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[Excerpt] What does culture mean in cross-cultural studies? Much of the comparative management literature has adopted vague and atheoretical approaches to conceptualizing and measuring culture. It is no wonder that the literature has yielded little cumulative knowledge about management in different cultures (Miller, 1984; Kelley & Worthley, 1981; Negandhi, 1983). While many explanations can be offered for the lack of consistency and clarity in comparative studies, one explanation is the nature of the societal culture and the degree to which individual organizational cultures reflect or conflict with the overarching societal culture. The degree of societal heterogeneity and the congruence or fit between societal and organizational cultures will be examined in this paper in an attempt to offer suggestions for future cross-cultural research.

Societal cultures are likely to vary in the degree to which they have a dominant set of values and beliefs. One way of examining cultural diversity within any society is to identify the nation on a continuum ranging from homogeneous to heterogeneous. In a homogeneous societal culture the underlying values and beliefs are shared and pervasive; thus a dominant set of cultural beliefs exist. In a more heterogeneous societal culture many different values and beliefs are held by diverse population groups. This situation is characterized by a multicultural society.


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© Emerald Insight. Final version published as: Enz, C. A. (1986). New directions for cross-cultural studies: linking organizational and societal cultures. In R. N. Farmer (Ed.), Advances in international comparative management: A research annual (Vol. 2, pp. 173-189). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

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