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Changing business culture: theory and practice in typical emerging markets

Stephanie Jones (Maastricht School of Management, Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Gregory J. Scott (CENTRUM Católica, Lima, Peru)

Publication date: 1 October 2011

Issue publication date: 1 October 2011


Subject area

Organizational behavior, human resources, culture, international business, international entrepreneurship and emerging market studies.

Study level/applicability

MBA and MSc students (and some advanced-level undergraduates) in an MBA module being taught face-to-face in an emerging market context. MBA courses such as managing cultural diversity, cross-cultural management, organizational behavior, human resource management, international business and business in emerging markets. The exercise is also relevant to teaching the subject of assignment- and dissertation-writing, given the element of data collection and analysis.

Case overview

This exercise is designed to be an MBA class exercise in which students try to answer the question: what are the national cultural characteristics of the typical executive or manager in my country? Are these behaviors as the textbooks describe, or have they changed, especially with economic development?

The example of country chosen for the class exercise can be any emerging market country, especially one undergoing significant change. Much of the research on cross-cultural management conducted in emerging markets was carried out 20 or 30 years ago and the changes in emerging markets have been dramatic since then. It is highly likely, when reaching the results of this exercise, that the culture of the chosen country has indeed changed dramatically, becoming more like a typical developed or “emerged” country. Much of the original cross-cultural management research was also based on a similar group – employees of US-based high technology companies, arguably similar to the sample to be involved in our exercise here.

Expected learning outcomes

  • National cultural characteristics can be described and defined in ways which will allow for comparisons, to gain useful insights – and these behaviors are not good or bad, just real and different.

  • Cultures can change or stay the same, due to certain demographic, economic and social influences, which we can study and measure.

  • If we proactively interview colleagues and other contacts to test our understanding of these national culture constructs, we can gain more insights and awareness (rather than just listening to a lecture).

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes, student assignment.



Jones, S. and Scott, G.J. (2011), "Changing business culture: theory and practice in typical emerging markets", , Vol. 1 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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