed throughout their lives. The pool of knowledge that
I have just described contains leadership wisdom bound together by

‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’ 165

the richness of our genealogical ties; it connects me to my great grand-

mother and our ancestors before her. It is what sparked my curiosity to
study leadership, a journey that has taken me to Aotearoa New Zealand
where I have had the opportunity to explore Māori Indigenous values
and philosophy in my Master’s thesis, and from which the notion of
‘ancestral leadership’ emerged (Kelly, 2012).


This chapter introduces the notion of ‘ancestral leadership’ as an impor-

tant, yet largely under-acknowledged influence upon leaders. We argue
this is important because it can create the conditions for the ‘eternal
continuity’ of leadership, which simultaneously encompasses the past,
present and future. Ancestral leadership processes ultimately create a
‘genealogy of leadership’ which is a vital resource for contemporary
Indigenous leaders. The title of this chapter, ‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai
Hono’, is a Māori proverb and translates as, that which is joined remains
an unbroken bond of ancestry. Thus, within Indigenous societies, ‘ances-
tral leadership’ draws upon knowledge that is built on earlier experience
and continues to reflect leadership dynamics from the bonds of ancestry
by virtue of a continuous exchange between three realities: the human,
the cosmos and the divine.
We begin the chapter by making the case that while the ‘core’ of lead-
ership studies research has acknowledged the past as a contextual factor
which should be taken into account in understanding leadership, most
particularly when we acknowledge the influence of culture upon lead-
ership, there has been a marked reluctance on the part of leadership
scholars to actively problematise it, let alone make it a primary concern.
We suggest that part of this reluctance has been a normative preoccu-
pation with leadership as a future-looking force for change, seeking to
unshackle groups and organisations from a constraining or unsatisfac-
tory past. In light of this oversight, we look to Indigenous knowledge,
positioned in what might conventionally be viewed as a ‘periphery’
source for leadership studies, to examine how Indigenous philosophies
of learning might help to deepen and expand our understanding of
the past and tradition and its influence upon leadership thinking and
practice within the ‘core’ of leadership studies. From the perspective of
Indigenous leadership scholars, of course, the core and the periphery
are reversed. To engage with leadership from the core of Indigenous
perspectives, we will draw upon the work of Gregory Cajete and his idea
of the metaphoric mind (2000) from the perspective of Native American
166 Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare

traditional knowledge to heighten our awareness of the critical interac-

tion between intellectual and spiritual sense-making in leadership.
Drawing on qualitative interviews conducted with nine Māori business
leaders, we show how these leaders carry their genealogies of leadership
into the work they do and how they conduct themselves profession-
ally. We also reveal how these leaders consciously engage in creating,
continuing and shaping their leadership genealogies and how ancestral
leadership informs their ethical and value-driven conduct as a person.
We found that these leaders were guided by the principles surrounding
Ngā Kete e Toru o te Wānanga – The Three Baskets of Knowledge. They
represent an understanding of the multi-dimensional flow of knowl-
edge and a process of learning that increases in complexity and depth
with maturity into higher levels of spiritual, emotional and intellectual
capability (Cajete, 1994). The Three Baskets of Knowledge include: Te
Kete Aronui – the basket containing knowledge of what we see, that is,
what is given through sensory experience; Te Kete Tuāuri – the basket
containing knowledge of the ‘real world’ that tells us about the cycles of
life and understanding the energies that keep us moving and interacting
day to day; and Te Kete Tūātea – the basket containing knowledge that
is beyond space and beyond time, that is, knowledge of the spirit world
typically gained through ritual. We provide specific examples of how
these baskets of knowledge inform and guide the leadership practices of
the Māori business leaders we interviewed.
We close the chapter with a consideration of how we might extend
this concept beyond the ‘periphery’ of leadership studies to the ‘core’ to
explore ways that ancestral leadership might begin to guide leadership
thinking (either consciously or sub-consciously) and the practice of busi-
ness and other organisational leaders within non-Indigenous societies.

Remembrance of things past within the core of

leadership studies

Within the core of leadership studies, that is, the dominant Western
discourse of leadership, history has not played a major role in shaping
the field (Goethals & Sorenson, 2006; Grint, 2011). Most leadership
research has been conducted in the post-war period and has largely
confined itself to analysing contemporary phenomena (Collinson et al.,
2011). The link between the academic literatures on leadership and
history is surprisingly underexplored. The key academic reference works
in leadership studies pay only scant attention to history (Antonakis
et al., 2004; Northouse, 2011). Historical perspectives on leadership have
‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’ 167

tended to be the preserve of a few popular leadership writers (Kets De

Vries, 2004). Catering to practitioners’ general interest in history, these
books adopt a chronological approach. They compare historical events
(based normally on second-hand material) with case studies chosen
from contemporary business and entertain simplistic connections and
conclusions (i.e., ‘Do not do X as person Y did’). There have been some
recent scholarly moves to promote the historical study of leadership
(Chhokar et al., 2007; Humphries & Einstein, 2003; Muniapan, 2009).
Several broad historical surveys of leadership thinking have also been
assembled (Cronin & Genovese, 2012; Grint, 1997; Kellerman, 2010;
Wren, 2011; Wren et al., 2004). Each of these collections endeavours
to make the well-worn, but largely ignored case that it is important for
leadership scholars to learn from the past and to recognise that many
supposedly new leadership concepts are not that new at all. However,
the historical perspectives they are privileging are those propounded by
pre-eminent Western philosophers, political scientists and historians
(such as Plato, Machiavelli and Marx).
These notable exceptions aside, the influence of the past has been
poorly recognised by those leaders that have gone before us largely
because the field of leadership studies has tended to be animated by a
desire to re-invent the future and move on from the past. Leadership has
been widely identified as a force for change at the organisational (Bolden
et al., 2011; Riggio, 2011), community and societal levels (Avolio et al.,
2009). Moreover, leadership is viewed as the central means of acceler-
ating the pace of change in these contexts to the point that change and
innovation must become deeply institutionalised into the organisation.
As organisations strive to constantly transform themselves, leadership
researchers have attempted to keep up with an ever-expanding terrain
of new insights and possibilities for the meaning, construction and
even destruction of leadership (Bolden et al., 2011). With this constant
process of destroying and rebuilding in order to conceive of leadership
that is new and better suited to today’s challenges, the past has become
a constant reminder of mistakes made, inferior leadership and a spur to
create new forms of leadership that are different (Avolio et al., 2009).
Instead of discarding what does not work in leadership, ancestral lead-
ership as understood by Indigenous leaders in this research rests entirely
on values and principles about leadership that are enduring.1 It is what
comprises a ‘genealogy of leadership’ that drives this research to mean
a continuity of ancestral thought, values and behaviour. It refers to the
‘why’, rather than to the ‘how’ of leadership by the referent nature of the
ancestral context (Henare, 2001; Henare, 2003; Marsden, 2003; Tapsell,
168 Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare

2008). Ancestral leadership draws upon knowledge that is representative

of human leadership – the insights from human activity and interac-
tion – but additionally, and as important, are the leadership insights
that can be gleaned from spiritual historiography, metaphysical encoun-
ters, celestial beings, cosmology, mythology and spiritual lineage.
There are increasingly more studies in leadership research that bring
greater focus to various aspects of holistic, spiritual and embodied lead-
ership theory and practice (Bordas, 2012; Fernando, 2011; Fernando &
Jackson, 2006; Fry, 2003; Ladkin & Taylor, 2010; Sinclair, 2007). Despite
these important contributions, the legacy of Indigenous voices at the
‘periphery’ of the academy is extensive (Bishop, 2008; Blakesley, 2008;
Henry & Pene, 2001; Mihesuah, 2003; Pihama, 2001; Smith, 2007,
1999; Villegas, 2010), and has given rise to robust critiques about the
ways that historically and globally, Indigenous communities have been
involved in research (Kovach, 2009). The field of leadership is no excep-
tion more for its lack of Indigenous voices, particularly in organisa-
tion studies, as opposed to marginalised ones. However, the leadership
landscape is changing in this regard. In the past decade, leadership has
come to the fore of Indigenous research and scholarship across many

The scope of Māori and other Indigenous

leadership research

Prior to 2003, there were very few studies on Māori leadership, with
the exception of Ella Henry’s Master’s thesis (1994). Scholarly research
that was available largely focused on ways of outlining ‘traditional’
Māori leadership styles with little discussion about the complex nature
of contemporary leadership challenges (Mahuika, 1992; Walker, 1993;
Winiata, 1967). Increasingly, there are more studies emerging with partic-
ular focus on Māori and other global Indigenous leadership approaches
(Bordas, 2012; Mead et al., 2006; Spiller & Stockdale, 2013; Warner &
Grint, 2006) as well as research that explores other areas of organisa-
tion studies (Pio et al., 2013; Verbos et al., 2011; Verbos & Humphries,
2012). The unique value of these contributions to leadership and busi-
ness research is that they involve a process of stepping back to fully
understand the diverse global contexts in which Indigenous people now
live. The contemporary professional contexts of the interview partici-
pants in this research are no exception. However, rather than focus on
the individual, we have explored ways of knowing from sources above
and beyond the human experience in business.
‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’ 169

Indigenous philosophies of learning

We draw heavily on the thinking of Indigenous philosopher Gregory

Cajete (1994, 1999, 2000) whose development of Indigenous philoso-
phies of learning provide stronger foundations for our discussion of
ancestral leadership than those currently available in mainstream lead-
ership. Within Indigenous philosophies of learning, Cajete argues that
development of the metaphoric mind is a lens through which one can
understand lived experience holistically. It is by virtue of the relational
nature of metaphor and the necessity to comprehend phenomena in
terms of other things – and therefore to contextualise – that supports an
understanding of ancestral leadership beyond human-to-human inter-
action. Cajete explains that the metaphoric mind preceded the rational
mind in the process of human evolution as a precursor to language, and
is therefore an ancient mode of thought. As a forerunner to the rational
mind, it also operates in non-linear ways that enable overlapping time
and spatial orientations. Cajete (2000, p. 28) delineates the metaphoric
mind as distinct from the rational mind and says, ‘[T]he holistic experi-
ence of the metaphoric mind begins to get chopped up and labelled,
until, eventually it recedes into the unconscious ... the rational mind
develops further and language becomes literacy ... In Native societies,
the two minds of human experience are typically given a more balanced
regard’. The metaphoric mind is a crucial piece of building human
capacity for engagement with metaphysical phenomena and under-
standing the order of the spiritual universe. It is activated through play,
meditation, ritual and spontaneous thought and holds potential for infi-
nite complexity and growth throughout a lifetime. In the early stages of
life, the metaphoric mind is expressed by way of simple stories and char-
acters, and over time, it grows to integrate layered understanding and
deeper abstractions of phenomena in the human experiential world.
As a conceptual tool in research, the metaphoric mind helped guide
our understanding of human engagement with the metaphysical realm
mediating interaction between intellectual and spiritual sense-making.
To provide an example of how the metaphoric mind does this, Cajete
(1994, pp. 118–119) states:

The connection between personal mythology and cultural mythology,

and the educational process is complex and dynamic ... A key to
expressing Indigenous education in a contemporary sense includes
attempting to influence the way Indian people construct their under-
standing of themselves and their place in a contemporary world. This
170 Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare

understanding stems from their Indigenous mythic language (both

personal and cultural) as it finds contemporary expression in ritual,
dream, art, dance, music, social interaction and learning.

In this excerpt, Cajete gestures to forms of complex thinking facilitated

by engagement with the metaphoric mind. It points to the way that
Indigenous teaching and learning employs sophisticated systems of
knowledge management through the use of metaphors and symbolism
in Indigenous mythology. The sophistication of Indigenous learning
rests on the process of cumulative development: ‘A constant building on
earlier realities is a basic characteristic of Indigenous process. The newest
reality may seem different from earlier ones, but its essence and foun-
dation remain tied to the earlier realities it encases’ (p. 28). Theologian
Michael Shirres (1997) has conducted extensive research on Māori
philosophical traditions and like Cajete, he emphasises the centrality
of building on earlier realities. In particular, Shirres notes the third and
highest level of knowledge in Māori philosophy – that of Io – that builds
on two previous levels of knowledge: that of the human person, and
that of the cosmos. He states: ‘To be a full human being is also to be at
the centre of the universe, beyond space and beyond time. To be a full
human being is to be one with the human race, the people of the past,
as well as the people of the present’ (p. 119).
Processes of emergent learning out of that cumulative development are
a means of comprehending ancestral leadership by the ever-unfolding
nature of ancestry. The metaphoric mind helped guide our under-
standing of leadership in terms of human connection to metaphysical,
spiritual and cosmological relationships. In addition to the philosophical
insights around Indigenous learning that Cajete provides, his work offers
guidance on the use and development of language pertaining to spiritual
expression – a notable lacuna in the realm of organisation studies.
Taking into account the Indigenous learning processes outlined above,
in order to cater for an ancestral orientation in leadership, a shift of time
perception is necessary. Linear and unproblematised conceptions of the
past captured in historical moments are insufficient in this research.
Instead, through inductive exploration with the participants, under-
standing ancestral leadership requires a shift to conceive of time as an
eternally unfolding spiral (Tapsell & Woods, 2010). Our research shows
the participants sharing their ideas of leadership as part of multi-dimen-
sional and overlapping cultural and kinship realities – the unfolding
of leadership stories in which both humans and the cosmos make up a
complex leadership genealogy spanning centuries.
‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’ 171

Many of our interviewees recognise aspects of past, present and future

existing in every moment – a philosophy made possible by Māori ways
of being that embrace specific tribal ancestry as fundamental to one’s
everyday lived experience (Marsden, 2003). The Māori symbol of the
koru, or spiral, is a visual representation of eternity and continuity, and
thus a profound gesture to the sustainability of values such as respon-
sibility and accountability (Henare, 2001, 2003). Ancestors are of the
past, yet they are also in the present and part of the future – spanning
an enduring continuum that feeds the spiral both inwards toward the
centre and outwards in infinity (Henare, 2001). Therefore, every compo-
nent of genealogy is not only significant for its unique contribution to
the whole, but for its innate potential for contribution as well (Henare,
2011; Shirres, 1997), recognising the inevitable future of all things
present. In this research, we accept time and space as part of an eternal
and universal continuity.

The ancestral leadership study

This research explores leadership grounded in traditions of Indigenous

spiritual philosophies which provide comprehensive language around
spirituality and guided our approach to the research design, iterative
processes and consolidation of evidence that was collected. The growing
body of literature on Indigenous research methods, including insights
from Kaupapa Māori approaches, featured strongly as guiding principles
through the processes of face-to-face interviews and interpreting the
interview transcripts (Bishop, 2008; Henry & Pene, 2001; Kovach, 2009;
Pihama, 2001; Ruwhiu & Wolfgramm, 2006; Smith, 1999). The research
was designed to bring forward Indigenous perspectives on leadership
and sought to invite the participants to share their understandings of
leadership and how these were shaped by diverse cultural, spiritual,
social, environmental and economic realities.
The concept of ancestral leadership presented in this chapter has
emerged out of qualitative interviews that were conducted over a period
of six months with nine Māori business leaders affiliated professionally
with the University of Auckland Business School. Eight of the partici-
pants are women and all participants have hapū-iwi tribal affiliations
from areas throughout the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The participants’ collective professional expertise is vast and involves
engagement in both public and private sectors including but not
limited to: accounting, film and television, small business consulting,
primary to postgraduate teaching, organisational management, board
172 Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare

and governance representation, national and tribal politics, hapū-iwi

management and administration, Waitangi Tribunal treaty negotiations
and multinational corporations overseas. To preserve the anonymity of
one participant, we chose not to write short descriptions of the six quoted
interviewees with specific details about their professional backgrounds.
The research findings were shared with the participants through distri-
bution of the thesis, and they were invited to attend a public seminar
on the topic of ancestral leadership in the months following the thesis
Recognising that Aotearoa New Zealand houses a diverse population
of Māori identities and histories, we focused on the genealogical ties
of one hapū-iwi of Te Tai Tokerau, the northland of Aotearoa – that of
Ngāti Hine. Ngāti Hine’s descendants trace their ancestry to the feminine
ancestral leader, Hine-ā-maru, who founded the territory that constitutes
the tribal lands, or mana whenua of the Ngāti Hine people today. Ngāti
Hine have a particular understanding of ancestral leadership through
the legacy of Hine-ā-maru, and as a way of locating ancestral knowledge
in this research, we see that she is very much alive in the oral history
traditions of the Ngāti Hine people (Henare et al., 2009). She is visually
represented as poupou, or carved ancestral posts inside many wharenui
(Māori sacred houses) throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, but in partic-
ular, she holds a prestigious place at Mōtatau Marae2 in the heart of
Ngāti Hine tribal territories. The research involved a site visit to Mōtatau
as one form of experiential engagement with ancestral leadership by
way of Hine-ā-maru’s poupou. Focusing on Ngāti Hine enabled us to
contextualise ancestral leadership in the interview process by providing
an example in a Māori cultural context, and a point from which the
interview discussions could develop.

The study’s findings: Ngā Kete e Toru o te Wānanga –

The Three Baskets of Knowledge

In Māori mythology, the metaphor of Ngā Kete e Toru o te Wānanga,

or the Three Baskets of Knowledge, represents an understanding of the
multi-dimensional flow of knowledge that increases in complexity and
deepens with higher levels of spiritual, emotional and intellectual matu-
rity. Likewise, ancestral leadership follows similar processes of emergent
learning. We have used the Three Baskets of Knowledge as a framework
to organise the knowledge that was shared by the interview partici-
pants and understand how ancestral leadership facilitates continuous
exchange between the realms of humans, the cosmos and the divine.
‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’ 173

The Three Baskets of Knowledge are presented in the order that

Māori philosophy proposes that conceptual and intellectual develop-
ment occurs in the process of becoming te tangata, or the human person
(Marsden, 2003; Shirres, 1997). Becoming a person is to engage with
knowledge that is cumulative in nature, where understanding grows
deeper as previous knowledge provides the foundations upon which
new knowledge can be understood. Likewise, what is contained in
the first basket of knowledge assists with understanding what is in the
second and third. Using the structure of the baskets to represent the
findings from the interviews conducted in this study reflects the diver-
sity of knowledge shared by the participants across all these realms, and
honours the interpretive nature of their understandings of leadership.

Te Kete Aronui: the basket containing knowledge of what we see

The first basket contains knowledge of what is given through sensory
experience. We have interpreted this knowledge to be what the partici-
pants possess as part of their inventory of cultural knowledge; it may
not be concrete or something that can be explicitly identified. It is
often implicit knowledge from experiential memory, and the intangible
nature of it, that tells us that it is knowledge that belongs in Te Kete
Aronui. Often the participants reflected on memories of seeing leader-
ship throughout their lives that included not only the physical aspect of
witnessing leadership, but also the places and events or the context that
were significant to that memory.
In the following quote, Pita directly refers to an ancestor of his, Te
Ruki Kawiti, whose presence in the tupuna wharenui (sacred ancestral
house) where we conducted the interview provides on-going access to
ancestral leadership knowledge.

I look back at how our grandparents and ancestors led, and there
are people portrayed in this very whare, like the likes of Kawiti – he
stood for Māori rights and that won’t change. It hasn’t changed in
our time ... moving into the future, I think those things will endure.

Pita’s ability to point to specific people and poupou (carved ancestral

posts) in his lineage and explain his understanding of the leadership
that they represent shows how they continue to be available to him in
that space. Continuity is facilitated through the house and its contents,
and as long as the house stands, so too will that knowledge be accessible.
For Māori, the whare tupuna is an ancestral house that is literally and
metaphorically the body of an ancestor which you can see reflected in
174 Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare

its structure and kawa, tikenga and ritenga – the protocols on the marae.
The interviews conducted in this research inside of Mōtatau Wharenui
in Ngāti Hine tribal territory were actually conducted inside the body of
an ancestor – a reflection of the corporeal nature of ancestral knowledge
and evidence of the on-going exchange between the human, the cosmos
and the divine.
Pita observes the notion of change in his excerpt presented earlier.
Despite the changes that Māori have faced through the generations,
the poupou as visual representations of tūpuna (ancestors) in the whare
(house) points to a set of foundational Māori values that are unchanging;
they are values that indicate whakapapa (genealogy) is something that
is accessible and open to be referenced and explored at any time. The
poupou (carved ancestral posts) in Mōtatau Wharenui are a distinct visual
representation of Ngāti Hine tūpuna. Many of the carvings reflected the
facial characteristics of specific people as distinctly human, unlike many
that reflect tūpuna in an abstract style. These carvings at Mōtatua had
the effect of blurring the distinction between human and spirit forms,
acknowledging the fourth dimension of humanity – the spirit world.
The way that stories containing ancestral knowledge are told in
different contexts facilitates change across time and generations. This
point is important to remember in acknowledging the diversity across
Māori realities from generation to generation. Although poupou designs
change and reflect generations of carving styles, their purpose remains.
The persistence and active transfer of ancestral knowledge by way of
whakapapa (genealogy) as a reference system across generations helps
guide how symbolic ancestry is interpreted. Not only is there the poten-
tial for Māori to literally interpret concepts and philosophy differently,
but particularly with visual means of cultural preservation (such as
inside of whare), what one person sees is different from the next.
For example, Maxine Shortland comments below on how change
takes shape in storytelling:

The reflection of how we talk about her [Hine-ā-maru] is in our

waiata, in our songs and our stories that we hand down to every-
body ... and to each other. It does change I think. It does depending
on whānau [family] telling the stories, but the essence of her resil-
iency, you know, her will to know, where we’re from, who we are – is
very much steadfast.

She is confirming that a Māori cultural lens does not prescribe dupli-
cate vision; rather, it provides for shared understanding of foundational
‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’ 175

values. Different interpretations of those values are a parallel and equally

important function of culture, as well as its preservation. Nonetheless,
carved into the house posts at Mōtatau Marae are the essences of Ngāti
Hine values. Pita’s earlier comment tells us that they have remained
from Te Ruki Kawiti’s time (c. 1854) (Henare et al., 2009) because of
the persistent presence of the sacred house itself. Ngāti Hine ancestral
leadership is visually, metaphorically and genealogically preserved in
the poupou and the whare and is passed on by way of oral tradition
as knowledge that sits within the first basket of knowledge, Te Kete

Te Kete Tūāuri: the basket containing knowledge

of the ‘real’ world
Shirres (1997, p. 17) describes the knowledge in the second basket to
be ‘where the cosmic processes originated and continue to operate as a
complex series of rhythmical patterns of energy to uphold, sustain and
replenish the energies and life of the natural world’.
Our interpretation of the knowledge that is contained within the
second basket is that it tells about the cycles of life and understanding
the energies that keep us moving and interacting day to day. In the
following quote, Lynette Stewart comments on making sense of ances-
tral knowledge in her daily life:

The reality of who your ancestor was, or who your ancestress was, is
how one translates that reality from your own personal knowledge
of who they were, and how you actually translate that out through
your own life, living with your own people and with the rest of New

For Lynette, fully understanding ancestral knowledge is linked to under-

standing her sense of herself through her tribal affiliations as a Ngāti
Wai, Ngāti Hine and Tainui woman. It is demonstrated by the way that
she conducts herself in relation to the world around her, but simply
knowing about one’s ancestors is not enough. A distinction is drawn
here: ancestral knowledge is knowledge of the ancestor, whereas ances-
tral leadership is what happens with that knowledge. Lynette expresses
that the translation of ancestral knowledge into one’s life contexts is
when it becomes ancestral leadership. The translation is a deeper respon-
sibility to understand the people – or ancestral figures – for whom and
what they stood for, which takes a higher level of engagement than
accepting the knowledge at face value.
176 Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare

The interview participants make sense of ancestral knowledge and

aspects of leadership from their kinship ties. However, kinship ties cannot
always be assumed to be known. In the following quote, Pauline Harris
describes her encounter with ancestral leadership in her family line as a
revelation: ‘I never really thought about it until people would actually
say it to me, they say, “Oh, you’re the descendant of Ihaka Whaanga,
oh, no wonder you’ve done really well!” ... Right? And you’re like, “Oh, I
didn’t really think about that”’. Pauline was unaware of ancestral leader-
ship in her lineage in terms of conscious and active involvement in the
continuity of the leadership of Ihaka Whaanga until it was brought to
her attention by someone else in her community. Therefore, ancestral
leadership is not inscribed in culture in the sense of ‘knowing’ all the
myths and metaphors. In Pauline’s example, kinship ties connect her to
leadership that was previously unknown demonstrating how ancestral
leadership is embedded with a wealth of potential knowledge.

Te Kete Tūātea: the basket containing knowledge that is

beyond space and beyond time
The third basket contains knowledge of the spirit world, and typically,
ritual is the means of engagement with that knowledge. Shirres (1997)
explains the connection between Māori physical and spiritual realities:

It is a model of the universe made up of at least two worlds intimately

linked, a world of spiritual powers and the material world we see
around us. And it sees the human person as having a very particular
role in the ordering of this universe, through the power of the word.
(p. 23)

The participants shared perspectives on ancestral leadership that

undoubtedly belong in Te Kete Tūātea, in the realm of the highest deity,
Io, signalling that the knowledge contained in this basket commands
supreme care and attention. In two cases, the interviews were conducted
inside a sacred house surrounded by the carvings of Ngāti Hine gene-
alogy. When we spoke about the ancestress Hine-ā-maru in those inter-
views, the participants could point to her, and reference her as an active
participant in the conversation, thus enacting the on-going exchange of
knowledge across human and spirit worlds.
One expression of leadership in this basket is continuity in naming. It
is an aspect of ancestral leadership that keeps order and organisation in
a spiritual and metaphysical sense across generations. Gonzalez (2010)
notes that naming with reference to Māori understandings of physical
‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’ 177

and geographical location is about building connections with landscape,

and tied to constructing notions of spatial belonging through names.
This concept of ancestral naming was evident in some of the narratives
and participants spoke of their own names linking their ancestry to
land. Such is the case in Pauline Kingi’s interview:

My Māori name is my grandmother’s name, which is Kumeroa. And

Kumeroa referred to when the people of Tainui came across from the
ocean, overland to the Waikato River. And the long, hard struggle
to bring the canoes across from the ocean to the river was called Te
Kumeroa – the long, hard struggle of Tainui. And that is my name,
and that is my life. So that context introduces you to who I am in
terms of my ancestral background.

The name that ties Pauline Kingi to her grandmother encompasses an

ancestral tribal history as well as a genealogical history that places her in
a particular order within her lineage. She has shared continuity from the
earliest days of Tainui’s tribal history and her name is a reference point to
which Pauline turns in reflection on her own life patterns and choices.
Naming is a means for making a metaphorical connection to ancestors
of the past, but it also represents a direct relationship and responsibility
to the person or persons who previously carried the name.
In Te Kete Tūātea, ancestral leadership is expressed as a result of
harmony between the human and the divine. In the following excerpt
from April Huna’s narrative, she describes her experience of learning the
women’s welcome call, the kaikaranga that happens at the beginning of
gatherings on a marae, the sacred grounds on which the ancestral house

[S]he pushed me in the small of my back, and as I stepped forward,

the kaikaranga called from the tangata whenua side, and I opened
my mouth, and my karanga came out. Now, that’s how they [grand
aunties] taught me ... learning. And so, they were the people, and
that’s how they taught and they had a high expectation of success,
and they always expected the very, very best. They did not take any
excuses, or prisoners, and so you knew when you were learning with
these women that failure was simply not an option. And that’s how
I grew. And they referenced women from their past, you know, so
it wasn’t the way the creation myths ... for them, it was live, it was
actual examples from their life, where they had experienced women
doing. And they took them through. And so basically what they were
178 Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare

saying to me, was if we did it, or if our grandmothers did it, then you
certainly can as well. That’s how we were, that’s how I learned, it was
terrifying in many ways, and you know, you learn.

April shares a deeply spiritual expression of cultural knowledge that is

literally when women call to the ancestors. The learning process she
details is one that requires intuitive learning that is not only emotion-
ally challenging, but requires precise attunement to surroundings,
timing, deep understanding of cultural protocol and credence to the
sacred purpose of the kaikaranga. At this level, ancestral leadership tran-
scends well beyond understandings of roles and responsibilities, as it is
about the nurturing relational engagement with deitic energies.

Broader implications of ancestral leadership

At the beginning of nearly every interview, the participants stated that

they did not think of themselves as leaders, nor did they think about lead-
ership as part of what they do, or how they think about people in their
lives who have demonstrated leadership. This common response can be
traced to the broader Māori understanding that those who determine
strengths of leadership are not leaders themselves, but the surrounding
community members who have observed and understand the entire
genealogy of leadership surrounding communities and individuals. This
speaks, in part, to the communal determination of leadership, and the
developmental process by which leadership understandings form over
the span of lifetimes and generations. The interviews provide evidence
to suggest that the nature of ancestral leadership is significant and
recognisable by the care and attention given to it through the exercise
of cultural values and ethics.
Understanding the notion of genealogy is paramount in this research,
and we emphasise leadership that can be found among the various forms
of genealogy that frame our social, cultural, environmental, economic and
spiritual worlds. We sought to honour the wealth of leadership knowl-
edge that ancestries carry. Intuitively, the most immediate and earliest
context one might turn to first for knowledge of ancestry is that of the
family (Sinclair, 2007). However, the knowledge that emerged from the
interviews has provided an introduction to the expanse of genealogies
that are encompassed in every aspect of social experience throughout our
lives. Ancestral leadership encompasses leadership such as that shown
by family members, but it also expresses the strengths of leadership in
mythology, cosmology and deeply contextual cultural knowledge.
‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’ 179

As we noted in the opening section of the chapter, leadership has

overwhelmingly been framed and researched by mainstream western
scholars (Bolden et al., 2011) in an ahistorical nature (Antonakis et al.,
2004; Collinson et al., 2011; Northouse, 2011; Sinclair, 2007). Ancestral
leadership reinforces holistic values and practices aimed at building
social, cultural, economic and spiritual well-being in a contemporary
world. In this study we witnessed forms of engagement with ances-
tral leadership that could not have become visible without visiting the
places, tracing the legacies and honouring the memories of ancestry as
the living histories of the interview participants. Ancestral leadership is
preserved in places, spaces and in peoples’ hearts and minds. The inter-
view excerpts provide evidence of Māori ancestral leadership in build-
ings, songs, photographs, carvings, kinship ties, cosmology, stories,
mythology, symbols and metaphors. It disintegrates fixed expressions
of time as distinctly past, present or future and can be understood as an
entirety of knowledge feeding into and emanating from understandings
of leadership that draw upon spiritual, metaphorical, experiential, inter-
actional and ancestral ties interwoven across generations.
In the global context of organisation studies, there are increasingly
more research initiatives focused on cultural contexts in Asia that provide
alternative modes of thinking on the ways of doing business. Chen
and Miller (2010, p. 19) have proposed the notion of an ‘ambicultural’
approach in business that they say is to ‘take the best from Chinese and
Western philosophies and business practices while avoiding the nega-
tives’. Their approach resonates with the way that the interview partici-
pants in this research have framed ancestral leadership to account for
ancient knowledge and the contemporary contexts in which they work
and engage with broader Māori communities. They promote leadership
that brings forward what is worthwhile to build on. We envision leader-
ship studies might better evolve and develop through an ambicultural
approach that operates beyond two dimensions, into third and fourth
dimensions of time to account for spiritual and cosmological contribu-
tions to leadership.


By demonstrating how Ngā Kete e Toru o te Wānanga, the Three Baskets

of Knowledge, provide a metaphorical representation of how ancestral
leadership knowledge moves within the baskets, we have demonstrated
the depth and complexity of exchange that is required to fully under-
stand ancestral leadership. In doing this we wish to not only reassert the
180 Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson and Manuka Henare

central importance of ancestral leadership within Indigenous leadership

thinking and practice. We also suggest that it is an important, if largely
un-acknowledged, influence within contemporary Western leadership
thinking and practice that leadership scholars located within the ‘core’
of the field should seriously consider acknowledging and researching.
This will do a great deal to acknowledge the influence of the past in a
manner that is much richer and more all-encompassing than simply
acknowledging the ‘historical’ voices of a few celebrated and enduring
commentators from the past. This is a phenomenon that we might
be uncomfortable in addressing and find difficulties in exploring due
largely to an absence of exemplary studies or methodologies, but it is
worthy of investigation nonetheless.
We have characterised ancestral leadership as highly contextual lead-
ership knowledge that is encompassed in spiritual, genealogical and
ancestral ties to leadership across past, present and future realities. The
essence of ancestral knowledge transcends fixed expressions of time and
simultaneously draws from, and contributes to, understandings of lead-
ership as a process of continuity without a fixed beginning or ending.
The rich knowledge that was shared in the interviews show how Māori
business leaders carry their genealogies of leadership into the work they
do and how they conduct themselves in that space. They are also part of
a process of continuity of ancestral leadership in which they are inter-
preting, translating and shaping their leadership genealogies. Ancestral
leadership has a profound influence on informing how that happens.

Epilogue: Dara’s continued journey in

ancestral leadership

In the transition between the completion of this research in 2011, and

the production of this chapter, I have returned home to Canada to share
my overseas experience in Aotearoa New Zealand with family, friends
and members of our community. Part of that journey home included
an honouring ceremony to recognise my educational achievements
expressed in the bestowal of a traditional name that belonged to my
great, great, great, great grandparent. It is a name that has not been
used since 1858, and one of the challenges our family faced in preparing
for the ceremony was that our ancestors who knew the stories about
that person (transmitted through oral tradition) have long since passed
away. However, it was made clear by the matriarchs of my father’s
maternal family line that the responsibilities I now carry with the name
presume that I will return home, and spend time at the place where
‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’ 181

the name originates, not simply to Canada as ‘home’, but to literally

visit the specific location where my great, great, great, great grandparent
lived. This seems a strong indication as to how I may come to encounter
knowledge that appears to have been ‘lost’ about my genealogy of

1. Our purpose is not to carve out a set of leadership values from the ancestral
context provided in this research and proclaim it to be the ‘enduring’ compo-
nents of leadership. We seek not for widespread and generalisable applica-
tion of our findings as might be the case with a positivist research tradition.
Instead, our approach to research incorporates Indigenous methods (including
a Kaupapa Māori approach) and interpretivist methods that allow the findings
to illuminate a previously under-recognised perspective on leadership.
2. Marae are an ancient Polynesian institution encompassing the entire sacred
grounds upon which the sacred house sits among other structures affiliated
with marae activities.

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Voices that Matter: Speaking Up
for the ‘Indigenous’ in Business
Diane Ruwhiu


The British took over Aotearoa, made it New Zealand and shaped it in
their own image as though those who were resident did not matter. Māori
are now saying that being Māori does matter and that the education
system, especially through the compulsory years of schooling, must
do much better in incorporating a Māori knowledge base through
pedagogies based on Māori aspirations.
Penetito, 2010, p. 255; italics in original

Until the 1990s, the New Zealand education system ignored ‘the Māori’,
effectively silencing the existence of an Indigenous community of people
and relegating them to some mystical enclave in the nation’s past that
had long since disappeared from its shores. At school I learnt that since
there were no more full-blooded Māori left in New Zealand, we were all
one people and to succeed in the world I had to forgo my Māori-ness
and conform to this vision of ‘one-people’ in New Zealand. This under-
standing was made even more difficult with the ‘half-caste’ identity that
was applied as an official label of my ethnicity. I wasn’t Diane, a student
with Māori heritage. I was Diane, the half-caste. As you can imagine this
led to a deep sense of uneasiness and disconnection about who I thought
I was and how I should fit into the world. While New Zealand’s educa-
tion system has moved beyond what it once was, that uneasy feeling
remains as the business school in which I am a lecturer has committed
to the introduction of Māori content into its curriculum. Don’t get me
wrong! I am not opposed to it at all. However, it does highlight the
critical importance of an education system that speaks to and hears from
silenced voices within our society. In the context of our business school

186 Diane Ruwhiu

ideology and the introduction of Indigenous theories and practices, my

question is whose voice(s) will matter the most?
The narrative in this chapter represents the musings of an Indigenous
Māori academic working in a western-centred business school, and all
the associated ideological and pedagogical approaches that shape our
contemporary practice within the wide variety of under- and postgrad-
uate degree programs. As has been extensively documented in the litera-
ture (Clegg & Ross-Smith, 2003; Verbos, Gladstone & Kennedy, 2011), I
share in the increasing concern regarding the intellectual and cultural
imperialism implicated in both the content and conduct of education in
our business schools. That is to say, the pervasive ideological construc-
tion of management and organisation knowledge that locates the west
as the bastion of intellectual knowledge while ‘the history of other non-
Western and colonised cultures is restricted to and refracted through the
knowledge structures of the West’ (Jack et al., 2011, pp. 277–278). This
is a position that at best excludes, or worse erodes, non-western concep-
tions of knowledge and practice. It raises the spectre of a western core
whose imperialistic practices including educational institutional forms,
constitute knowledge of and about the periphery (Fanon, 2004; Frenkel
& Shenhav, 2006; Ibarra-Colado, 2006), and reproduce economic, social
and symbolic inequalities (Jack et al., 2011).
Education in general, and business education in particular, will never
provide for the real interests of Māori or other Indigenous communi-
ties, as long as the central philosophical assumptions of the system
remain solely in the tradition of western intellectualism (Nakata et al.,
2012; Penetito, 2010; Verbos, Gladstone & Kennedy, 2011). In intro-
ducing Māori Indigenous knowledge and practice into the New Zealand
business school curriculum, there remains potential for Māori as the
periphery field to be a passive recipient (Penetito, 2010) and a silenced
voice. Ideologically, Indigenous business education supports principles
based on a commitment to the many voices of Indigenous peoples in
business and management education (Fitzgibbons & Humphries, 2011).
It reflects a paradigmatic change that responds to the legacy of colonial
power in business education that has resulted in Indigenous peoples
being virtually invisible and their voices muted when it comes to busi-
ness education and literature (Tangihaere & Twiname, 2011; Verbos,
Gladstone & Kennedy, 2011). In this chapter, I use a postcolonial lens to
explore the dynamics of Indigenous business education in the context
of New Zealand’s socio-political and intellectual landscape, which is
profoundly influenced by the colonial encounter between the Pākehā
(non-Māori)/colonial/core and those of a Māori/colonised/periphery.
Voices that Matter 187

This chapter reflects a negotiation of existence between two world-

views; one that recognises my tangata whenua status (people of the land
referring to their prominence as first nation peoples of New Zealand) and
the other reflecting my assimilated upbringing in a Pākehā, non-Māori
world. Importantly, my intention is not to privilege one worldview over
the other. I am not proclaiming a ‘them’ or ‘us’ position, for I am both.
It is from within this space where I reclaim the hybrid reality of in-be-
tween-ness of the core/coloniser and periphery/colonised relationship
(Bhabha, 1994). The use of periphery terminology is often associated
with the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and most would agree
that for the diffusion of management knowledge, the core is nominated
as the west – the United States (Kipping et al., 2008), or imperial nations,
such as Britain and France (Fanon, 2004; Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006). In
this chapter, I have located Indigenous Māori as being on the periphery
of New Zealand, itself a peripheral nation, and relate the discussion to
the processes of power and consequential hybridisation associated with
the core-periphery dynamics in the context of colonial-indigene rela-
tions. The relationship between these subject-positions constitutes a
locale of disruption and potential displacement of hegemonic colonial
narratives (Bhabha, 1994; Maaka & Fleras, 2005) through which I argue
we can consider a way forward for business curriculum development
that includes, with integrity, the voices of Indigenous communities.
The spirit of my discussion is important. I am guided by Frantz Fanon
(2004, p. 239) who so passionately argued that ‘humanity expects other
things from us than this grotesque and generally obscene emulation’ of
colonial institutions, discourses and constructions of identity. By way of
illustration, I share a whakatuaki, or proverb – Tungia te ururua kia tupu
whakaritorito te kupu o te harakeke (Set fire to the overgrown bush, and
the new flax shoots will spring up), which means to clear away what is
bad, and allow the good to flourish. This chapter represents my attempt
to ‘set fire’ to some deeply held conventional wisdoms that are a mani-
festation of the colonial conditioning of our academic institutions, and
allow alternative and, dare I say it, more realistic, educational perspec-
tives to flourish.

The colonial imprint on business education

Smith (2012, p. 20) states that ‘imperialism frames the indigenous expe-
rience’. Therefore, when we consider educational practices deployed in
our New Zealand business schools, we must understand its location
within a history of colonial repression that has shaped the New Zealand
188 Diane Ruwhiu

context, itself considered on the margins of the global west (Prichard

et al., 2007). From the 1600s New Zealand was progressively colonised
and interaction between Māori and the European settlers culminated in
the signing of Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi, on 6 February
1840, forming the basis for British settlement and government. Māori
understood the arrangement to be one of partnership, reciprocal obli-
gation and mutual benefit with the guarantee of rangatiratanga, or
chieftainship, ensuring autonomy over their own affairs (Durie, 2001).
However, to the British it signalled the socio-political annexation of
New Zealand and its population, undermining traditional economic,
cultural and social forms of Māori organisation. The Māori response
has seen a history of political manoeuvring tempered by periods of
resistance, most obviously around territorial lands and water but
increasingly including areas of cultural and intellectual development
(Bishop, 2008; Durie, 2005; Walker, 2005). The Treaty of Waitangi Act
1975 heralded the beginnings of a legislative infrastructure that recog-
nised a political relationship between the majority Pākehā population
and the non-Pākehā/Māori. On the surface, this legislative infrastruc-
ture offers a bi-cultural utopia that provides an alternative model for
living together (Maaka & Fleras, 2005). The reality, however, is very
different. The Pākehā worldview, with its emphasis on a market-ori-
ented society that prioritises possessive individualism, stands in stark
contrast to the relational sense of collective community that embodies
the Māori worldview (Penetito, 2010; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010). The
result is a fiercely contested struggle for the control of positions of
power, authority and discourse within the national agenda (Maaka &
Fleras, 2005).
The contradictions that complicate a postcolonial social contract are
revealed in the disappointing attempts by consecutive New Zealand
governments to advance Māori rights, (Bishop, 2003; Maaka & Fleras,
2005; Penetito, 2010) as indicated by the continuing decline of Māori
health, education and socio-economic statistics. As the subordinate
minority in New Zealand, Māori have been historically and economi-
cally marginalised, and continue to experience the on-going coloni-
sation of their culture (Maaka & Fleras, 2005; Penetito, 2010; Walker,
2005). No more so than in the New Zealand education system, designed
by a colonial, assimilationist government, mirroring the British educa-
tional institutions left behind by the colonisers and focused predomi-
nantly on the needs of the colonising population (Kidman, 1999). Here
is where we can find a marker of difference between the coloniser and
colonised experience. Māori researcher Wally Penetito (2010) shares his
Voices that Matter 189

experience and in doing so highlights the role of education in main-

taining the status quo:

Schooling seemed to be about a distant promise that Pākehā kids did

not have difficulty perceiving and Māori kids always did. That is why
I found schooling remote. Detached, separate and institutionalised:
Schools were places set up for Pākehā kids while Māori waited around
for their turn to come. (p. 29)

Penetito’s memories of his early education resonate so strongly with

mine, and I imagine other Indigenous peoples who have experienced
and are still experiencing the colonial legacy of Western imperialism in
national systems of education. I always felt like I didn’t quite ‘get it’. But
I got good at pretending. My father’s experience in early education also
reveals the huge disparities and negation of identity that are embodied
within the politics of our education system. Growing up in a small rural
Northland Māori community he and his siblings spoke te reo, Māori
language, at home, on their marae, a communal meeting space for social
and sacred purposes, but at school were physically punished for speaking
their native language. Nothing at school ever made sense to him, and
no wonder, when his only way of articulating his sense of the world
was denied to him. As Penetito (2010) notes, the inherent problem is
one of context, which is the Indigenous experience in a colonial educa-
tion system. In New Zealand, the Native Schools Act 1867 established
a national system of primary schools under the control of the Native
Department, which in the early stages did allow Māori language, arts and
crafts to facilitate English instruction, although never at the expense of
‘Pākehā consciousness and definitions of reality’ (p. 47).
In the early years of colonisation, educational initiatives were
presented to Māori by the colonial government as a civilising and politi-
cally neutralising enterprise (Walker, 2005). That is to say, an educa-
tion system that manufactured and manipulated consensus about what
constitutes knowledge and power in a way that justifies and repro-
duces itself. In Foucault’s terms ‘a form of governmentality’ (Foucault
et al., 1991), which involves a deliberate locating of Māori knowledge
as ‘subjugated knowledge’ (Foucault, 1980), privileging colonial ways
of knowing, while at the same time denying the validity of Māori
knowledge, language and culture. Against that context, education in
New Zealand, including tertiary business education, can be consid-
ered a discursive regime carrying specific ideologies that service the
interests of hegemonic groups (Coronado, 2012). In my experience of
190 Diane Ruwhiu

undergraduate business studies during the 1990s, there was very little
exposure to Māori culture or practice (which is slowly being addressed,
e.g., see Amoamo, 2011; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2012; Spiller & Stockdale, 2013;
Verbos, Kennedy & Gladstone, 2011). However, the problem remains
in the managerial discourse evident in business textbooks, which are
prime instruments that not only legitimise hegemonic ideologies, but
also represent cultures ‘through ahistoric, highly selective statements as
facts’ (Coronado, 2012, p. 162).
As an example, I was both intrigued and horrified when I came across
an excerpt in a textbook that was required reading in one of our interna-
tional business communication courses:

The Māori of New Zealand, in contrast, expect touching as part of

the greeting ritual. Māori businesspeople may feel left out of business
meetings if the traditional greeting, the hongi, or pressing of noses,
and the karanga, or formal cry of welcome, are not performed. They
service a similar function to handshaking in German society, setting
everyone at ease. (Varner & Beamer, 2005, p. 188)

In this example, the authors have denigrated two sacred rituals in Māori
society as being akin to a handshake. In its construction business educa-
tion is contradictory and ambivalent, wherein ‘the “signs” of culture
can be appropriated, translated, re-historicised and read anew’ (Bhabha,
1994, p. 37). The Indigenous voice is not only lost, it is badly misrepre-
sented. In addition, the ‘voice’ heard and represented in business educa-
tion is white, Anglo-American, Christian, patriarchal and predominantly
English-speaking (Coronado, 2012; Penetito, 2010; Verbos, Kennedy &
Gladstone, 2011). Critically, the problem remains that the decision of
whose knowledge is included in the curriculum is inherently political
and ideological, and taken by the dominant population.
Based on the conviction that the contemporary New Zealand educa-
tion system cannot be disassociated from its roots in the colonial schema
of imperialism, there continues to be a deeply embedded privileging of
power and knowledge in our educational institutions that benefit some
groups at the expense of others (Frenkel, 2008; Ibarra-Colado, 2006).
Therefore, education in general, and business education in particular,
continues to fail the developmental and aspirational needs of Māori,
and other Indigenous communities. This is not a proposition. This is
a fact. Indigenous peoples typically have lower entry numbers into
tertiary education and once there they have higher failure rates. Those
that do reach the completion of a degree, for a variety of reasons, are
Voices that Matter 191

less likely to continue on to postgraduate studies (for statistics illus-

trating the difference between Māori and Pākehā in New Zealand, see
provider_summary). This chapter joins the call for a different approach
to business education, and suggests that exploration of core/coloniser/
Pākehā-periphery/colonised/Māori relations is critical in confronting
the colonial, exploitative patterns and relationships that exist in our
tertiary education systems.

Confronting the colonial legacy

Challenging the colonial world is not a rational confrontation of

viewpoints. It is not a discourse on the universal, but the impassioned
claim by the colonised that their world is fundamentally different.
Fanon, 2004, p. 6

To challenge the status quo is uncomfortable, even painful. It is a murky

and challenging terrain, for both coloniser and colonised. This is the
colonial legacy. Engagement with it draws us into a turbulent space of
historical transition involving the narration of, for and about subjugated
communities of people, by those in positions of power, economically
and politically, but also militarily, culturally and ideologically (Prasad,
2003). Much of the critique facing business education has emerged from
within the domain of critical management education (Cunliffe et al.,
2002; Reynolds, 1998), feminist writings (Swan et al., 2009) and more
recently postcolonialism (Coronado, 2012; Rizvi et al., 2006). Each calls
for a paradigm shift in business education and scholarship to address
the tensions associated with the ideological juxtapositioning of highly
developed rationalising ideologies and different cultural groups and
their worldviews. The value-neutral premises of western intellectualism
as exemplified by modern scientific knowledge – universal, invariable
and based on general analytical rationality – is more often than not
held aloft as a barrier to the logics and worldviews that are embodied by
value-rational, context-dependent worldviews (Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010;
Tsoukas & Cummings, 1997).
Borne from the critical commentary and resistance of colonial
encounter, postcolonialism has emerged as an interrogative space for
organisational scholars, with significant theoretical and empirical inves-
tigations of the postcolonial and organisational nexus (Banerjee & Prasad,
2008; Jack et al., 2011). Postcolonial theory addresses organisation
scholars’ fascination with the study of spaces representing the strange
192 Diane Ruwhiu

or novel non-western Other, demonstrating the persistence of power

disparities in relations between representational communities (Frenkel
& Shenhav, 2006; Ibarra-Colado, 2006; Rizvi et al., 2006). Against that
context, postcolonial perspectives must be spoken of as heterogeneous
given the diversity of contributions, which cannot be integrated into
one perspective (Jack et al., 2011; Prasad, 2012). Therefore, postcolonial
analysis, in its broadest sense, seeks to reconcile the alternative philo-
sophical orientations that exist in the worldviews of different cultures to
accommodate different voices, languages and ideologies. It is from this
perspective that I use the lens of postcolonial thinking as a space of inter-
rogation in business education that provides for Indigenous voices.
Postcolonial theory shares critical dialogue with Indigenous scholars
and scholarship, particularly in the domain of management and organi-
sation (Denzin et al., 2008; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010; Verbos, Gladstone
& Kennedy, 2011). I acknowledge there has been notable critique of
postcolonial theory, specifically concerning its work with western-cen-
tred epistemology and categories of analysis, and the notation ‘post’
as a signal for the cessation of colonisation processes (Jack et al., 2011;
Smith, 2012). However, I find the lens offered by postcolonial theory, in
particular the processes of understanding the complex relations at the
core-periphery as a hybrid space of interrogation (Bhabha, 1984, 1994),
to be useful in exploring the mutually exclusive claims between colonial
rule and Indigenous autonomy in business education. Particularly so,
and as will be discussed further in the chapter, when we view Indigenous
education as the meeting of two knowledge systems (Nursey-Bray &
Haugstetter, 2011; Penetito, 2010). Business education, when examined
from this perspective, and given that it occurs in the encounter between
the colonial centre and the colonised periphery, is always hybrid.
Drawing from Bhabha’s vocabulary of hybridity enables investigation
of ‘the hybrid nature of the colonial encounter, the fusion between colo-
nisers and the colonised, and the mutual effects between them’ (Frenkel
& Shenhav, 2006, p. 856). Bhabha’s work suggests the geo-political
context in which the dynamic interaction between the core-periphery
occurs creates a hybrid space, which does not conform to an either/
or distinction, but rather is about reconciliation of distinct sets of rela-
tions (Bhabha, 1984, 1994; Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006). The concept of
hybridity describes the construction of cultural authority within condi-
tions of political antagonism or inequity (Bhabha, 1996), which I have
advanced as an appropriate framework that works to disrupt hegem-
onic cultural narratives and provides space for the Indigenous voice(s)
in business education.
Voices that Matter 193

In confronting the tensions that occur in-between the colonial/core

and colonised/periphery set of relations, Bhabha (1983) suggests we must
overcome our tendency towards the colonial/colonised stereotype:

An important feature of colonial discourse is its dependence on the

concept of ‘fixity’ in the ideological construction of otherness ... For
it is the force of ambivalence that gives the colonial stereotype its
currency: ensures its repeatability in changing historical and discur-
sive conjunctures; informs its strategies of individuation and margin-
alisation; produces that effect of probabilistic truth and predictability
which, for the stereotype, must always be in excess of what can be
empirically proved or logically construed. (p. 18)

The colonial stereotype is a process by which individuals succumb to

the rules of society, or in Foucauldian terms the ‘processes of subjecti-
fication’ (Foucault, 1988), influenced by the significant discursive strat-
egies of discriminatory power (Bhabha, 1983). Therefore, as a subject
of a difference ‘that is almost the same, but not quite’ (Bhabha, 1984,
p. 126), the colonial subject can never fully adopt the identity of the
coloniser and become an essential and legitimate part of the colonising
society. Frenkel (2008, p. 927) argues that this perspective illustrates
‘the disrupted, disturbed, and inappropriate ways in which the imposed
knowledge, discourses, and practices, including those of management,
are articulated in the colonised/third world society’. She goes on to say
that while this provides an expression of the coloniser’s ambivalent
needs, it also brings to the fore the expression of active and sometimes
conscious resistance by the colonised.
Power is then viewed as relational, emerging out of the mutual process
of identity construction (Frenkel, 2008). When discussing the role of
power we must consider its relationship with knowledge. Knowledge is
not neutral, but is intimately tied to the operation of power (Foucault,
1982) and, therefore, both represents and reproduces social hierarchies
(Bhabha, 1984). The notion of hybridity offers a liminal space where the
ebb and flow of intercultural encounters construct identities and shape
meaning (Frenkel, 2008), avoiding essentialising discourse that locks
identity construction within a totalised and historic vision (Bhabha,
To understand this mutuality gives insight to the complex social
antagonisms of the colonial relation and the different forms of resist-
ance that ensue (Bhabha, 1994). From the colonised perspective it is in
our very resistance against a coloniser’s fabrication of our reality where
194 Diane Ruwhiu

the processes of reconciliation occur. Critically, Bhabha challenges ‘the

idea of subjectivity as stable, single and ‘pure’, and draws attention to
the ways diasporic peoples in particular are able to challenge exclu-
sionary systems of meaning’ (Rizvi et al., 2006, p. 254), recognising that
knowledge systems are very complex. Therefore, any delivery of alterna-
tive knowledge systems must acknowledge that knowledge paradigms
already exist (Tsoukas, 2005) and include the condition of possibility
that exists in the permanent, open and inclusive dialogue between
many worlds, without dominance or subjugating any one to the other
(Faria et al., 2010).
In business education a postcolonial perspective transforms western/
colonial/core–Indigenous/colonised/periphery relations into a contested
site, contradictory and ambivalent, where cultural difference is negoti-
ated to produce hybrid cultures, representing a unique space of inter-
rogation (Bhabha, 1994; Maaka & Fleras, 2005). Clearly, then, Bhabha’s
(1994) problematisation of the notions of ‘hybridity’, ‘ambiguity’ and
‘ambivalence’ shows how business education can involve a wider and
more credible interrogative space, which appeals to the promotion and
formation of locally relevant theories and educational strategies (Clegg
& Ross-Smith, 2003; Jack et al., 2011; Rizvi et al., 2006). This is a timely
intervention as business students, educators and our business communi-
ties, particularly those from Indigenous contexts, are increasing calls for
education programs that not only reflect authentically Indigenous busi-
ness practices and the knowledge base from which they stem, but also
programs that engage Indigenous peoples in productive and sensible
ways (Verbos, Gladstone & Kennedy, 2011).

Indigenous business education in New Zealand

Indigenous business education recognises that the concepts and practices

of business education, whether at under- or postgraduate levels, can only
be of benefit when they are anchored in the social architecture of the
community, people, processes, structures and technologies it professes
to serve (Pearson & Chatterjee, 2010). Indigenous business education,
therefore, must reflect and support development for Indigenous peoples
as scholars, managers and community (Fitzgibbons & Humphries, 2011).
In particular, it must respond to the contexualised / localised needs of
the communities in which it is practiced. Against this context, postco-
lonial thinking becomes very useful for the authentic articulation of
Indigenous voice in business education. Using the Bhabhaian hybrid
lens in core-periphery relations, education is constructed as a political
Voices that Matter 195

object that is ‘new, neither the one nor the other’ (Bhabha, 1994, p. 37)
alienating our socio-cultural expectations, and changes, as it must, the
very forms of reconciliation, which in this instance must occur in our
business schools. In the following discussion I provide a brief overview
of how Māori culture is currently being introduced into New Zealand
business education. I then focus on two thematic questions directed
at the epistemological and ontological space that I argue is crucial to
our further understanding of core-periphery relations in business and
management education.
Māori aspirations for the twenty-first century are based on greater
control over their own destinies and resources. Contribution to and
participation in New Zealand’s higher education system is a vital ingre-
dient in the achievement of these aspirations. In education we have
seen the articulation of these aspirations in the form of the kaupapa
Māori paradigm in education and legislative requirements to include
Indigenous Māori knowledge and practice. Kaupapa Māori is ‘the Māori
way’ (Henry & Pene, 2001, p. 235), informed by collective and inter-
generational wisdom, and is therefore foundational to Māori ways of
thinking, being and doing. The kaupapa Māori perspective is grounded
in Māori cosmological and epistemological thinking. In education, this
perspective has driven the agenda to develop Māori language nests (Te
Kohanga Reo) set in Kura Kaupapa Māori Elementary Schools (Māori
immersion philosophy and practice schools), Kura Tuarua (Māori immer-
sion secondary school options) and Whare Wananga (Māori Tertiary
options). These institutions operate separately to mainstream educa-
tion institutions. The objective is to sustain Māori education through
alternative structures to those within the dominant domain, as a means
of revitalising Māori language, knowledge and culture (Penetito, 2010).
The kaupapa Māori paradigm has been extensively explored and is
well-established within the New Zealand and international educational
domains (for more detail, see Bishop, 2003, 2008; Pihama et al., 2004;
Smith, 2012).
Legislatively, New Zealand’s system of higher education is informed
by a unique set of social and political institutional arrangements, specif-
ically the Education Act (1989), which accepts the legitimacy of a Māori
worldview and creates expectation that it is included in university educa-
tion and research. This requires, at the very least, University Councils to
acknowledge the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and to take account
of the treaty in their defining documents, including mission statements,
charters and profiles (Walker, 1990). One such example is the University
of Otago Māori Strategic Framework, which outlines seven aspirational
196 Diane Ruwhiu

areas for Māori development (see http://www.otago.ac.nz/prodcons/

groups/public/documents/webcontent/otago005301.pdf). The frame-
work operates as a more cohesive approach to Māori strategy across all
campuses of the university and provides a greater sense of responsibility
and accountability among both staff and students for the support and
progression of ‘things Māori’ at the University of Otago.
The increasing demand from Māori communities for business programs
that meet their developmental aspirations combined with legislative
requirements has seen moves in many New Zealand business schools
to incorporate Māori content. The Māori business faculty at the Victoria
University of Wellington offers a major in Māori business as part of the
Bachelor of Commerce. They offer courses including the Management
of Māori Resources, Treaty Settlement Process, Māori Business and
Entrepreneurship and Māori Culture and Intellectual Property Issues
(http://www.victoria.ac.nz/vbs/study-careers/subjects/mbus). Auckland
Business School also presents a full platter of Māori development busi-
ness courses, including Legal Studies and Governance and Management
MĀORIDEV/). I am encouraged and committed to the programs referred
to here. However, and with no disrespect to those involved in the crea-
tion or further development of those programs, I would suggest that
there is yet to be robust and coherent attention to Māori content into
mainstream business management programs. To merely prescribe legal
requirements and embed them within university policy does not equate
to real understanding nor authentic implementation or application of
Indigenous knowledge and practice into our business schools. Nor does
the injection of localised and/or culturally constituted understandings
into a university framework necessarily change the western-centric bias
of the institution (Kidman, 1999). These barriers are not insurmountable,
but they do not have a quick-fix. It is a reflection of the realities facing
those of us, including non-Indigenous scholars, who are committed to
enabling alternative worldviews and perspectives in business education.
It is the consequences of those barriers that remain of concern, when I
consider whether an authentic Indigenous voice is included in our busi-
ness school ideology.

What does Indigenous knowledge in the context of

business education look like?
An important feature of Indigenous business education is the hybrid-
isation of the different knowledge systems (in this instance, western/
core and Indigenous/peripheral knowledge) as they converge and
Voices that Matter 197

constitute one another (Bhabha, 1994; Nakata et al., 2012; Nursey-

Bray & Haugstetter, 2011). When we employ aspects of both knowl-
edge systems, we recognise the distinctiveness of each and avoid the
privileging of one over the other (Penetito, 2010). With this approach,
mutual benefits can be realised and Indigenous worldviews can be
matched with contemporary realities. The approaches foster curriculum
development and teaching practices that include with integrity Māori
philosophy, ethics and knowledge (wisdom), working in conjunction
with western ideas and practices in business education.
Returning to the New Zealand experience, and as discussed by notable
Māori scholar Sir Mason Durie (2005), there are two key approaches to
introducing Māori content into business schools that ensure a Māori
voice is heard. The first adds a Māori perspective to a course by inviting
a Māori scholar to offer an Indigenous viewpoint. As an example, based
on my research involving kaupapa Māori and firm performance, I often
venture into management department courses offered by my colleagues
on entrepreneurship, work and identity, business communication, inno-
vation and research methods to provide an Indigenous Māori perspec-
tive. To begin each class I introduce key features of Te Ao Māori, the
Māori worldview, and discuss how our worldviews drive our practice,
drawing from specific examples, research and cases to illustrate my
point. For example, in the work and identity lecture I discuss the social-
ised contexts in the workplace and use a Māori worldview to frame and
understand how the construction of the ‘self’/‘selves’ has implications
for organisational behaviour. I then move on to discuss how Māori iden-
tity has implications for leadership practice and human resource strate-
gies. Such an approach enables the introduction of culturally diverse
contexts into business and management education exposing students
to moral, ethical and critical contexts which will prepare them to work
anywhere in the world (Fitzgibbons & Humphries, 2011).
The second approach introduces different models of learning to the
course by exposing students to other forums where learning outcomes
depend on active involvement and experiential learning (Durie, 2005). A
stay in a marae – a tribal centre of culture and learning – has become an
accepted component of many tertiary courses in New Zealand. An exem-
plary model can be seen in the Hauora – Māori Health Issues programme
at Otago School of Medicine (Baxter, 2010). The role of marae in tertiary
education provides an opportunity for Indigenous Māori staff to combine
their role as an academic while also observing essential Māori cultural
concepts and practices as derived from a Māori worldview (Ka’ai, 2008).
It enables the implementation of Māori pedagogical practices in the
198 Diane Ruwhiu

delivery of curricula emanating from the traditional Māori concept of

a marae, a bastion for Māori identity within the contemporary context
and the cultural concept of wananga, a place of learning (Ka’ai, 2008).
Both of the approaches noted above achieve the objective of engaging
alternative worldviews within the same space. They are not meant to
be taken away as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the negotiated space in
tertiary education that is both Māori and Pākehā. Rather they are exam-
ples of successful pedagogical methods that reflect the hybrid reality of
the core-periphery where we can ensure the Indigenous voice is heard
and maintained within the emerging discourse surrounding business
and management education. It is crucially important that business
students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, are exposed to and trained
to understand these powerful relational dynamics. For this we need to
understand the consequences of engaging in the hybrid space for educa-
tors and students alike.

What are the consequences and/or outcomes for

students and educators?
When I first started teaching management at the business school, a Pākehā
colleague offered some advice – ‘Never tell them anything about your-
self! They don’t need to know. It helps to maintain that air of profession-
alism’. I remember thinking as I deleted my slide that introduced myself
to my class – ‘[T]hat was a near miss. I could have looked really unprofes-
sional!’ However, for me, it was perfectly natural to let the students in
the class know who I was and where I come from. From a Māori perspec-
tive, establishing a sense of connection and belonging in a community
we engage with is taken for granted. Educators involved in Indigenous
business education must also understand who we are in relation with/to
the contexts we study and students we teach. However, this is not the
‘norm’ in conventional educational practice. Locating a sense of self that
students, and in particular Indigenous students, feel comfortable with
requires a level of personal transmission about self that is not ordinarily
part of the lecturer–student dynamic (Nursey-Bray & Haugstetter, 2011).
However, it is only through such critical and personal interrogation of
ourselves as educators that we can learn how to more productively serve
the interests of those outside the privileged centre.
Educational theorists have long urged educators to construct learning
environments that are meaningful to students, recognising that failure
to do so, which is all too common, silences student voices and alien-
ates students from educational experiences (Penetito, 2010; Verbos,
Kennedy & Gladstone, 2011). This suggests that a deep and meaningful
Voices that Matter 199

understanding of academic learning must consider the contextual and

personal dimensions of individual learners (Ana-Maria Bliuca et al.,
2011), allowing us to understand learning from a student perspec-
tive. It is key to improving the quality of Indigenous student learning
Such an approach that not only addresses student achievement but
also helps students to accept and affirm their cultural identity while
developing critical perspectives that challenge inequities that business
schools (and other institutions) perpetuate are vital for effective peda-
gogical practice. This is contrasted with an assimilationist approach
to teaching and learning that fits students into an existing social and
economic order as its primary responsibility (Bishop, 2003; Osborne,
1996). For an authentic voice in Indigenous business education, it is
crucial to work with student learners according to their own self-identi-
fication and view of the world, not from a culturally predetermined idea
of what constitutes Indigeneity (Maaka & Fleras, 2005; Nursey-Bray &
Haugstetter, 2011).
Indigenous systems of knowledge have a great deal to offer business
education. In the first instance, as an alternative lens through which
business, management and organisation can be viewed, analysed and
understood. In addition, what we teach our students must also reflect
hybrid forms of economy, business and management (Jack et al., 2011).
This is where postcolonial literature and alternative pedagogical perspec-
tives assume an important role in student learning by introducing them
to approaches that interrupt received ways of thinking about the world,
and articulating the hybridity and difference that lies within (Rizvi
et al., 2006). The anticipation is that to do so will result in better student
learning experiences and outcomes.


Poroporakī, or ceremony of closure, is where I situate a farewell to the

narrative in this chapter, but it is by no means signifying the ‘end’ of
the process. The voices of Indigenous peoples are becoming increasingly
assertive in all aspects of management and organisation (Fitzgibbons &
Humphries, 2011). Indigenous peoples are always going to be exploring
the traditions that guide our lives and in doing so develop contempo-
rary visions for our communities to move forward as active participants
and drivers of our own destinies. However, the discussion here is not to
be taken as a proposed set of normative steps regarding the content and
conduct of Indigenous business education. My aim in this chapter has
200 Diane Ruwhiu

been to apply the postcolonial lens to interrupt conventional ways of

thinking about business education and offer some insights in relation to
understanding the challenges and opportunities of Indigenous business
education. In particular, I argue that Bhabha’s notion of hybridity offers
an important framework for the pursuit of a more authentic approach
to Indigenous business education and business school curriculum in
As I finish putting my thoughts to paper, I am still uncomfortable
when discussion arises around the development of Māori content in our
business school curriculum. The best of intentions can still have the
worst of outcomes. However, I am reminded of a comment by Nelson
Mandela: ’Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to
change the world’. As with any weapon of choice, it depends on how it
is used. Will a reconciliatory and hybrid view of the discipline of busi-
ness education, that raises awareness of power-sharing relationships and
interaction patterns, address Māori aspirations for self-determination
in mainstream educational institutions? Or will it result in a reproduc-
tion of the colonial, exploitative patterns that maintains and legitimates
privileged positions through management education? As a starting point
we can plan for a change that includes Indigenous knowledge and prac-
tice in the way we think about what we teach, how we teach and design
curriculum in our business schools. It is through understanding the
complex space of negotiation within which national higher education
systems are embedded that we will see the empowerment and connec-
tion of Indigenous communities to discussions in business education
in a way that gives sense and power to the worldviews of Indigenous
peoples and makes sure their voices matter!

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Sorry, the Network Society has
Already been Invented: Why
Management Education Needs
Indigenous Input
Bob Hodge

Networks are a good site for exploring this paradox. The ‘digital revo-
lution’ and the ‘network society’ are trumpeted as the new basis for
globalisation, a combination of technology and management practices
that justifies global capitalism in its claimed right to lead the world.
Yet Management and Organisation Studies (MOS) was dominant many
decades before digital technology arrived, before networks were cele-
brated. Was this earlier form of management defective? Conversely,
Indigenous societies lacked digital technologies but had highly devel-
oped forms of network organisation. Were they organisationally supe-
rior in some respects to the dominant western forms of organisation? Is
it possible that western forms have still not caught up? Should modern
organisations and management educators seek to learn from groups and
practices that have hitherto been marginalised and despised?
It is important to avoid simplistic binaries. Turning back the clock
is not an option. Justice and mutual respect are needed as humanity
confronts a world that is new and challenging for everyone. To cope with
that world requires respectful collaboration, to co-construct a network
imagination across core-periphery systems of a global world.

MOS and the ideological complex

In the chapter that follows I present evidence of the inadequacies of

MOS, but first I deal with a question many business students might ask.
How could it be that the gleaming well-resourced MOS machine purveys

Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented 205

a deeply inadequate version of central concepts like networks? How

could people from the margins have anything to teach MOS?
As a first step in clarification I distinguish management education from
management practice in capitalist enterprises. Parker (2002) describes
‘managerialism’ as the dominant ideology about management, which
he argues often does not correspond to what managers do or need to do.
It is managerialism which forms the core of MOS, rather than a science
or practice of management. MOS is likely to combine some practical
knowledge with ideological content, to inculcate a version of the world
which will make products of business education – you, my readers – more
employable by those few who really run major enterprises. Management
students need to be able to distinguish ‘managerialism’ from manage-
ment expertise if they are to thrive in organisations, at any level.
To frame this discussion I employed a useful term, ‘ideology’, which
is rarely found in management textbooks. Ideology refers to a slanted
version of reality designed to advance the interests of a group, espe-
cially a dominant group. I use it in the form of an Ideological Complex:
‘A functionally related set of contradictory versions of the world, coer-
cively imposed by one social group on another on behalf of its distinc-
tive interests, or subversively offered by another social group in attempts
at resistance in its own interests’ (Hodge & Kress, 1988, p. 3). There are
two important points about an ideological complex for this chapter. Its
versions of reality are not totally untrue, merely strategically slanted.
And contradictions are not dysfunctional but crucial for ideological
work. MOS supports capitalism better because of its contradictory
stances about networks and many other matters. Yet the slanting needs
to be nearly invisible for the trick to work, for the contradictions not to
be noticed. For this to happen, the position of the gaze must be care-
fully controlled. It must be seen from above, not from below; from those
who imagine they are managers, not from those who know they are not;
from those positioned at the centre, not on the periphery.
My aim with this chapter is not to prove that one position is right
and the other wrong, but rather to foster a critical gaze in students of
management, so that they can be better at reading their textbooks,
listening to or downloading their lectures and reflecting on key issues
in management coming to them from all sources, from the media and
their own experience. By ‘better’ I mean better able to use these sources
to enhance their own grasp of key issues, and develop their own capaci-
ties to survive and thrive, in their present courses and in their present or
future workplaces, wherever they are located, high or low in hierarchies,
closer or further from global ‘centres’.
206 Bob Hodge

To make the discussion more concrete and more closely connected

to the experiences of management students I illustrate with examples
from two textbooks, both widely used in Australia (Hill & McShane,
2008, Davidson & Griffin, 2003). These come from a larger corpus of 12
(Coronado, 2012; Hodge et al., 2010), which between them cover most
management courses in Australia. They are both instances of a global
industry organised along centre-periphery lines, in which successful US
textbooks are revised by Australian authors for an Australian market and
set of courses. This is MOS made in the core and exported outwards, in
a global management education system.
In this and later sections I examine a cluster of concepts I claim hang
together as part of the MOS ideological complex, which provide the
shifting context for its contradictions about networks and digital tech-
nologies. This cluster is framed by two key terms, ‘globalization’ as the
radically new context for networks and technologies, and ‘revolution’ to
capture the scale of change managers now deal with.
There is widespread agreement in business and management discourses
that there has indeed been a ‘revolution’ in business and management,
but symptomatically there is less agreement over what it is or where it
is going. I illustrate the hype with the title of an article, ‘Race against
the machine: how the digital revolution is accelerating innovation,
driving productivity, and irreversibly transforming employment and the
economy’, by Brynjolfsson and McAfee (2012), academics from MIT’s
Sloan School of Management. These theorists from the centre are not in
doubt that the revolution has already happened, and they are confident
that they know what to do if others don’t.
But sociologists Thomas Clarke and Stewart Clegg (1998) have a more
complex judgement. They refer to a ‘paradigm shift’, a new wave in
business theory as well as practice. They locate this in the rejection
of an old model of organisation, a top-down linear model oriented to
command and control, in favour of new, more flexible interactive forms
of organisation with flatter, networked structures. Yet the revolution is
more evident in theory and discourse than in practice. They note an
exponential growth in new management fads, each making dramatic
claims to be revolutionary, each quickly disappearing.
But behind the flurry of fads, perhaps nothing is really changing.
‘Managerialism’ as described by Parker (2002) is a one-size-fits-all model,
a single practice offered as best practice across all scales, from local
to global, in all contexts, in the centre or periphery. That practice is
built around a command-and-control model inherited from the ‘scien-
tific management’ of Taylorism (1972) and refined over the rest of the
Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented 207

twentieth century (Hughes, 2004). This leads to a core contradiction for

managerialism and its ideological complex. It needs to be seen as the
latest and best, yet also basically the same as it always was.
We can see this tension in our two textbooks. Neither talks of ‘revo-
lution’. Hill and McShane (2008, p. xii) justify their book as bridging
a ‘gap’ between management text books and current practices in the
twenty-first century. Davidson and Griffin (2003, p. vi) emphasise their
inclusion of issues of diversity and e-business as their main innova-
tions. ‘Diversity’ here refers to a new sensitivity to cultural diversity that
demonstrates the niceness of modern management in its responses to
the complex context of global. ‘E-business’ refers to digital technolo-
gies, but as an add-on to business as usual. There is no revolution to talk
up, as Brynjolfsson and McAfee do. On the contrary, the principles of
management are a stable system.
There is a kind of revolution after all, mainly carried by the term
‘globalisation’. But globalisation as they talk about it does not seem
a massive change. Davidson and Griffin (2003, p. 146) say that
‘[g]lobalisation was initially conceptualised as the worldwide process of
economic and industrial restructuring’, and now ‘is also seen to include
the process of continual change’. That is, it refers primarily to the strate-
gies of exploiting lower-wage structures of developing countries, a new
operation across existing core-periphery structures. Hill and McShane
(2008, p. 56) see it in similar terms, and claim that the process of globali-
sation has ‘markedly accelerated since the 1980s’.
Although both textbooks discuss globalisation extensively, and see it
as something managers must be aware of, they present it as a limited
phenomenon, which does not require a fundamental change in the
basic principles of management and managerialism. As Davidson and
Griffin (2003, p. 200) put it: ‘The management functions that consti-
tute the framework for this book – planning, organising, leading
and controlling – are just as relevant to international managers as to
domestic managers’. These functions all present the tasks of manage-
ment as consisting of linear acts of control from top down, from
core to peripheries. Networks and even digital technologies have no
structural place in this scheme, so no revolution is needed or wanted.
The Managerialist Imagination as represented here is a linear vision
of control from the centre, which does not encompass problems of
distance and difference on small or large scales. It is incompatible with
a network imagination which envisages multiple links between centres
and peripheries, between different sites of knowledge, different systems
of value in different locations.
208 Bob Hodge

Postcolonial tools for analysing MOS

This chapter emphasises the value of a postcolonial perspective for

understanding MOS and identifying contradictions of its ideological
complex regarding networks. In this section I elaborate two concepts
that may already be familiar to readers of this book, core-periphery
models and Orientalism.
The inadequate concepts of globalisation in MOS textbooks go along
with a dangerously slanted history. For both textbooks, globalisation
is a limited thing which only began 25 years ago. Hill and McShane
(2008, p. 56) make a simple opposition, between ‘market-based systems’
and ‘socialist economies’, which only 25 years ago, they say, were the
majority, ‘antithetical to globalization’. Now market-based systems are
in the majority, driving large-scale globalisation. Yet this is only a change
in proportions. Market-based systems implicitly remain unchanged.
They were always superior. Now they are in the majority. There is no
revolution in the principles of management, because none is needed. All
that was lacking was for the rest of the world to recognise the fact, which
fortunately according to Hill and McShane they now do.
There are basic flaws in this as history. As just one instance, ‘socialist
economies’ in Hill and McShane’s picture include pre-Thatcher Britain
and most of Europe, while the majority-status of market-based systems
now rests on classifying China and India as no longer ‘socialist’. This
‘revolution’ is achieved by semantic tricks. It does not help students
understand the complexity of globalisation, but makes them feel good
to be on the winning side. This is misinformation masquerading as
knowledge: disabling even for students from academic and geo-political
centres, more so for the marginalised.
The sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein provides a better model for
management students to use to think about globalisation. Wallerstein
(2011) gives globalisation a long history, back to the sixteenth century,
a history which for most of its time consisted of European colonialism,
seen from a postcolonial perspective. His own biography illustrates the
role that experience from the margins can have in developing good
theory for the centre. He was led to develop this theory, he writes, out
of his formative contact with theories and events primarily in contem-
porary Africa, then (in the 1950s and 1960s) engaged in struggles for
independence from their colonial masters. He comments: ‘In general,
in a deep conflict, the eyes of the down-trodden are more acute about
the reality of the present. For it is in their interest to perceive correctly
in order to expose the hypocrisies of the rulers’ (p. 4). This is a common
Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented 209

sense reason for inverting the assumption that MOS textbooks must be
right because they are close to centres of power. As Wallerstein points
out, this can be a limitation. For instance, Davidson and Griffin or Hill
and McShane do not recognise ‘deep conflict’ as a relevant framework,
and they assume that managers have no ‘hypocrisies’ to expose.
Wallerstein analyses world-systems in terms of movements between
centres, semi-peripheries and peripheries, important categories in his
theory. However, a more fundamental term for him is system. ‘System’
comes from the Greek syn, together, and tem, to hold, and captures
the theoretical and empirical fact that all elements in a system hold
together, affecting each other. In this view, centres cannot act directly
and unilaterally on peripheries. Action takes place through networks
of exchange, which are overlaid but not replaced by structures dictated
from the centre, reinforcing its powers and privileges. Wallerstein’s
‘system’ contributes to the ‘network imagination’ in the new paradigm.
Far from seeing the canonical core-periphery system of the twentieth
century as an irresistible monolith, Wallerstein sees it as under terminal
stress from structural problems of command-and-control models.
Dominance is only ever partial and temporary. New centres challenge
the old, and one-way structures of command are unsustainable. In this
situation, the MOS model of managerialism, extrapolating from small-
scale command-and-control models to global management, is a poor
Edward Said’s (2003/1978) concept of ‘Orientalism’ complements
Wallerstein’s framework by identifying the ideological forms through
which imperial centres exercised rule. He outlined the set of discur-
sive strategies through which European colonial powers constructed
‘the east’ (the Orient) in the interests of governance, which he called
He did not use the term ‘ideological complex’, but central to his
account of Orientalism is his identification of its core contradiction:
romanticising subordinated cultures but silencing and marginalising
their voices. These societies were represented as fascinating but inher-
ently inferior to the European colonisers, incapable of ruling themselves
and so justly submitted to European dominance. The contradiction
was managed by an ideological sleight-of-hand, by the claim that these
earlier societies could not understand themselves until the advent of
the colonisers, and they still needed the colonisers to understand and
explain them.
For those positioned on the margins Orientalism needs to be disman-
tled, because it captures in a pure form the structures of legitimacy
210 Bob Hodge

that devalue their experience and capacity to know and act on their
own behalf. Orientalism operates on the already limiting terms of
core-periphery models to shrink them into a closed binary (two-term)
model, of Self (European power) and Other (colonised peoples), with a
one-way flow of knowledge and legitimacy, from above to below, from
core to periphery, with no shades of grey in between. The model assumes
no possibility of reciprocal knowledge from below to above, because it
envisages no real knowledge from below. And although world-systems
are constituted by networks of exchange, which rely on reciprocal action,
this binary model of the world has no room for any kind of network:
only for the assertion and acceptance of power.
As Frenkel argues in this book (Chapter 2, p. 33), this map of the
world is unsustainable in the light of the economic clout of formerly
orientalised nations like China and India. But the structure is still used
of Indigenous peoples, constructed by the same Ideological Complex.
Said’s Orientalism has been adapted to describe analogous ideolog-
ical structures and processes applied to Australia’s Indigenous peoples
(Hodge and Mishra, 1991) and Native Americans (Williamson, 2011),
and incorporated into Linda Tuhawai Smith’s authoritative book (1999)
on de-colonising methods of research. The best antidote to Orientalism’s
damaging effects on thought and action from the margins is to disrupt
its closed binary structures with a dynamic model of a single system
linked by reciprocal flows and networks.

The network society

I now turn to the ‘network society’ and the ‘digital revolution’, as material
realities and as constructed in MOS, illustrated from my sample manage-
ment textbooks. In these we find some mention, but not prominently.
The digital is present, but not up-front, usually carried by a single letter,
e, as in ‘e-business’. ‘Information’ and its management are there, too,
but the new forms are not presented as posing new problems. ‘Networks’
are almost absent. They are not mentioned in Davidson and Griffin, and
have only a minor role in Hill and McShane (2008, p. 482), associated
with traditional forms, not with digital technologies: ‘Network building.
Actively seeking and establishing relationships with people who may
prove useful in the future’.
I admit I was surprised by this. Given so much buzz about networks
I expected more comprehensive treatment of this theme. If a creative
understanding of networks should be part of the conceptual equip-
ment for new managers, then these textbooks are seriously deficient.
Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented 211

By minimising the revolution in the interests of an image of stability

in management education they leave students reassured that there is
nothing important their teachers or textbooks do not know, at the cost
of ignoring massive changes that will not go away. This contradiction is
a typical instance of the MOS ideological complex.
One generic reason for the inadequacy of MOS textbooks is that they
explain the complex social contexts for business and management
through a highly filtered set of social theory. The triumphs and prob-
lems of the network society have been a major concern for sociology in
the past two decades, yet most of this is missing from MOS textbooks.
Sociology contributes a crucial dimension of a network imagination. It
is not the case that MOS draws on the best ideas available in modern
thought, while ignoring Indigenous contributions. It is reductive about
The sociologist Manuel Castells has played a key role in promoting the
concept of the ‘network society’, including developments in business
and management in his purview but setting these developments in a
more comprehensive theory. Symptomatically his work is not referenced
in either Hill and McShane or Davidson and Griffin, so here I address
the lack. Castells (2000, p. 29) casts the ‘information revolution’ in a
network society in a decisive role: ‘The prophetic hype and ideological
manipulation characterizing most discourses on the information tech-
nology revolution should not mislead us into underestimating its truly
fundamental significance’. This new dominant paradigm has emerged
as a complex form: ‘The information paradigm does not evolve towards
its closure as a system, but towards its openness as multi-edged network.
It is powerful and imposing in its materiality, but adaptive and open-
ended in its historical development. Comprehensiveness, complexity
and networking are its decisive qualities’ (p. 75). Where MOS and
management textbooks minimise the scale of the ‘revolution’ and fail
to grasp its nature, in this passage Castells does justice to the network
imagination, at least from the perspective of the dominant European
Castells recognises the ambiguity of the globalisation revolution. On
the one hand it is a massive, productive convergence of financial and
other political and economic systems across national borders. He uses
the example of Sao Paolo in Brazil as an example of a common process,
whereby an urban centre in a peripheral economy, Brazil, becomes a
vibrant hub for creativity on a global scale. In this way a centre in a
semi-periphery becomes a more prominent node in a global network,
in the process helping to shift Brazil’s own status closer to the global
212 Bob Hodge

centre. Yet Castells (2000, p. 2) also draws attention to the contrary

tendency, ‘the consolidation of black holes of human misery’ under
global forms of capitalism. This network process acts unevenly on the
world-system, shifting blocks of people either towards or away from the
putative centre.
He sees a similar duality of outcomes in politics:

1. When electronic means are added to expand participation and

consultation by citizens, new technologies contribute to enhanced
participation in local government. (p. 350)
2. (But) the uneducated, switched off masses of the world, and of the
country, could remain excluded from the democratic core ... Online
politics could push the individualisation of politics, and of society, to
a point where integration, consensus and institution building would
become dangerously difficult to reach. (p. 351)

These technologies and practices act in particular social and political

contexts, where aspirations to equality or exacerbation of existing
inequalities can take over the technologies. But the technology can be
separated from the network principle. There can be digital and non-
digital networks, each with different conditions and effects, and digital
technologies may or may not be tied to networks.
Castells recognises the dangers as well as possibilities of the digitally
based network society, though he promotes the potential more than the
problems. But the MOS textbooks have little to say about the possibility
of any kind of systemic failure that could come from following MOS
prescriptions or practices. For instance, Davidson and Griffin (2003,
p. 345) discuss no ‘failure’ except ‘the failure to innovate’. Hill/McShane
do not mention failure at all. Neither mentions such well-publicised
failures as the recent ‘Enron’ case. We can see a possible reason for this
silence in the MOS Ideological Complex’s tendency to convey an impres-
sion of the smooth, inevitable triumph of managerialism.
But failures happen, and management students need to know about
what they are and why they occur. There are two kinds of problem
posed by the network society and its digital technologies, both of which
should be dealt with in contemporary management courses. One is the
problem of the previously unimaginable speed of digital technologies.
The other is the use of digital technologies to reinforce command-and-
control structures, at the expense of networks. Both problems arise
because digital technologies and networks are treated as two faces of a
single phenomenon. They are not.
Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented 213

Castells was deeply impressed by the productivity of digital tech-

nologies as they powered business. But shortly after his monumental
trilogy was completed, the dot-com crash burst the speculative bubble
that surrounded the new digital enterprises. Castells (2002) discussed
this interruption to the otherwise inexorable rise of the network society.
However, he concluded that it was merely a blip: ‘For all the hype
surrounding the dot-com firms, they only represent the entrepreneurial
vanguard of the new economic world’ (p. 64).
But the problem is more fundamental. Castells (2000) discusses a
‘Law’ proposed by Robert Metcalfe, co-inventor of Local Area Networks.
Metcalfe’s Law states that the value of nodes in a network is the square
of the number of nodes: V = n(n−1) (p. 71). Exponential growth like this
is always likely to produce problems, since the curve rapidly reaches
unsustainably large numbers. The higher the value projected by this
curve, the more dangerously unstable the system. Exponential proc-
esses of growth do exist. But without correctives they produce system
collapse. If we understand core-periphery systems in these terms, as a
core exponentially replicating itself through networks, the theoretical
end-point will be infinite nodes with zero links. The system will collapse
long before it reaches that point. It needs slow as well as fast links.
The complementary problem with digital technologies and networks
comes from managerial faith in digital technologies to enhance control
by over-riding networks. As one instance I take the Australian Customs
introduction of a computerised system to manage imports in October
2005. This system over-shot its budget by 600 per cent, cargo slowed
almost to a stop for many months. For at least a year it continued to
accrue further costs, and performed well below its predecessor system.
It was described in the press at the time as a ‘monumental and cata-
strophic failure of corporate governance of IT’ (Bushell, 2005), mild criti-
cism in the circumstances.
In on-going work Jon Marshall (2009) has analysed many factors contrib-
uting to this catastrophe, but one stands out. The need for central control
was excessive and unrealistic. This was a command-and-control system
relying on digital technology alone to fulfil its ideal model, neglecting
existing complex networks and creating no new ones. But instead of
enhancing control it produced chaos and loss of control. It clung to a
digital fantasy of absolute power instead of using digital technology to
expand networks and devolve responsibility. Like Enron, this case does
not appear in any Australian management textbook, but it ought to.
The system was too tightly coupled: different agents needed to
respond in the same way to tightly defined parameters, or the system
214 Bob Hodge

would seize up, as it did. But in influential work on disasters and organi-
sations, sociologist Charles Perrow (1999) proposed that organisations
are especially prone to disasters if they are highly complex, and tightly
coupled. Neo-institutionalist theorists Greenwood and Hinings (1996)
propose a similar model when describing the capacity of different kinds
of organisation to respond to pressure for change. For both theorists,
tightly coupled organisations with strong command-and-control link-
ages are less flexible and more prone to disastrous change.
Bringing these theories together we can suggest that it is likely that
when complex organisations use digital technologies to maintain
control against pressures for change, the result is a predisposition to
major failure and collapse. This principle applies equally to SMEs, MNCs,
state-managed economies and colonial empires. In most instances, it
is the whole system which collapses, so those on the margins suffer a
double penalty. First they are marginalised and exploited during the
period of dominance of the system, and then they inherit fragments of
a distorted, dysfunctional system.

Management education and the Indigenous

network imagination

I have argued thus far that MOS models in management education are
ideological and one-sided, poor guides to effective and just manage-
ment, with especially serious deficiencies around the concept of
networks, lacking a network imagination. Like others in this book (espe-
cially Ruwhiu, chapter 9). I have suggested that Indigenous wisdom is
an important source for more adequate alternative models. Network
thinking is embedded in Australian Aboriginal ways of thinking (Myers,
1986), and expresses what Verbos and Humphries (2013) call ‘relational
logic’ as characteristic of many Indigenous people. It is shared by Native
Americans, according to Cajete (1999), and by Maori according to Verbos
and Humphries (2013).
In this final section I sketch ways management classrooms could draw
on Indigenous works, and the ‘ancient wisdom’ on the network world
that it can promote, to complement and correct the faltering emergence
of a ‘network imagination’ in Western sociology so lacking in MOS. I do so
via four case- studies, geared to present to management classes to promote
discussion and debate, and push the limits of management classrooms.

1. Re-using management case-studies. Both textbooks use case-study

methodology, which provides opportunities for developing critical
Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented 215

perspectives. In MOS practice, case-studies are often re-worked and

filtered through MOS constructs to almost become fictions (Coronado,
2012), but I show how those constructs can be resisted and turned
around, to become materials for a more dynamic, critical account,
building towards a nuanced form of the network imagination. My first
case -study reframes Davidson and Griffin’s case -study about Indigenous
issues. Hill and McShane did not mention Indigenous issues.
Davidson and Griffin’s (2003, p. 301) two-page case -study focuses on
‘Mr Anderson’, an Indigenous employee of a mining company who was
sacked for being absent 52 out of 184 days. The company’s efforts to
manage the situation are described at length, their strategies described
as ‘best practice’ (p. 173). Question 1 asks: ‘Does Mr Anderson have a
case? Why?’
There are many merits in this treatment of the issue, including the fact
that it is there [it is not in the original Griffin (2012) produced from the
MOS centre]. The question ‘why’ is ambiguous: either give your reasons
for your decision, or try hard to see why he has a case. However, the
tenor of the example presents a caring, responsible company pushed to
its limits, faced by an employee who has been absent for nearly a third
of his time.
Mr Anderson is a problem for management, with no suggestion that he
has any compensatory qualities. Anderson is understood as thoroughly
Other, excused up to a point by an Orientalist/Aboriginalist paradigm
in which his dysfunctional culture (viewed from a business perspective,
from the centre) is tolerated. The issue is not whether there are any posi-
tive qualities from that culture, but how far, in the judgement of the
mining company management, the aberrations can be tolerated in the
name of equity (or PR).
But this is a loaded case, so extreme that it pushes one conclusion. The
network imagination plus the internet is a powerful pedagogic resource
for making different connections and seeing new possibilities. The net
provides many options for an alternative look at Aboriginal perspec-
tives on Aboriginal employment. For instance, the government-funded
Indigenous organisation AIATSIS has a web-site full of stories and images
of Aboriginal people creating new enterprises in difficult conditions,
nowhere asking for special treatment (http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/lryb/
employment). This can be accessed from anywhere in the globe with
internet access.

2. Aboriginal network imagination. I have argued that traditional Indigenous

societies are masters of network thinking. To make this point for
216 Bob Hodge

management students I propose to bring into the classroom Aboriginal

art in the iconic ‘Western Desert’ style. Art is not commonly used in
management classrooms, but it is important in Indigenous cultures and
pedagogies. I use it to reflect respectfully on network logic and its uses.
Anthropologist Nancy Munn (1973) describes the features of this
art that code network relationships. Full circles represent nodes, lines
represent journeys or links, the elemental components of networks.
These lines are both virtual, conceptual links, but also correspond to
pathways followed by human feet, very slow links. In the art, these
elements are elaborated, always meaningfully. My example is Kooralia
by Papunya artist Tim Leura (Figure 10.1), from and about his home-
land in Central Australia. This impoverished community is three thou-
sand kilometres from Sydney where I live. But this painting has high
value in international art markets, and the image can be downloaded
and used in management classrooms across the globe. Modern digital
network practices connect with the Indigenous network imagination.

Figure 10.1 Kooralia by Papunya artist Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri

Source: Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri, Kooralia 1980. NSW Art Gallery.
Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented 217

Kooralia, the central circle, was a sacred site for Leura, its centrality
signifying its importance. It is surrounded by many concentric circles,
signifying importance, and it connects in eight directions, with twelve
links. ‘Kooralia’ means the Seven Sisters constellation, so this place is a
vertical link with the heavens.
It is connected to other sites in a rectangular grid, a grid that continues
in all directions outside the frame of the picture. The network as a whole
potentially goes across Australia and beyond. So the centre at Kooralia
is a provisional centre, a local configuration of a larger pattern, repre-
senting intense commitment to a local space and global awareness. This
network has larger and smaller nodes but no dominating centre, unlike
MOS centre-periphery organisational forms. Nor is power or control
associated with the centre. Centrality signifies significance, not power.
As an organisational map it uses a different iconography for a different
conception of organisational structures, yet it represents solutions to
problems of modern organisations, in this case tensions between local
and global locations, mobility and belonging. As an exercise, students
might use Leura’s notation to map standard organisational charts as in
Davidson and Griffin or Hill and McShane.
I have not reported the meaning of this picture because I do not know
it. Like other artists in this tradition, Leura only gives enigmatic clues
as to what his painting is about. Kooralia is where he was born, and it is
sacred to the Pleiades. That is all. Contesting the practices of Orientalism,
Leura refuses to allow the dominant to speak on his behalf, to claim to
know more than he does about what he means. This painting represents
and uses slow networks, counter-weights to the fast, unstable networks
of electronic networks.
Art is also business. In Leura’s case the Pupunya Tula corporation he
helped found in 1972 still operates 41 years later, with 49 shareholders
and 120 artists. Its artists work in ‘remote’ Australia, but they can be
accessed with a click at http://papunyatula.com.au/.

3. The Aboriginal invention of media. A central premise of Orientalism

claims that colonised ‘Others’ are incapable of understanding or using
the technologies of the colonisers. This supposed incapacity is used to
explain inequalities between centres and peripheries as if they were
‘natural’, unable to be changed by social engineering. This is then used
to treat the ‘digital divide’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous as
somehow genetically wired, as if Europeans have lived with digital tech-
nologies for millennia.
The so-called digital divide is a complex issue (Selwyn, 2004). The prob-
lems of interweaving Indigenous and non-Indigenous network traditions
218 Bob Hodge

are complex and demanding. For instance, Verran and Christie (2008)
worked with elders in a Northern Territory community who responded
cautiously to the enthusiasm of young people for the new technologies.
The problem was the importance of ‘slow’ networks in traditional knowl-
edge. Yet this was something to negotiate, not a rejection of technology.
Combinations of slow and quick networks are something mainstream
culture also needs and finds hard, as we have seen.
My third case-study is a report by anthropologist Eric Michaels,
employed in the 1980s to determine how the unrolling of a televi-
sion service would impact on Indigenous societies. His report title, The
Aboriginal Invention of Television (1986), captured his most important
insight: his anti-Orientalist claim that Aboriginal people were far from
being passive, ignorant users of this new medium, as the government
had assumed. On the contrary, they had a rapid, creative uptake of new
media, inflected and enhanced by traditional habits of perception.
The cover of his report had an image that could sustain a rich discus-
sion about networks in a management classroom (Figure 10.2). This
image has the same iconographic elements as Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri

Figure 10.2 The Aboriginal Invention of Television cover by anthropologist Eric

Source: Andrew Japaljarri Spencer AUSSAT Dreaming Yuendumu (Michaels, 1986).
Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented 219

with the same meanings, but this is specifically a functional map, for
the distribution of sites around Yuendumu at the centre. The sites are
of three different sizes, radiating out from the centre, not a grid as in
Leura’s map. But this image carried the same organisational message,
that subsidiary sites were themselves complex nodes, responsible for
relaying media materials more widely.
Michaels (1986, p. 154) tried to promote a new model, a ‘reciprocal
media system’ which would have been cheaper than what the govern-
ment ultimately accepted, and would have empowered the local
communities. Yet this second quality was the problem, for a govern-
ment used to think in terms of core and periphery, geared to control
not empowerment, so they rejected a cheaper and better solution. This
combination makes this a good case to discuss, alongside Davidson and
Griffin’s example of ‘Andrew’, the Aboriginal who did not turn up to
work enough: with the same prompt question: ‘Do you think (Michaels)
has a case? Why?’

4. Indigenous network experts. My fourth case -study is Mexico’s Zapatistas.

Castells (2000, p. 79) respected the network achievements of Indigenous
people, and celebrated Mexico’s Zapatistas as the ‘first informational
guerrilla movement’. The Zapatistas were a small group of impoverished
Indigenous Mexicans from South-East Mexico who in 1994 announced
a rebellion against Mexico’s signing of a Free-Trade agreement with
United States and Canada. They waged a remarkable campaign against
the national government.
Political analyst Harry Cleaver (1998) coined the term ‘Zapatista effect’
to capture the extraordinary scope of their achievement, using the new
technologies of the internet far more effectively than the well-resourced
Mexican government, or anyone on the planet at that time. This small
group of under-resourced, marginalised Indigenous people used digital
resources with formidable skill to cross the so-called digital divide. Here
I focus on the role of networks and digital technologies in making this
digital divide crossing.
In 2002, the Zapatistas organised a long march from the jungles
of Chiapas, on the periphery of Mexico, to the capital city, in order
to make their demands in person to parliament (Hodge et al., 2010).
The march and its strategy provide rich materials for a reflection on
the nature of networks and the role of digital technologies in effective
organisation. First, the point of the march was to bring bodies from the
periphery to the centre, not just words or images transmitted digitally.
In the same way, for all the talk about ‘virtual business’, global trade
220 Bob Hodge

rests on exchanges of material goods not bits of information. Second,

the Zapatistas followed or recreated traditional pathways along an
Indigenous network, and at each node they exchanged tokens of respect
with leaders of local Indigenous groups.
Digital networks played a different, complementary role. As the
Zapatistas marched, in the open and away from the safety of their
remote jungle, armed helicopters flew ominously above. Given the long
history of violent suppression of Indigenous rebellions in Mexico it is
likely that the Zapatistas only escaped this fate because of the networks
they had constructed with international agencies. This was large enough
to form a protective shield above them. The ‘Zapatista effect’ was created
by weaving together digital and non-digital networks, slow networks of
traditional society and fast networks of the digital network society. It
would be a valuable case-study for any management class, in advanced
courses as well as in the first year.
Like other Indigenous groups, the Zapatistas use the internet to leap
over the heads of local and national groups who oppress them, seeking
to construct a wider global community. Readers of this book can begin
to belong to this community, which links centres and peripheries, by
clicking the address www.ezln.org.mx, reading it in Spanish if they
know that language, or navigating to the English version if that is their
preferred language. All this is so easy and familiar that it could be taken
for granted. Yet it is part of an on-going change in relations between
centres and peripheries that seen in its full scope, through the eyes of a
network imagination, can be called a revolution.
These four case-studies and the web-links they include can be combined
by management students wherever they are located into a single set of
sites, forming a single network of nodes, linking Indigenous people in
Australia and Mexico to those from the ‘first world’ who would have
so much still to learn from those the Zapatistas call ‘the poorest of the
poor’. It could complement and correct the best available non-Indige-
nous understanding of networks to underpin major teaching points for
a network imagination:

1. Digital and non-digital networks can be woven together.

2. Slow and fast networks can complement each other.
3. Different communities can be brought into alignment by managing
kinds of network.
4. Power in core-periphery models is concentrated at the centre. It must
be contested there, while drawing on margins.
Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented 221


This chapter is addressed to current students of management, imagined

as located in different sites across the current global system, across more
or less peripheral sites. It has argued the case that the current manage-
ment wisdom taught to these students (i.e., MOS) offered as best prac-
tice both in countries of the centre and in countries of the peripheries,
is deeply flawed in all its locations. As an ideological complex it is
composed of contradictions. It panders to the illusions of those with
real power, and to the subtly different illusions of many more called
managers whose power is lesser and more constrained. Because MOS
is confronted by changes it cannot control it adopts an equivocal and
ambivalent attitude to them, exaggerating or minimising their scale as
need arises.
The theme of networks is a particular problem for MOS today, because
networks seem to capture the key to the new processes that lie behind
globalisation, yet they disrupt the old command-and-control models
that are officially discredited in MOS, yet which still dominate organisa-
tional life in MNCs as in SMEs. More important because more confusing,
these ‘new’ forms of thought have a long genealogy in precisely those
‘primitive’ non-core societies whose supposed inferiority is built into
the dominant ideology of the global world.
Yet the situation is not simple. Modern sociology has new insights
into networks, and new network practices and technologies. A less ideo-
logical management studies has much to learn from recent thinkers and
innovations as from traditional sources. A ‘network imagination’ needs
to be co-created by fusing old and new, open to yet critical of digital and
non-digital networks. That co-creation will not happen without current
leaders in management circles recognising that MOS expertise is deeply
flawed, without respectfully reaching out to marginalised models of
marginalised groups. In this new pedagogy Indigenous leaders would be
invited into university spaces, remunerated for sharing their wisdom in
their own voices, heeded in new media technologies as in old.

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Castells, M. (2000). The Rise of the Network Society. London: Blackwell.

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Carrying across the Line
Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and
Farzad Rafi Khan


Engaging in academic research and writing about core/centre1-periphery

relations in management and organisation studies (MOS) is, almost by
definition, an exercise in multilayered and multidirectional translation.
At one level, there is the literal translation conducted by researchers
and writers working in and between different source languages. Texts
and interviews collected in the field are often written and spoken in
languages other than English, the lingua franca of academic publishing
in MOS (Thomas et al., 2009). Researchers, for whom English is not the
native tongue, attempt to translate interview excerpts, sentiments and
concepts conveyed to them in a multiplicity of different languages into
‘Global’ English. At the same time, as management experts themselves,
they are often required to translate mainstream managerial texts into
their own languages and cultural contexts, rendering them accessible
to their students and clients in local idiom. But literal translation is just
the tip of the iceberg.
The institutional and material context of the contemporary social
sciences in which researchers in the periphery work according to a
system of dependency and inequality (Alatas, 2000, 2003) means that
there is more at stake in the work of translation than mere linguistic
fidelity and accessibility, or conceptual equivalence. To gain tenured/
continuing employment, recognition and reward, scholars in both the
centre and the periphery are called upon to participate in an academic
industry located at the centre by adhering to the centre’s rules for
publishing and producing knowledge (Merilainen et al., 2008). The
nature of the academy and globalisation out of the centre means that
theory rarely becomes simply nomadic (Cronin, 2000); it remains

224 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

tethered to its centre(s) of production and the systems of academic capi-

talism (notably of the publishing houses) that sustain them. To engage
in academic debates, scholars studying management and organisation
in the periphery, or the relations between centre and periphery, are
often asked (by their own institutions) to address research questions of
relevance to the centre and to use epistemologies, methodologies and
approaches to theory development (typically hypothetico-deductive
ones) derived from the centre to the neglect and detriment of their own
This book contains a collection of chapters that explicitly challenge
this status quo. The chapters collectively recognise the legitimacy, value,
insights and distinctiveness that knowledge (theoretical and experiential)
generated in, about and by writers at the periphery offers all scholars of
the management academy and beyond. Yet we must acknowledge that
this book is also part of the same industry we critique; that it is at least
in part an artifact of the centre and of academic capitalism (Slaughter &
Leslie, 1997). It is published in English by an established publisher of the
centre, and presents the work of scholars at the centre and the periphery
who have gained some measure of international recognition by learning
to play (at least in part) by its rules. In this book, part of the aspiration
was to make a dent in this self-reproducing epistemological machine
whilst admitting that we are enabled by it. We four editors, and the
contributors to the book, are in different ways working with, across and
for the transformation of the institutional lines that divide knowledges
in core and peripheral locations.
In this concluding chapter, we draw upon the concept of translation
to integrate some of the contributions that span the individual chapters
of this book. The concept of translation is particularly apt since it goes
to the heart of the conditions of possibility and the associated dilemmas
of our collective endeavour. To explain, we turn to Paul Ricouer (2006)
who defines any act of translation as a ‘dialectic of fidelity and betrayal’.
Underlying Ricouer’s suggestion is an etymological conundrum. The
English word ‘translator’, he argues, derives from the Latin transfero,
meaning ‘to carry across’. The French word ‘traducteur’, though also
derived from Latin, comes from a different verb, ‘traducere’ meaning ‘to
lead across’. Thus regarded, the etymology of translation would suggest
that it is analogous to the activity of trading, in which the translator
behaves like a trader transporting ideas from one language to another.
It should also be noted, however, that the Latin root for translation –
‘traducere’ – also forms the basis of the English verb ‘to traduce’, which
refers to the act of making malicious or defamatory statements. This
Carrying across the Line 225

etymological excursion suggests that to translate is not simply to

exchange one word for another, but simultaneously to betray the orig-
inal word. Seeing the translator as both a trader and a traitor suggests
something important about the fate of any translation; namely, that
fidelity and betrayal are integral parts of it.
As writers of organisation studies that translate knowledge from one
context to another, it is important to think carefully about our roles as
traders in and traitors of diverse knowledge systems. When writing from
the centre, and exporting our theories and ideas, are we not trading and
imposing our ‘words’ on others, confronting the integrity and dignity of
writers and knowledges from the periphery who are positioned as passive
consumers? When writing from the periphery, especially in institutional
contexts that encourage us to write ‘for’ the centre to ensure that our
work is ‘relevant, ‘recognised’ and ‘cited’, do we not betray the words
and hence the insights and experiences, of our local communities? Or
are the lines between fidelity and betrayal more complex? Against this
background we ask, following Ricouer, what can we carry across the
line? Before seeking an answer, we offer some further ruminations on
translation in the context of MOS.

Translation in Management and Organisation

Studies: colonising lines

Theoretical interest in translation as a social process through which

management ideas and concepts move from one context to another and
across national and regional boundaries is not new. Scholars working
on the (colonial) history of management education and institutional
theory (see, for instance, Kipping et al., 2008), for example, have long
considered the complexities of ideas that travel beyond the confines
of simplistic diffusionist and export-receipt models (see, for instance,
Basalla, 1967). For example, Czarniawska and Sevón (1996, 2005) offer
an alternative theoretical approach to diffusionism and isomorphism.
In particular, they critique the type of assumptions about the move-
ment of knowledge encoded in the universalising framework of much
American new institutionalism and modernisation theory that presents
the travel of ideas as part of a growing rationalisation of world society
and concomitant homogenisation of its knowledge systems (see, for
instance, Meyer et al., 1997). Instead, Czarniawska and Sevón draw
attention to the ways in which ideas and practices are transformed
when moving from one context to another through processes of trans-
lation across a network of actors. Labelling their approach Scandinavian
226 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

neo-institutionalism, they highlight the different meanings attached to

objects and titles across national and cultural boundaries, the interpreta-
tions and re-interpretations an idea undergoes when it travels from one
context to another and the ways in which the translated idea transforms
the society in which it arrives.
In a chapter in the Czarniawska and Sevón (2005) text, Hedmo et al.
illustrate such travelling dynamics. They deploy field theory – and in
particular the concept of ‘field of imitation’ (p. 191) – to theorise and
explain the development of management education in Europe. Through
the example of the spread and imitation of a US model of management
education in Europe (and notably the MBA qualification), they show
how the process of imitation is not about the faithful copying of a puta-
tive original, rather a moment of translation involving an alteration and
hybridisation of the concept. They demonstrate both variation and simi-
larity in different national contexts in this flow of ideas and practices.
Yet, in applying an actor-network approach (Callon, 1986; Latour,
1996), which sees power as emerging from and embedded in a specific
network of actors, the Scandinavian neo-institutional approach to trans-
lation faces shortcomings in accounting for the historically constituted
structures of power outside of any such networks. These are structures
that often determine which ideas travel in the first place and which are
being translated, by whom, when and how (see Frenkel, 2005), and are
well-documented in recent (postcolonial) historiographies of sociology
and the global social sciences (Connell, 2007). Postcolonial theorising
about translation (Bassnett & Trivedi, 1999; Niranjana, 1992), as well as
other critical approaches (Ricoeur, 2006; Benjamin, 1970), have under-
scored the embeddedness of the process of translation (lingual in these
cases) in geopolitical relations. That is to say, these theories acknowledge
the hierarchical order of languages and global culture, and the ways in
which enmity between languages and the nations or groups with which
they are associated, are implicated in the actual practice of translation
and lexical choice.
Such hierarchical relations are well captured by Niranjana (1992) who
writes that translation as a practice:

[S]hapes, and takes shape within, the asymmetrical relations of

power that operate under colonialism. What is at stake here is the
representation of the colonised, who need to be produced in such a
manner to justify colonial domination, and beg for the English book
by themselves. In the colonial context, a certain conceptual economy
is created by the set of related questions that is the problematic of
Carrying across the Line 227

translation. Conventionally, translation depends on the Western

philosophical notions of reality, representation, and knowledge.
Reality is seen as something unproblematic, ‘out there’; knowledge
involves a representation of this reality; and representation provides
direct, unmediated access to a transparent reality. [ ... ] translation in
the colonial context produces and supports a conceptual economy
that works into the discourse of Western philosophy [ ... ].
In forming a certain kind of subject, in presenting particular versions
of the colonized, translation brings into being overarching concepts
of reality and representation. These concepts, and what they allow
us to assume, completely occlude the violence that accompanies the
construction of the colonial subject.
Translation thus produces strategies of containment. By employing
certain modes of representing the other – which it thereby brings into
being – translation reinforces hegemonic versions of the colonized,
helping them acquire the status of what Edward Said calls representa-
tions, or objects without history. (pp. 2–3)

As with many other literary works in English, texts written to enable

the administration and management of the colonies emerged in the
nineteenth century, texts which enabled such strategies of contain-
ment. Models of British, and later US, bureaucratic management were
taken up with enthusiasm by colonial administrators and executives
of metropole-based companies in their colonial contexts (Frenkel &
Shenhav, 2003; Shenhav, 2013). It was the white man’s burden, to use
Rudyard Kipling’s famous words, to educate and improve his ‘others’
through the introduction of better knowledge, culture and administra-
tive systems. In some cases these books were written or translated into
local languages, and in others they were written in English. But in both
cases they constituted exemplars of travelling theories (Said, 1983), in
which American, British and French systems were presented in a way
that was ‘almost the same but not quite’ (Bhabha, 1984, p. 126), as we
note further later, in the colonies.
Much like religious and classical literary texts, these administrative
and management texts were written and translated in a manner that
served to justify colonial (or centre countries’) economic domination and
cultural imperialism. They impelled local managers and administrators,
and in many cases management scholars as well, to ‘beg for the English
book by themselves’. Recent studies of the history of management docu-
ment the effort made by the United States, for instance, through the
228 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

Ford Foundation and other ‘point four’ agencies, to translate manage-

ment, both literally and conceptually, into ex-colonies and peripheral
countries. The aim was to create in the periphery institutionalised
management apparatuses (business schools, journals and libraries and
so on) which would bring the light of ‘rational’ Western management
into the work and employment contexts of the colonies and thus sedi-
ment the centre’s ideological dominance (Alcadipani & Reis Rosa, 2011;
Kipping et al., 2008; Srinivas, 2008; Üsdiken & Wasti, 2009; Westwood
& Jack, 2008).
While colonial discourses ostensibly called for a universal diffusion
of best knowledge and practices, the colonised were never meant to
become identical to the colonisers. Theories of mimicry suggest that they
were expected to be ‘almost the same, but not quite’, expected to accept
Western knowledge as is but not take part in its development. Yet whilst
the colonisers may have believed in a binary distinction between colo-
niser-colonised knowledge and culture, it never really existed. Instead,
a third space comprising hybridised knowledges and cultures emerged.
This hybridised knowledge is an acknowledgement of the asymmetrical
power relations of the colonial encounter, but also constitutes a form of
resistance towards colonisation. It resists both the reproduction of the
Same and the production of the wholly Other. In this hybridised space,
translation did not mean the imposition of one meaning system onto
another, rather a zone of tension (Prakash, 1999) in which ambivalence
(Bhabha, 1984) and ambiguity characterised the process of translation.
Whilst few of the contributors to this book expressly used a translation
framework, all recognise and address the zone of tension that laces the
lines of translation that are part of the particular core-periphery relations
they challenge. As such, the chapters do deal with translation, but in
different ways, depending on the type of goal being pursued. Collectively,
the chapters have tackled three crucial aims for advancing critical organi-
sational analysis: first, to defamiliarise and provincialise certain concepts
and theories of the centre, and to expose their limitations when exported
or applied in peripheral locations; second, to recover alternative ration-
alities and knowledges marginalised within the periphery through the
hegemonic workings of the centre; and finally, to draw specific atten-
tion to understanding not only how Indigenous knowledges challenge
centre thinking, but also the positive, alternative ways of knowing our
world that they present. In deploying the concept of translation, this
concluding chapter draws out the key themes that demonstrate how
the bringing together of core-periphery, postcolonial and Indigenous
thinking through the book as a whole advances debate in MOS.
Carrying across the Line 229

Reversing and upending knowledge flows back

across the lines

Several of the chapters address the translation of managerial and organisa-

tional ideas developed at the centre and applied, or implemented, in the
periphery, and illustrate a number of attendant complexities. Knowledge
from the periphery can engender a reconsideration and reconfiguration
of core concepts from the centre, often by posing distinctive questions
Indigenous to that location, the answers to which can result in the genera-
tion of new theoretical perspectives (Tsui, 2004). The advantage for the
global social sciences in general and organisation studies in particular is
twofold: it serves to provincialise the centre, showing the limits of its knowl-
edge; and it generates epistemic diversity and a recognition that scholars at
the periphery produce theory (not just empirical data) that is legitimate.
To illustrate, two important theoretical approaches in MOS – the
Stanford school’s version of Neo-Institutional Theory and the National
Business Systems literature – are challenged by Özen (Chapter 4) and by
Kapsali and Prouska (Chapter 5) respectively for their limited applica-
tion outside their provenance in the centre and for any pretence they
might have to a universal power of explanation. Özen reconsiders a
canonical body of work from the centre: new institutional theory, which
is based on liberal polity assumptions that reflect its embeddedness in
Anglo-Saxon contexts. Drawing upon the case of modern Turkey, a rela-
tively peripheral location in terms of the world order and in terms of the
orthodoxies of MOS, Özen argues that since neo-institutional theory has
been developed primarily within the United States and has been infused
with an ideology of a liberal polity, it is constrained.
Özen argues that there are deficiencies in the theory within the context
of Turkey, a country where a non-liberal, ‘statist’ polity prevails. That is
to say, there are different conditions and characteristics of the statist
polity in Turkey that challenge the underpinnings of conventional insti-
tutional theory: an equivocality and ambiguity rather than consistency
in the rationalising role of the state; diversity not isomorphism; contin-
uous change and ceremonial adoption, or stable uninstitutionalisation,
not stable institutionalisation. The chapter does not seek to dismantle
or even merely critique the institutional theory of the centre. Rather it
seeks to question its provincial limits, to make the more general point
about epistemic and theoretical imperialism and to reconfigure this
body of knowledge.
Turning to the case of Greece, Kapsali and Prouska question the
relevance of the National Business Systems (NBS) approach for an
230 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

understanding of peripheral (or semi-peripheral) cases. Whilst more

sensitive to the differences between different national systems than the
world polity approach in neo-institutionalism, NBS scholars still typi-
cally assume a relatively large degree of internal consistency within
each system. Due to their subjection and domination by different super
powers throughout their modern histories, and the resultant intensive
intervention in their internal economic and political affairs, peripheral
business systems are less likely to present such coherence. Due to this
exposure to different dominant powers, they argue, the Greek business
system is neither coherent nor stable. Referring to the current economic
crisis in Greece, the authors submit that the EU leadership’s presump-
tion of universality, according to which similar economic and regula-
tory tools can be applied to monitor economies at the centre and the
periphery of Europe, is one of the reasons behind the crisis and the EU
failure to address it efficiently.
In a third chapter looking at the problematic introduction of a central
concept in the periphery, Bonsu (Chapter 6) highlights the absurdity of
translating in toto a Western notion of development in the context of
Ghana. While the two chapters mentioned earlier explore the potential
travelling of academic theories and theorising from the centre to the
periphery in a context dominated by the centre’s (academic) institu-
tionalised apparatuses, Bonsu’s chapter looks at a context in which these
theories are practiced in the field of development. Crucially, the Western
provenance of the concept of development is dropped in translation,
presented instead to ‘underdeveloped’ countries like Ghana in the
standard Orientalist trope as the desirable outcome of a convergence-
driven, teleological process by which the Other is reconstituted in the
image of Western industrialised countries. What Bonsu shows with great
force is the totalitarian ambitions of Eurocentric translation at work in
institutions and discourses like ‘development’ that emerge from sites of
public and private power in the centre (including Western states and
Reflecting on Ghana as well as the rest of the African continent, he
documents how anything and everything is being forcibly reconstituted
in the image of the centre if development is to be properly translated
and hence realised there. Local languages are being made to give way
to English, and African forms of democracy like consensus-building
are being obliterated by ‘the imposition of European forms of democ-
racy such as voting rights’. As a result one ends up with absurdities
that are either comical (e.g., the Ghanian elite wearing warm woollen
Western suiting in a tropical climate) or tragic (e.g., the eviction of
Carrying across the Line 231

local communities by mining companies such as Newmont in Ghana)

in form. The actual practice then of translating the discourses of the core
into the periphery, even with ostensibly benevolent intentions such as
development, holds the danger – more often realised than averted – of
such translations degenerating into sordid affairs replete with dislo-
cations and dispossessions for the periphery. This is the standard fare
of Western imperialism post-Columbus onwards. Through his tale of
development in Ghana and Africa, Bonsu goes beyond indicating the
inappropriateness of core ideas for the periphery and how they need to
be reworked for better translations. Rather, he points to the incommen-
surability and non-translatability for the periphery of such ideas that
are sired in and propagated by the centre’s key institutions, and their
continuing imperialist encounter with the periphery.
While these chapters collectively deal with the translation dynamics
fomented when centre-originated theories travel to or become embedded
in the periphery, they also tell us something about the difficulties asso-
ciated with communicating the experience of the periphery back to
the centre. When attempting to translate the situation in Turkey and
Greece, both chapters use vocabulary developed to address state and
business apparatuses which characterise central societies. Reflecting
on this quandary, Özen laments that ‘scholars in the peripheral and
semi-peripheral countries generally employ theories developed by the
centre in this way in investigating organisational phenomena in their
own contexts without recontextualising them’. He acknowledges that
MOS scholars in the periphery have to refract their thinking through
the lens of Western theory and that this can lead to partial, distorted or
irrelevant conceptions of local conditions and issues. In seeking to over-
come these problems, Özen recontextualises new institutional theory in
relation to the specificities of Turkish polity.
This position raises the important question of whether a radical
recontextualisation amounts to a translation or a transformation of
the theory of the centre – or indeed, its deconstruction. To what extent
do such recontextualising translations leave the dominant theories of
the centre intact? If some of the core assumptions of neo-institutional
theory are shown to be untenable not just in Turkey, but in other places
where a statist polity prevails – and Özen mentions Korea, Russia, China
and pre-1980s France – or other locations with something other than a
liberal polity, is the theory put in doubt? Do the reconfigurations that
Özen suggests, given the Turkish experience, work to transform the
theory and not merely translate it? Özen is arguing, in part, that even the
assumptions of institutional theory in the United States do not actually
232 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

match conditions there but rather the ‘liberal political ideology and
functionalist paradigm dominant among the North American scholars’.
Recontextualising from a statist policy perspective might repair the gap
constituted by the absence of power in the theory, a charge which critics
have persistently levelled. Whether this can effect a repair or deliver a
fatal blow by revealing institutional theory’s provincialism, as well as its
ideological and paradigmatic proclivities, is questionable.
The heart of the matter here is the scholarly inclination to remain
within the theory – and language – of the centre. It could be argued that
since the dominant theory was developed in the centre it is inherently
infused with the language of the centre, and, perforce, the epistemo-
logical assumptions, values, ideology, grammar of motives and practical
exigencies that resonate in the centre. Özen at least partially asserts this.
But in doing so, is the scholar of the periphery trapped in a prison house
of that language? Are we compelled to at least partial articulations from
within that language, struggling to find a voice and a language that
is independent of it? It can be observed that Özen is working within
the theories of the centre; not just institutional theory, but also theo-
ries of politics and economics that surround and support institutional
theory. Crucially, though, we need to remember that his aim was not
to invalidate institutional theory, nor to re-construct it. Özen is specifi-
cally pointing to the failure of its US-based variety to explain things
in Turkey adequately. It is within this specific purview that he urges
scholars to become more locally focused – on the complexities, nuances
and particularities of their own contexts. The consequence might well
be not a reconfiguration of institutional theory, but the development of
a different theory more properly anchored to and informing of the local
The potential ‘prison house’ of language is also an issue in Kapsali and
Prouska’s chapter about the Greek NBS. While their careful historical
analysis highlights the endemic features of the Greek case, the theoret-
ical vocabulary available to them through the NBS literature constrains
the capacity to underscore the differences between this semi-periph-
eral system and central ones. The most striking example pertains to
the foundational notions of ‘the state’ and ‘bureaucracy’. Kapsali and
Prouska trace the transformations in the ways the state – which they
take as the unit of analysis in line with conventional NBS approaches –
intervened in the local economy of this geographically defined territory.
Yet, the NBS approach is framed by underlying assumptions that the
characteristics of states which have formed the dominant focus of atten-
tion (e.g., that systems are stable and coherent over time) are applicable
Carrying across the Line 233

to non-centre locations. Such assumptions are hardly applicable in

peripheral locations. As their chapter indicates, the Greek authorities
were not autonomous in their decision-making for much of the early
history of the business system. It begs the question of whether Greece
should be considered a state under such conditions, and how one might
conceptualise the role of the German state in Greece’s current economic
Presenting the Greek case in terms that are accessible to a global
English-speaking readership, the authors are forced to tone down the
extent of the difference between their case and others. Because the
theoretical terminology they use takes the Western model as the norm,
divergence from it is positioned in negative terms. Thus, for instance,
the hybrid public bureaucracy (often referred to as a ‘Bavorocracy’) is
presented as a ’Western-oriented, hierarchical, centralised, procedural
system superimposed on the eastern public practices of decentralised
political patronage and clientelism (exchange of public services and
resources through favours among actors with asymmetrical power in
informal networks) that had been the norm under the Ottoman regime
for 400 years’. Presumed to have been held back by patronage and clien-
telism in the Orient, the Greek system is pictured negatively as it has not
enabled the cultivation of a German-like bureaucracy.
Even with transformations in certain aspects of global economic and
cultural hierarchy, the legacy of old forms of colonial mentality persist
and inhibit peripheral knowledge crossing the line and impacting knowl-
edge in the centre. In Chapter 2, Frenkel shows how multinationals
based in developing and emerging economies (so-called DE-MNCs),
often ex-colonies, pose new questions about core-periphery relations.
Frenkel explores the possibility of knowledge transfer from headquarters
to their foreign affiliates when the headquarters are located in emerging
and developing economies and the foreign affiliates are located in the
centre. The growing power and success of multinationals from the
non-centre, she argues, poses a challenge to mainstream international
management scholars, as well as to the different actors within these
firms. On the one hand, their home countries’ culture and business
ethics are still considered inferior to that of the centre. Yet on the other,
the home countries’ rapid economic growth and the extraordinary rise
of some of these MNCs to global leadership, force scholars and organisa-
tional members to consider the possibility that a competitive advantage
may be associated with Others’ knowledge. Frenkel finds evidence for
the implementation of a ‘postcolonial imagination’ which drives actors,
at the (ex-) peripheral headquarters and the central affiliates, to avoid
234 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

both the exportation and importation of knowledge from the periphery

to the centre. In other words, the postcolonial imagination prevents the
DE-MNCs from attempting to export their knowledge, and the units
from accepting such know-how in the few cases when it is circulated.
(Post-)colonial lines of translation are thus enforced, and a traversing of
knowledge from periphery to centre disavowed.
The dilemma that characterises writing about the translation of the
centre into the periphery worsens further when scholars attempt to
communicate theories and practices emerging from the periphery to
the centre. In an asymmetrical geopolitical context, can peripheral ideas
and theories be communicated to the centre without interpretive acts of
betrayal? What happens when theory and research are more fully and
comprehensively produced in the periphery, or what was the periphery?
What happens when theory travels from periphery to centre? What
translations become possible or are permissible?

Communicating periphery-originated theories to

the centre: learning to learn from Indigenous experiences

A second distinct approach to the issue of translation that connects a

number of the chapters in this book relates to how ideas and experiences
of the periphery – especially those of Indigenous communities – flow
back to the centre. In her famous reflections on the question ‘Can the
Subaltern Speak?’ Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (2001) doubts the capacity
of the colonised to express their ideas and conceptualisations of reality
in terms external to the system of meaning imposed by the coloniser.
While concerned with the ability to the subaltern to speak, many of
our contributors have also questioned the centre’s ability to listen and
to learn. While the travel and translation of central MOS theories and
practices in the periphery has gained much attention in recent years,
the travel of management and organisational ideas from the periphery
to the centre is only now beginning to catch researchers’ attention. In
the present volume several chapters consider the possibility of such a
counter-flow of ideas, as well as the varied roles that Indigenous knowl-
edges and experiences can play in the present and future of the social
sciences and of the management academy.
In Chapter 10, Hodge calls for greater recognition of the insights on
networks emerging from Indigenous knowledge in Australia. Indigenous
network practices and ‘knowledge from the margins,’ he claims, need
to be recognised and valued as fundamental dimensions in manage-
ment education today. Various network structures and models have
Carrying across the Line 235

been defining elements in Indigenous cultures for millennia. Yet main-

stream MOS barely understand network principles, according to Hodge,
nor even consistently consider emerging sociological ideas on networks.
Whilst we might point to the work of Ouchi (1980) or Boisot and Child
(1996) to question the totalising nature of this position, Hodge’s point
is well made. The study of network practices in peripheral societies, and
even more so, a deep understanding of the knowledge accumulated in
these societies regarding such networks’ features as the combination of
slow and fast network dynamics, would offer new insights for poten-
tial theory development. The failure of network theorists in the centre
to recognise this potential contribution, he submits, is closely related
to the general denial of the possibility of effective travelling of knowl-
edge from the periphery to the centre. The asymmetrical structures
and relationships with respect to the production and consumption of
knowledge instantiated through the colonial project persist under the
conditions of postcoloniality and the distortions and dependencies of
Western-dominated global knowledge systems. It remains difficult for
an idea, concept or theory from the periphery to travel to the centre and
retain its weight, impact, coherence and identity (Connell, 2007).
A crucial part of the challenge for Indigenous and non-Indigenous
scholars alike is to cultivate conditions that are propitious for learning
from and about Indigenous experiences in Indigenous idiom. Various
chapters in the book teach us that this challenge is not just a question
of what can/should be learned and heard, and by whom, but crucially
how, or on what terms. In regard to the ’what’, a number of chapters
emphasise the relational and communal basis of Indigenous ontologies
and epistemologies and the crucial connections of human beings to ’the
environment, the cosmos, the living, and the nonliving’ (Chilisa, 2012,
p. 41). In Chapter 8, for instance, Kelly, Henare and Jackson juxtapose
a Māori conception of ancestral leadership – grounded in traditions of
Indigenous spiritual philosophies and ‘nurturing relational engagement
with deitic energies’ – with models that dominate the Western main-
stream literature. They give voice and valorise Māori leadership practices
using the Māori metaphor of the three baskets of knowledge, a metaphor
that draws together the interconnected, human, metaphysical, spiritual
and cosmological domains of human existence.
Kelly, Henare and Jackson’s work, along with the chapters by Humphries
and Verbos (Chapter 7), and Ruwhiu (Chapter 9), open up important
trajectories for management education and learning. The trajectories
index not only an anti-colonial sentiment, but also an emphasis on the
description and positing of positive alternative futures for Indigenous/
236 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

non-Indigenous relations and mutual learning. In this latter regard, the

chapters consider the question of the terms on which mutual learning
might best occur, and the possibilities for such learning to transform
the inequitable status of core-periphery relations in the social sciences.
Disrupting the colonial translational logic outlined in the earlier quota-
tion by Niranjana (1992), and offering different possibilities for knowl-
edge and learning, are at stake here.
Still in the context of Aotearoa/New Zealand, Ruwhiu outlines the
colonial history of the development of the education system there, and
the systemic denigration and suppression of Māori culture, languages
and knowledges in the curriculum and the classroom. She notes that
whilst recent legislation and policy development in Aotearoa/New
Zealand has attempted to rectify this situation (for instance, through the
1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act, or the development of Māori schools and
seats of tertiary learning), the bicultural utopia imagined is still far off.
Against this background she focuses her chapter on recent attempts by
business schools to introduce Indigenous content into the curriculum.
Whilst Ruwhiu welcomes this development, she has concerns about
how this might be working, especially given the strongly entrenched
Western paradigms of business and management in New Zealand’s busi-
ness schools. Ruwhiu describes two key approaches used in Indigenous
curriculum development in business schools: inviting a Māori scholar
into a subject lecture to give a Māori perspective on a topic; experien-
tial learning, where students spend time in a marae to learn first-hand
about Māori beliefs and knowledge systems. Ruwhiu raises the question
of whether this is enough to disrupt the dominant logic of manage-
ment education in New Zealand. Does it leave dominant lines of trans-
lation untouched, and Indigenous knowledge contained? Ruwhiu
seeks to advance business school curriculum debate by drawing upon
Bhabha and a Third Space methodology to reconceptualise the cultural
encounter of Indigenous–non-Indigenous students in hybrid rather than
binary terms. To change the lines of translation, we need to change the
conceptual landscape in which translation occurs and to enable plural,
non-manichean and irreducible conditions for translational work.
Humphries and Verbos also draw upon the relational logic character-
ising Māori culture in New Zealand to offer an alternative to what they
describe as the ‘dominant logic’ of the centre, which broadly equates to
a liberal economic rationale and the machinations of global consumer
capitalism. In their critique of this dominant logic, they present it as an
unbalanced logic that is amoral and destructive of both environment
and community. They point to the ravages inflicted upon countries,
Carrying across the Line 237

cultures and environments by the march of this logic, with the extrac-
tive industries – and Royal Dutch Shell and their actions in the Niger
delta as a cause célèbre – seen as an apotheosis of that. They seek to place
in productive adjacency the relational logic of an Indigenous ontology,
epistemology and ethos and the dominant logic of the centre. The
ravages of Shell, permitted by the dominant logic of economic ration-
alism, are contrasted with the care of the environment and of other
persons deemed to be inherent to the relational logic of the Māori world-
view. They illustrate this with a vignette, a short account of Tarawera, a
river system of significance to the Māori, which is impacted negatively
by extractive and manufacturing industry and which Māori activity
seeks to preserve.
Humphries and Verbos suggest that there is an inherently alter-
native relation to the environment and to other people within the
Māori system, one that expresses a unifying cosmology. Attempting to
avoid the betrayal aspect of translating the periphery for the centre,
Humphries and Verbos’s writing seeks to maintain a non-linear style
that, from their point of view, better represents the logic they seek to
present. Their strategy is not to openly and expressly criticise the domi-
nant logic, nor to put the two logics into a contrastive frame so that one
can be made to appear better than the other. Rather they seek to have an
adjacency – using the metaphor of a twin-hulled vessel – work a produc-
tive relationship and to reveal inconsistencies and incoherencies in the
dominant logic. The conditions of possibility for translational work are
radically altered from this purview; knowledge systems become irreduc-
ibly different and a logic of equivalence is thus occluded.
In synthesising this section, a central theme of the chapters covered
is the postcolonial problematic of finding a way to formulate and
express ideas beyond the dominant discourses of the centre, as captured
earlier in Spivak’s provocative question. The persisting difficulties of
the travel of ideas from the periphery to the centre are acknowledged.
However, the contributors sustain a rather positive, hopeful posture.
Rather than concentrate solely on a critique of the centre and a lament
for the exclusion and suppression of the periphery, they seek to locate
ways of speaking that give voice to the periphery without that voice
being consumed, appropriated and re-configured through the domi-
nant discourses of the centre. Whether this be via metaphor or via
other modes of language and representation, the intention is to locate
a viable alternative. The aim is not to critique and supplant – not to
replay the destructive dynamics of the past – but to generate a healthy
adjacency or to welcome and acknowledge hybridity in the production
238 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

of knowledge. There are risks, as some authors note: risks of appropria-

tion; risks of betrayal through translation; risks of exoticism and essen-
tialism; and risks of failing to engage the centre and be heard (see also
Alcadipani et al., 2012). Yet translation can also be an opportunity for
learning and change, as much as a risky epistemological business. As
such, these are risks perhaps worth taking if there is to be any movement
towards a transformation of the structures of dominance and depend-
ence (Connell, 2007).

The translator’s responsibility and voice

In the previous two sections, we discussed the political nature of the

flows and counter-flows of translation between core and peripheral
knowledge systems. In this section, we explore the implications for
researcher reflexivity of translation as a political act (Shenhav, 2012) as
articulated through a number of the chapters. From a critical perspec-
tive, the translator’s responsibility is to reveal, as best possible, his/her
underlying political assumptions, and to consider the best ways of repre-
senting his/her own voices, as well as the voices of those he/she seeks
to represent. Three of the chapters in this volume treat the issue of the
politics of translation head on, but each takes a different perspective and
reflexive road on the possibilities and challenges.
Both Bonsu (Chapter 6) and Ruwhiu (Chapter 9) rely upon their own
experience as members of a peripheral group engaged in a constant
encounter with the centre’s MOS discourse to account for the difficul-
ties and the dilemmas associated with moving, manoeuvring and trans-
lating the periphery to the centre and vice-versa. Ruwhiu’s account of her
personal experience of not ‘fitting-in’ during her primary and secondary
education – and the sense of uneasiness and discomfort that came with
the ‘half-caste’ identity ascribed to her – is powerful. Her autobiography is
a compelling reminder that translation, or more appropriately the expe-
rience of being translated by educational discourses of the (neo-)colo-
nial state, is an embodied phenomenon that profoundly influences how
one is positioned and subsequently positions others in organisational
research. She constantly negotiated between her tangata whenau back-
ground and her assimilated upbringing in a Pākehā, non-Māori world.
Ruwhiu describes how she came to be successful within this system by
pretending, and by learning to adjust, accommodate and become intel-
ligible in terms of the dominant discourse of her educational institu-
tions. In the context of her academic career, a sense of unease – this time
with respect to how Indigenous knowledges are being introduced into
Carrying across the Line 239

New Zealand business schools – continues to spur the reflections in her

Bonsu offers a glimpse into the experience of the peripheral social
ethnographer engaged in translating and implementing the centre’s
models and techniques in the periphery. He presents a reflexive biog-
raphy at the beginning of his chapter that lays out his explicit political
position and commitments. His work attempts to shape theory construc-
tion in the centre by translating into it the tastes, sense and sensibilities
formed by the experiences of the translator in the periphery (in Ghana).
In a tone rich with irony and self-deprecation, Bonsu too acknowledges
a feeling of not ‘fitting- in’, and confesses that apart from his daughter,
nobody reads his essays. Engaging in the translation and implementa-
tion of the periphery’s models and techniques in the centre is a key
responsibility for the translator, according to Bonsu. Yet, the price that is
to be paid for such work is often alienation and the experience of being
ignored. Reflecting upon his own experience of this, Bonsu argues that
a further responsibility of the translator from the periphery is to warn
scholars located there of the perils of undertaking translation on behalf
of the centre. The danger lies in the fact that it can be the translator him-/
herself who is being translated. In their role as translator, they assume
new subject positions according to which they may be understood as
ushers of modernisation and development along Eurocentric lines at
the expense of their own cultural authenticity. Bonsu illustrates these
subjective dynamics with regard to locals who participate in the transla-
tion and enactment of neoliberalism in Ghana. They conceive them-
selves less as citizens of Ghana and more as empowered entrepreneurs
stripped of history and context seeking private monetary profits. They
are eager to trade in Ghana’s ‘traditional code of conduct where helping
one’s neighbour was more noble than trampling on that neighbour for
material gains’ if that results in ‘progress’. With these new subject posi-
tions, progress itself is translated into Ghana as Westernisation which
for the neoliberal development apparatus means the replacement of a
community-based society with a collection of atomistic and competi-
tive individuals seeking wealth. As a consequence, Bonsu argues that the
anti-colonial project of ‘decolonising the mind’ is halted and thrown
into sharp reverse. Individuals so translated by neoliberalism come to
assume the responsibilities of the centre (e.g., encouraging unbridled
materialism) and thus become foreign to their own countries.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, Humphries and Verbos (Chapter 7)
chose to stay loyal to the system of meaning whose logic they attempt
to communicate through a particular choice of writing style. In his
240 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

discussion of the translator’s task, Walter Benjamin (1970, p. 78) cites

Rudolf Pannwitz in saying that ‘[o]ur translations [German Ones],
even the best ones, proceed from a wrong premise. They want to turn
Hindi, Greek, English into German instead of turning German into
Hindi, Greek, English’. In choosing their writing style, Humphries and
Verbos knowingly elect to turn their English to Māori and to challenge
the nature and form of interrogation or engagement of the centre by
the periphery. What particularly exercised Humphries and Verbos was
a profound concern with the way in which a critique or engagement is
formulated and enacted. Although not central to the discussion in their
chapter necessarily, it was nonetheless an underlying issue and inherent
to the process by which they constructed and sought to communicate
their work.
In the case of their chapter, the issue, in part, centred around this
problematic: If I am seeking to engage with the centre, how do I do so in
a way that is not within the discursive frame of the centre, that does not
deploy the same type of assertive, dominating and displacing modes of
expression and representation and so perhaps thereby reproducing the
antagonistic and hierarchical structures that I seek to challenge; or that
risks being co-opted, subsumed or appropriated and thereby sanitised?
Is there a language and mode of expression and representation, rooted
in an Indigenous ontology and epistemology which can speak for the
periphery, not betray it or leave it exposed and available for corruption,
but which still engages with the discourses of the centre? Seeking to
engage with a dominant discourse through a form that is not of and
cannot be subsumed by that discourse is a profound problem. It is one
that has exercised many movements for change and transformation.
There are those who would respond to Humphries and Verbos’s
dilemma in the negative. That is, they would argue that engagement
with the dominant formation cannot get outside their discourses and
that any attempt to engage is dangerous and puts the periphery at even
more risk. For a while this was a risk taken by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o who
decided to stop writing in English and write only in his local language.
Indeed, in the book Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in
African Literature (1986), he argued more broadly for African writers to
reject writing in foreign languages and shrug off any residual coloni-
alism such a practice entails. There is an argument, then, for disengage-
ment; to not join with the centre and play its corrupting games. Silence
and disengagement can, we believe, be seen as a legitimate response.
The counter-argument, naturally, is that the imperialistic forces will
continue to intrude and dominate unless resisted.
Carrying across the Line 241

This discussion surfaces again the extremely vexed issue of what modes
of resistance and transformation are most viable and efficacious. As a
collective, the chapters make it apparent that there is no single answer
here and that modes of resistance and transformation are varied across
situations. It is conceivable that multifaceted or multi-modal forms
need to be considered. We have already encountered variant forms of
resistance such as metaphor, silence, hybridisation and creative adja-
cency. Another response to the issue of the form of resistance, critique
and transformation in the face of dominant discourses is offered by the
postcolonial critic Edouard Glissant (1997). In confronting the dilemma
he also proposes a different mode of language and representation to
evade capture by the language of the dominant centre. In his case it
is not so much Indigenous language that offers the bypass, but rather
the language of poetry and the poetics of resistance. He seeks to find a
register and form of language that expresses the experiences and condi-
tions of the colonised and offers prospects of self-understanding, if not
reconfiguration or re-appropriation. The choice not to translate, or to be
translated, is a powerful one.


This book is comprised of chapters that variously and selectively draw

upon postcolonial theory and Indigenous knowledge systems through
the conceptual lens of core/centre-periphery relations in order to
advance debate in organisation studies. Through theoretical analysis
and empirical insight, the individual chapters have variously undertaken
the tasks of defamiliarising and decolonising selected core concepts and
theoretical approaches in MOS, and positing positive alternative visions
for generating heterodox knowledge and understanding of organising/
organisations based on Indigenous belief systems. In this chapter, we
have framed a number of common themes from the book as a whole in
terms of the concept of translation. We have articulated the challenges
and dilemmas of translating ideas from core to peripheral locations and
vice-versa, and highlighted potential modes of resistance and new ways
of writing about organisation. In coming to the end of this text, we
offer some final reflections and notes of caution on the core-periphery
concept, and its contribution to advancing forms of organisational anal-
ysis attuned to the realities and legacies of the colonial encounter.
A central challenge confronting any book adopting a critical perspec-
tive in relation to the issue of core and periphery is the question of
whether there is a single peripheral experience. The contributors to this
242 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

volume do seem to suggest that there are many similarities between

peripheral locations especially with Indigenous cultures, whether in the
form of a shared cosmology, a structural position in the world-system,
or shared metropolitan attitudes about them. There are risks in positing
or assuming such similarities: the potential to essentialise and homog-
enise Indigenous or non-centre cultures, especially in a binary form;
the potential that Indigenous knowledge is exoticised; the continued
appropriation of the periphery by the centre. The extant asymmetries
in global economies and cultures, particularly within the structures and
systems of knowledge production and dissemination, carry the risk that
any account of the periphery is refracted through the interests, episte-
mologies and theories of the centre.
We remain very cognisant and more than a little unsettled by the
reflection that this very project is, as noted at the beginning of the
chapter, imbricated in the machinations of the centre. Indeed, our
very use of the notion of centre and periphery to frame this book is an
example of a centre-theory in action. However provisionally or strate-
gically, such a frame lumps together the experiences of countries and
societies with different histories, presents and futures, whilst blurring
the boundaries and differences between them. We are compelled to
acknowledge the difficulties with such spatial metaphors as core-pe-
riphery and the risks attendant on pursuing them as a quasi-analytic
frame. Just as others, such as (Global) North-(Global) South and East-
West, or First-World, Third-World, have been contentious, partial and
frustrating, so is the core-periphery formulation. One of the risks is that
the use of such metaphors draws attention to, if not further instanti-
ates, the asymmetries and dependencies presumed to be the substance
beneath the metaphor, and that would be counter-productive to any
transformational aspiration.
Nonetheless, flawed as it may be, we feel that the formulation does
provide a way of structuring discussion and addressing more salient
inhibitors to the transformational project that we are indeed concerned
with. We are somewhat encouraged by recent reflections by Keim (2008,
p. 22) who, confronting the same kind of dilemma – albeit in sociology,
not MOS – stated that ‘a centre-periphery-model seems to be a valid
tool for the description and comprehension of processes of social scien-
tific knowledge production, diffusion, reception and scholarly commu-
nication at an international level’. Keim points to three problems in
international sociology that resonate with MOS: the relative underde-
velopment of the sociology discipline in the periphery as a consequence
of its genesis in the colonial metropole and evolutionist institutional
Carrying across the Line 243

trajectory; resultant dynamics of autonomy-dependency and centrali-

ty-marginality; a process of ‘extraversion’ that exacerbates processes of
We concur with Keim that any solution to the core-periphery problem
in the social sciences, including MOS, does not reside in those policies and
practices which seek to ‘internationalise’ disciplines, or that are devised
to help those in the periphery to ‘catch-up’. Internationalisation tends
to mean the promulgation of the institutions of the centre (Oommen,
1991), including the publishing machine, globally, so that the peripheral
scholar too becomes caught in the performativity regimes of publish or
perish and the bibliometric paraphernalia that has come to define and
bind the centre. Yet resistant work in the form of decolonising meth-
odologies, provincialising concepts and Indigenous knowledges offer
different invitations for reconfiguring core-periphery relations. In terms
of this book, the contributions have pointed to the various lines that
can be transgressed and advanced as part of such resistant work.
What we had intended with this book was to bring together postco-
lonial and Indigenous perspectives in an interrogation of contemporary
MOS. We acknowledge that such a confluence is disavowed in some
quarters. Indeed, some Indigenous theorists/activists would urge that
postcolonialism not be used as a resource to explain the Indigenous posi-
tion and experience. They see the risks of ‘betrayal’ in translation and of
appropriation and co-optation as too high. Furthermore, for some, post-
colonialism is also critiqued and eschewed for being yet another form
of Eurocentric appropriation. There are those, such as During (1990,
p. 115), who see postcolonialism as an emancipatory project which
seeks to address ‘the need, in nations or groups which have been victims
of imperialism, to achieve an identity uncontaminated by universalist
or Eurocentric concepts and images’. For others there is no possibility
of such an ‘uncontaminated’ position, or even an uncontaminated
Indigenous position (Hutcheon, 1991). Hutcheon sees postcolonialism
as a critique within the discourses of the centre, not outside it. For scholars
like Arlif Dirlik (1994), postcolonialism remains Eurocentric through its
underpinnings in by the philosophies and concerns of postmodernism
and further flawed its immersion in cultural discourse, neglecting polit-
ical economy and the ravages of contemporary global capitalism. For yet
others the ‘post’ in postcolonialism is a misnomer since it suggests that
the colonial is behind us and for many this is a premature declaration
(McClintock, 1992).
Certainly, for many Indigenous people in the periphery it is erroneous
to imply that they are somehow beyond the colonial. As Loomba (1998,
244 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

p. 9) argues, Indigenous people are still ‘at the far economic margins
of the nation state, so there is nothing post about their colonisation’.
We would concur with that and do not intend our use of postcoloni-
alism to be read as depicting historical periodisation. Nor do we want to
be seen as suggesting that the postcolonial or the state and experience
of indigeneity are monolithic and invariable; this is clearly untenable.
However, here is not the place to rehearse these longstanding termino-
logical and conceptual debates about the meaning and scope of post-
colonialism/post-colonialism (for elaborations on such debates, see the
readers edited by Adam & Tiffin, 1991, and Goldberg & Quayson, 2002).
The labels ‘postcolonial’ and ‘indigenous’ are clearly a convenience and
perhaps can be viewed as strategically enabling heuristic devices.
For some of the contributors to this book, such as Diane Ruwhiu, there
is perceived, if cautious, merit in making use of postcolonial theories in
relation to Indigenous thinking for the purposes of critical engagement.
For others, such as Humphries and Verbos, an Indigenously informed
voice is given space in what is hoped to be productive adjacency with
the dominant voices of the centre. It was the intention of the book to
create an opportunity whereby different lines of engagement (or indeed
disengagement) could be entertained. We hoped to broaden and deepen
the critical possibilities of both postcolonial organisational analysis and
of an Indigenous voice and perspective. In our view the emerging value
of postcolonially informed MOS is given further weight and impetus by
its engagement with Indigenous epistemology and ways of thinking and
practice. Indigenous thinking and epistemology has great value both
through offering alternative forms of knowledge, but also as a source of
critique for a more reflexive MOS. This is part of a wider project to not
only provincialise the centre’s orthodoxy, with respect to MOS, but to
open it up to varied and more heterodox modes of thinking (Jack et al.,
2011). Engagement with world-systems theory is also a contribution of
this text; it is not something that has been much apparent in postcolo-
nial organisation studies to date.
Inherent in many of the contributions in the book has been issues
revolving around translation. The problems of possibilities of translation
have exercised many both within postcolonialism and without, and it
has been a consistently present issue for Spivak throughout her expan-
sive ruminations. It resonates, naturally enough, with the classic ques-
tion of ‘Can the subaltern speak?’ A number of our contributors have
worried about the issue of what it means to speak from the periphery.
In speaking out and engaging with the dominant centre, what is lost
in translation and what is at risk? Can an Indigenous and peripheral
Carrying across the Line 245

voice speak outside the discourses of the centre? Will translating for the
centre result in an act of betrayal, or of appropriation? Will it stymie
an emancipatory trajectory and further lock the Indigenous into struc-
tures and patterns of dominance and dependency? There are attempts
to speak out from the periphery in this book and various possibilities
are revealed. One can speak autobiographically, or through adjacency,
or reflexively. Speaking in your own tongue, and keeping within your
own lines, is another possibility however. We believe that exploring the
issues around translation within this book offers up additional possi-
bilities for theoretical engagement within not only international and
cross-cultural management studies, but for all of MOS. We feel we have
only really scratched the surface here and there are many further critical
avenues to explore.
The limitations of this book will doubtless be apparent to the reader.
In terms of the politics of knowledge, we have sought to acknowledge
that this is, in fact, a project from within the centre and the attendant
risks and limitations of that. The book and the project is precisely an
exemplar of the tensions inherent in any centre-periphery dynamic.
Indeed, centre-periphery is a double bind in Spivak’s (2013) sense and
like her, we are doubtful that it is a dissolvable double bind. Rather,
as Spivak suggests, what we witness in some of our contributions is a
playing of/with the double bind and, hopefully, a shifting of value codes
across the line. However, this does not alter the fact of the specific loca-
tion of this text within the topography of a politics of knowledge. It is
written and published in English by a publishing house well within the
ambit of the centre’s knowledge machine. A weakness of the book is that
whilst language and translation is central to its ruminations, the issue of
multilingualism has not been fully addressed.
Another weakness is not only the risk of essentialising and homog-
enising Indigeneity and the periphery, but the fact that there is a
slanted representation of Indigenous and peripheral communities.
The book contains a preponderance of contributions from Aotearoa/
New Zealand. A wider range of contributions across the periphery and
Indigenous communities would have been welcome, and that is an area
for future development and elaboration. We also feel that there is more
scope for work that defamiliarises and provincialises the theory of the
centre. There are contributions here, including Özen’s interrogation of
new institutional theory and Westwood’s playful reflecting back of the
centre’s own empirics to question its claim to centre and standard. This
is work that needs to continue and doubtless will as the global socio-
economic order continues to shift and alternative conceptualisations,
246 Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood and Farzad Rafi Khan

theories and practices continue to emerge that call into question the
universalising inclinations of the work from the current centre.
We hope that this book has made a contribution in these areas, but
look forward to a continuing broadening and deepening of MOS as it
becomes more open and heterodox with respect to differences and alter-
natives from around the world. There is a need for more peripheral and
Indigenous voices to be heard and we need to create ways in which
such articulations can occur with less risk and more open receptivity.
We anticipate that theory will travel in new directions as global shifts
continue, but we need to remain vigilant against a freshly re-configured
geo-politics of knowledge that re-instantiates new rigidities, asymmetries
and dependencies. We hope that within MOS into the future we can let
a thousand flowers bloom in equanimity.

1. In this chapter, we use the terms ‘core’ and ‘centre’ interchangeably.

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abortion, 134 impacts and legacy of, 33, 36–7, 38,

academic ‘industry’, 15, 223–5, 231, 47–8, 121–2, 126, 191, 233
240, 243 imposition of ideology on colonies,
AIATSIS, 215 3–5, 9–10, 53–4, 193, 217,
Akena, Francis, 3–4 226–8, 234, 244
Alatas, Syed, 15, 79, 84 in New Zealand, 187–9
ancestral leadership, 165, 167–8, see also postcolonialism
170–80 contextualisation of MOS, 11, 14, 58,
Annan, Kofi, 140 79–81, 85, 93, 231–2
Aotearoa, see New Zealand translation of MOS theory between
Auckland Business School, 171, 196 contexts, 225–6
Australian Aboriginals, 22, 214, convergence, 55–7, 67
215–16, 218–19, 234 see also universalism
Australian Customs and Border Cordova, Viola, 149, 154
Protection Service, 213–14 core-periphery framework, 1–2, 23n.
2, 34–5, 53, 60, 209, 241–2
base of the pyramid strategies, 128, corruption, 39, 40
133–4 in Greece, 104, 113
Bass, Bernard, 67–8, 71 in Iceland, 116
Bavarocracy, 105, 109, 233 Creed, W. E. Douglas, 139, 142, 147,
Bhabha, Homi, 53–4, 192, 193, 155
194–5 cultural differences, models and
biopower, 132 theories of, 60–71
Boele, Richard, 144 cultural imperialism, see colonialism,
Brodbeck, Felix, 63 imposition of ideology on
Cajete, Gregory, 141, 149, 154, 165–6, Cyprus, 115
Canadian International Development Davidson, Paul, 206, 207–9, 210, 211,
Agency, 131, 132, 134 212, 214, 215
capitalism, 102, 143 debt politics, 115–16
Castells, Manuel, 211–13, 219 DE-MNCs, see multinational
China corporations
multinational corporations, 46–7 development, 10, 21, 55–6, 91, 121–6,
CIDA, 131, 132, 134 129, 134–5, 140, 230–1
clientelism history, 124–6
in Greece, 105, 106, 110, 233 monitoring and evaluation of,
in Turkey, 87–8, 91, 92 131–3
cluster analysis, 60–6, 68, 72 similarities with colonialism, 135–6
coherence, in business systems, 101–2, digital technology, 206–7, 210–14
116, 230 digital divide, 217–20
colonialism, 125–6, 208–9 DiMaggio, Paul, 81, 82
through debt, 115–16 Dirlik, Arlif, 243

250 Index

Doha Round, 136 Griffin, Ricky, 206, 207–9, 210, 211,

Dorfman, Peter, 68 212, 214, 215
Dunlop, John, 55, 57
Durie, Mason, 197 Habermas, Jürgen, 152–3
Harbison, Frederick, 55–6, 57
empowerment, 128–9, 133, 135 Hill, Charles, 206, 207–9, 210, 211,
entrepreneurship, 21, 111, 127–9, 239 212, 214, 215
EU, see European Union Hine-ā-maru, 172, 174–5, 176
Eurocentrism, 3, 4, 53–5, 125, 141, history, importance of in MOS, 102–3,
239, 243 166–7
European Union, 90, 104, 111, 115, Hofstede, Geert, 40, 61–3, 65–6, 68,
230 72–3
Hotho, Jasper, 102, 104, 107, 108, 109
fabrication, 131–3 House, Robert, 60, 62, 64, 66, 70
Fanon, Frantz, 36, 187, 191 hybridity, 187, 192, 193, 196–8, 228,
Fischer, Ronald, 68–9 236
Fligstein, Neil, 82, 83
Ford Foundation, 55, 228 Ibarra-Colada, Eduardo, 4–5
Fortune Global 500, 34 Iceland, 116
Foucault, Michel, 130, 132, 189, 193 IMF, 58, 122
Freire, Paulo, 157 Indigeneity
Frenkel, Michal, 19, 193, 233 defined, 12–14
industrialization, 54–7
Ghana, 21, 121, 122, 132, 135–6, in Greece, 20, 106, 107, 111
230–1, 239 information technology (IT), see
Glassdoor.com, 44–5 digital technology
Glissant, Edouard, 241 Inglehart, Ronald, 64–5
Global Compact, 150 institutionalisation, see
global financial crisis (of 2008), 115, uninstitutionalisation
141, 147, 148, 230 intellectual imperialism, see MOS
Global Leadership and Organizational International Monetary Fund, 58, 122
Behaviour Effectiveness Inter-University Study of Labour
Research study, 62–3, 64 Problems in Economic
globalisation, 9, 58, 204, 207–8, 211 Development, 55
see also universalism isomorphism, 82, 88, 90, 143
GLOBE study, 62–3, 64 I-USLPED, 55
governmentality, 21, 130–1, 133, 189
Greece, 100–15, 230, 232–3 Jack, Gavin, 56
black economy, 113 Jackson, Terence, 12–15
business practices, 107, 109–10 Jepperson, Ronald, 80, 83, 84, 85, 86,
corruption, 113 90, 91, 92
education, 108 Journal of Management Studies, 40
financial crisis, 115, 230
financial institutions, 107 Kanu, Yatta, 36–7
industrialisation, 56–7, 106, 107, Kennedy, John, 124
111 Kerr, Clark, 55, 57
labour institutions, 108 Khan, Farzad, 10
reforms, 114–15 Kiva, 132
role of the state, 103–15 Knowledge
Index 251

geo-politics of and dominance of modernisation, see development

Euro-American epistemology, MOS
see MOS application of postcolonial theory,
indigenous systems of, 11–14, 16, 6–11, 36–8, 40–1, 244
22, 139, 148–50, 165–8, 170, in business education, 205–6,
172–80, 195, 242, see also Māori 208–12, 186–91, 194–5, 204–9,
transfer from periphery to core, 35, 211–2, 214–19, 220–1
37–40, 165, 197, 218, 229–31, dominance of Euro-American
233–5 epistemology, 1–2, 4–7, 17–18,
see also hybridity 33, 46, 48, 54–60, 72, 80–3,
Korea 94, 139–43, 146–8, 152–4, 180,
multinational corporations, 43–5 186–8, 190, 223, 229, 243, see
Kwok, Pui-Lan, 36 also academic ‘industry’
from the periphery/indigenous,
leadership, 66–70 11–13, 15–16, 19–23, 35, 39–40,
ancestral, Māori, 21–2, 165–8, 42–4, 46, 59, 86–90, 165–6,
170–80, 235 168–71, 179, 196–7, 231, 234–5,
Lenape peoples, 147–8 238
Leong, Lai Yin, 68–9 impact of culture, 65–71
Leura, Tim, 216–17 motivation theory, 71–2
liberalism, 94 multinational corporations, 19, 34–5,
characteristics of, 80–1, 83, 127 40, 44–5, 140, 142, 233
Littrell, Romie, 63, 64 DE-MNCs, 19, 34–5, 37–8, 233–4
Lubeck, Paul, 122 Chinese, 46–7
Korean, 43–5
McShane, Steven, 206, 207–9, 210, Taiwanese, 40–1
211, 212, 214, 215 see also managerialism
management, study of, see MOS Munn, Nancy, 216
managerialism, 205, 207, 209, 212 Myers, Charles, 55–6, 57
ancestral leadership, 21–2, 165–8, National Business Systems (NBS)
170–80, 235 approach, 20–1, 100–3, 113–14,
values and world view, 10–11, 116, 229–30, 232
151–4, 165, 170–1, 176, 179, neo-institutionalism, Scandinavian,
188, 195, 197–9 225–6
in business education, 186, 195–9 neo-liberalism, 127–30, 134, 140, 142,
see also Three Baskets of Knowledge 143, 239
Marsden, Māori, 149, 171, 173 network
meritocracy, 140–1 encoded in Aboriginal art, 22,
metaphor, 152, 153, 155–6, 169, 172, 216–17, 218–19, 234
235, 237, 242 imagination, 204, 207, 209, 211,
metaphoric mind, 165, 169–70 214, 221
Metcalfe’s Law, 213 logic, 22–3, 215–16, 234–5
Mexico, 219–20 society, 210–13
Meyer, John, 80, 81, 83, 84, 85, 86, New Institutional Theory, 8–6, 88, 90,
90, 91, 92 93–4, 229, 232
Michaels, Eric, 218–19 New Zealand, 21, 22, 151–4, 188,
Millennium Declaration, 123 235–6
Minkov, Michael, 64 education system, 22, 185–8, 195
252 Index

New Zealand – Continued Said, Edward, 8, 54, 209

water pollution, 151, 154 Samsung Electronics, 43–5
see also Māori Saro Wiwa, Ken, 144
Newmont Mining Corporation, 135 Schwartz, Shalom, 64, 68, 69
Ngā Kete e Toru o te Wānaga, 166, semi-periphery
172–80 countries in, 61, 100
Ngāti Hine, 172, 174–6 see also core-periphery framework;
Nigeria, 128, 144–5, 150, 237 periphery
NIT, see New Institutional Theory Seo, Myeong-Gu, 139, 142, 147, 155
Shambaugh, David, 46–7
Ogoni people, 144–6, 150, 158 Shell, 144–6, 150, 158, 237
opportunism, 91–2, 93 Shenkar, Oded, 60, 61
organisation studies, see MOS Shirres, Michael, 170, 175, 176
Orientalism, 209–10, 215, 217 Spiller, Chellie, 147–8, 149
Spivak, Gayatri, 234, 244–5
Penetito, Wally, 185, 188–9, 195, 197 Srinivas, Nidhi, 16–17
periphery state
impact of colonialism on role/concept of, 20, 53–4, 80–3, 85,
perceptions of, and in, 19–20, 127, 232
36–8, 40–3, 45–6, 48, 233–4 see also Greece
see also core-periphery framework; statism, 80, 85–6, 92–4, 231
semi-periphery in Turkey, 20, 81, 86, 92, 94, 229
Perrow, Charles, 84, 214 Stiglitz, Joseph, 141
personalism, 70–1 subjectification, 193, 194
polity, 20, 80–1, 84–6, 88–90, 92,
94–5, 229–231 Taiwan
pollution multinational corporations, 40–1
oil, in Ghana, 144–6, 237 Tarawera, 151, 152, 154, 155–6
water, in New Zealand, 151, 154, Te Ao Māori, see Maori
237 Thornton, Patricia, 142–3
Porter, Michael, 59 Three Baskets of Knowledge, 166,
postcolonial 172–80, 235
imagination, 19–20, 36–8, 40–3, Tiriti o Waitangi, 188, 195, 236
45–6, 48, 233–4 Tjapaltjarri, Tim Leura, 216–17
theory and analysis in MOS, 7–10, Treaty of Waitangi, 188, 195, 236
34–5, 38, 40–3, 191–2, 194, 199, Truman, Harry, 123–4
208–10, 243–4 Tsui, Annie, 79
poverty, 122–3, 129 Turkey, 20, 81, 85–92, 229,
Powell, Walter, 81 231–2

rational mind, 169 UNCTAD, 34

relationality, 139, 141, 148–50, 152–6, UNEP, 144, 146
158–9, 214, 235–7 uninstitutionalisation, 20, 88, 91, 93,
research methods, indigenous, 171, 229
181n. 1 United Nations Conference on Trade
Rizvi, Fazal, 36–7 and Development, 34
Ronen, Simcha, 60, 61 United Nations Declaration of the
Rowan, Brian, 81, 82 Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
Royal Dutch Shell, 144–6, 150, 158 150
Index 253

United Nations Environment University of Otago, 195–6, 197

Programme, 144, 146 USAID, 132
United States
as a centre/standard, 4, 19–21, 55, Victoria University of Wellington, 196
57–60, 227–8
in cultural clusters, 60–5, 72 Wallerstein, Immanuel, 208–9
MOS and theory development in, Weber, Max, 71
55–9, 65–6, 69–72, 81, 84–5, Westwood, Robert, 8, 10, 19, 56, 71
206, 226–7 World Bank, 58, 122, 128, 131, 132
as the ‘new empire’, 54–5 world systems theory, 1, 10, 54, 209
role of the state in, 82–4 World Values Survey, 64–5
universalism, 19–20, 39, 56–8, 67–8,
81, 225, 230 Zapatistas, 219–20