Showing posts from February, 2007

Global Management: a Clash of Cultures?

It was in the late 1980s, when I heard the old sociologist Norbert Elias (1897-1990) present a lecture about global civilisation and national identities. He explained that the growing nationalism and tribalism in parts of the world like Africa was an expression of a global civilisation process, in which nation states were increasingly becoming obsolete as cultural and political units. So the growing emphasis on regional, national and tribal cultures should be seen as a rearguard action of groups who try to cling to a cultural past in their quest for identity in an increasingly global world. This idea came to my mind when I was reading about the globalisation of management. There is a tension between ideas of ‘globalisation’ and ‘localisation’. On the one hand management is becoming uniform across the globe, and on the other we see how management practices continue to be rooted in local cultures. Managers are told to learn about other cultures and to adapt their management tools and ma…