Compassion in the International Business Studies: Prospects for Future Research

Michael Jakobsen, Verner Worm, Sven Horak*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


This paper aims to introduce the concept of compassion to the field of international business studies. As international business activities continuously intensify and hence generate a work environment characterized by cultural heterogeneity and pluralism, the notion of compassion in a cross-cultural context can be regarded a key skill for employees in internationally operating firms to enable coping with potential cross-cultural conflicts.

In this narrative-oriented type of review, the authors discuss compassion in a cross-cultural context by drawing on the literature in the management and international business studies. By connecting prior research on compassion with the typical research interests in the IB domain, the authors identify and define potential future research foci for a research agenda centering on the role that cross-cultural compassion plays.

The authors argue that the conventional approach to learning about other national cultures, their value and norm systems, needs to be complemented by the acquisition of compassion skills. In todays culturally diverse business environment where employees increasingly work in virtual teams, cultural complexity is hardly manageable alone by developing expert knowledge about respective cultural contexts to prevent cross-cultural conflicts.

By drawing on extant research on compassion conducted in neighboring disciplines of the social sciences, the authors conceptualize compassion in the context of international business research. Because compassion in a cross-cultural context is new to international business research, this study suggests directions for future research consisting of four research streams to guide future research on compassion in a cross-cultural context in international business studies.
TidsskriftCritical Perspectives on International Business
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)594-613
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

Published online: 11 January 2023.


  • Compassion
  • Cross-cultural issues
  • Empathy
  • Culture
  • Emotions
  • International business research
  • Multinational organizations