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National context and organizational performance across three sectors

G. Ronald Gilbert (Department of Management & International Business, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA)
Mary Ann Von Glinow (Department of Management & International Business, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Article publication date: 3 August 2015




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of diffusional pressures as they relate to organizational performance (OP) across public, private, and not-for-profit sectors in two different national contexts.


A review is conducted of institutional forces in the environment of two nations; one highly developed and the other developing to identify isomorphic pressures in each of the countries. An organizational performance assessment (OPA) tool is used to analyze the differences in the performance of the three sectors in the two national contexts identified. The research relies on Pearson correlation, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and MANCOVA statistical applications to validate the assessment instrument and shed light on differences across nations and sectors that can be attributed to organizational diffusion as a result of institutional pressures that exist in the countries in which the organizations are embedded.


The findings indicate there is greater need to adapt to local ways of doing things when working cross-nationally within developing countries than with those that are developed where management practices are more alike than dissimilar. The results of the study suggest that when managing organizations cross-nationally, in the more developed nations organizations will perform more effectively and more alike than when working with organizations in less developed countries where the conditions for the diffusion of organizational practices are weaker.

Research limitations/implications

The research focussed on two countries for comparative purposes. Due to sampling limitations, the findings are more relevant to the sectors the authors studied within countries than between the countries per se. It is recommended further research be conducted using larger samples across many national cultures. While relying on broad societal institutional dynamics, the study design does not permit the analysis of the effects of specific contextual characteristics on OP. Such an undertaking is undoubtedly a “next step” that the authors recommend.

Practical implications

The extant literature finds that managing systems cross-nationally requires adaptation to local national contexts. Where there is less economic and technological development, less opportunity for free market competition (capitalism), educational opportunities, and shared standards from which the performance of organizations are judged, the more unlikely organizations will employ commonly applied management practices. A new tool is introduced that can be used to further research on OP cross-nationally.


The study provides empirical evidence to demonstrate that in nations where stronger diffusional pressures exist, fewer differences will be found among the performance of the three sectors. Additionally, the effectiveness of organizations in these national contexts will be greater. While research among the three sectors has identified performance differences, such differences are less likely to be discernible in developed nations due to isomorphic pressures. The study is especially relevant to those who manage global organizations cross-nationally. It introduces a new tool to measure OP across national boundaries.



Gilbert, G.R. and Von Glinow, M.A. (2015), "National context and organizational performance across three sectors", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 356-378.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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