Taran Patel challenges the conventional fashion in which culture has been evoked in popular international business literature. Stereotypes of Intercultural Management urges managers to question the national and corporate culture stereotypes they are so fond of. The author leads the readers on an interesting journey through French-Indian alliances, to show how culture is much more dynamic than it has been considered in the past. She also demonstrates that national or corporate stereotypes of culture are inutile for managers interested in making sense of the dynamic environment of international strategic alliances, as people change behaviours depending on the social context they find themselves in.
Using the Douglasian Cultural Theory she offers a totally different framework for cross-cultural comparisons that overcomes the limitations of two major streams of literature: Firstly, she overcomes the limitations of the essentialist culture frameworks focused on national, societal and corporate culture stereotypes. Secondly, she overcomes some of the weaknesses of the transactional analysis approach which propagates that there are as many cultures as there are cultural contexts, thereby rendering cultural comparisons impossible. By identifying a knowledge gap between these two major streams of literature, the author hopes to shed light on the unity-infinity debate that has been confusing social scientists for some time now.
This work, although focused on Indo-French alliances is equally interesting and useful to managers of other international strategic alliances.
Dr Taran Patel heads the Center for Responsible Business at ESC Rennes School of Business, Rennes, France. This research center focuses on three major areas of research: sustainable development, business ethics and diversity issues. Taran has been involved in a variety of international research collaborations, notably in the area of crosscultural and diversity management. This book is the result of her PhD research, which earned her the Outstanding Doctoral Research Award in 2006 in the Management and Governance category from EFMD/Emerald.