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When analyzing modes of navigating a multi-cultural environment in a multinational corporation (MNC), most studies employ an etic approach that delineates how, for example, multi-cultural companies thrive and maneuver in a likewise multi-cultural business contexts. This approach implies the use of theoretical models and empirical observations that from a methodological view identify an employee as either an objectified agent or as an anonymous “other,” indicating that such approaches are rooted in an ethnocentric academic tradition. Acknowledging the merits of this tradition, we take the methodological approach a step further and introduce an emic or contextualized approach that makes employees themselves provide the bulk of data on how and why they position themselves in a multi-cultural organization the way they do. The main objective of this chapter is thus to discuss how employees develop personal strategies to navigate in a complex multi-cultural organization. The study takes off by developing a theoretical model for how to approach emic studies and then proceeds to suggest a methodological approach that is capable of providing empirical data for a model based on a combination of both etic and emic approaches. This constitutes a first step towards developing a generic model of how to deal with context. In order to test the model, the empirical focus will be on the relationship between the headquarter of the Danish MNC, Maersk Line, in Denmark and its subsidiaries in Asia. This relationship is analyzed on the basis of interviews in the Danish headquarter and in the local offices in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang.

Publication information

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Responsive Global Organization : New Insights from Global Strategy and International Business
EditorsTorben Juul Andersen
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Publication date2017
Pages125 - 148
Chapter5
ISBN (print)9781787148321
ISBN (electronic)9781787148314, 9781787432673
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017
Series Emerald Studies in Global Strategic Responsiveness
Volume1

    Keywords

  • Context, Etic, Emic, Maersk, Subsidiaries, Local institutions

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