Perlmutter Revisited: Revealing the Anomic Mindset

Alexandre Bohas*, Michael J. Morley, Aseem Kinra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The assortment of issues that arise in situations where there is a divergence between managers’ prevailing mindsets and the demands of their complex operating environment have yet to be fully revealed. Engaging critically with Perlmutter’s framework and the broader global mindset literature, and drawing on insights curated from a 2-year field study, we reveal the existence of the anomic mindset among a cohort of international managers. We conceptualize this mindset as a stock of knowledge, cognitive and psychological attributes that results in these managers returning to and entrenching themselves in an outdated, most probably idealized, world view of business in opposition to a changing socio-economic context. Its presence sees them resisting rather than adapting to the globalization that surrounds them, and leads them to engage in detours from the pathway toward the development of a global mindset. Unlike the ethnocentric mindset which describes ex ante managerial thinking in organizations moving toward internationalization, the anomic mindset results from the ex post responses of managers following a protracted period of involvement in international business. Its existence opens up a significant debate on progress in, and the prospects for, globalization and the development of global mindsets, along with their preservation in the face of this persistent anomie.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1695-1723
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 03 May 2021.


  • Global leardership
  • Global mindset
  • Anomic mindset
  • Ethnocentric
  • Managerial cognition
  • Ethnography
  • Abduction
  • Globalization

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