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From cultural differences to cultural globalization: towards a new research agenda in cross-cultural management studies

Mehdi Boussebaa (Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Critical Perspectives on International Business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 15 June 2020

Issue publication date: 12 August 2021




This paper responds to calls for a new raison d’être in the field cross-cultural management (CCM) and culture-sensitive studies of international business (IB) more broadly. It argues that one way of addressing the crisis of confidence in the field is to develop a line of inquiry focussed on corporate-driven cultural globalization. This paper also proposes a theoretical approach informed by international political economy (IPE) and postcolonial theory and outlines a research agenda for future work on cultural globalization.


The paper is a desk-based analysis that draws on relevant research in the wider social sciences to insert cultural globalization into the CCM/IB field’s intellectual project.


The paper finds the field of CCM and culture-sensitive IB studies more broadly to be almost exclusively focussed on studying the impact of cultural differences. Surprisingly, little attention has been devoted to the phenomenon of corporate-driven cultural globalization.

Research limitations/implications

The paper redirects the field and presents a research agenda, calling for studies on the role of four related actors in cultural globalization: MNEs, global professional service firms, business schools and CCM/IB researchers themselves.

Practical implications

CCM/IB scholars may be able to reorient themselves towards the phenomenon of cultural globalization and, in so doing, also seize an opportunity to contribute to important debates about it in the wider social sciences.


The paper suggests possibilities for renewal by redirecting CCM/IB towards the study of cultural globalization and by encouraging the field to develop a postcolonial sensibility in future research on the phenomenon.



Boussebaa, M. (2021), "From cultural differences to cultural globalization: towards a new research agenda in cross-cultural management studies", Critical Perspectives on International Business, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 381-398.



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