Dear colleagues,


Please find as follows a reminder of our CfP, with an extended submission deadline of December 31st 2015:



Call for Papers for a Special Issue in

Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal
to be retitled as Cross Cultural & Strategic Management)


The Upside of Cultural Differences: Towards a More Balanced Treatment of Culture in Cross-Cultural Management Research


The submission deadline: December 31st, 2015.


Guest Editors: Günter K. Stahl, Christof Miska, Hyun-Jung Lee, Mary Sully de Luque


Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy.
Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster.

Geert Hofstede (

Cultural differences can be viewed as either a handicap
or a powerful seed for something new.

– Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Renault and Nissan (cited in Emerson, 2001: 6).


Current theory and research in cross-cultural management tends to emphasize the “dark side” of culture by focusing predominantly on the adverse outcomes associated with differences while de-emphasizing the positive role of cultural diversity in organizations. The results of a content analysis of 1,141 articles on culture in international business, covering a 24-year time period (1989-2012) published in the Journal of International Business Studies, revealed a 17:1 imbalance of negative over positive theoretical research assumptions when exploring the role of culture in various international business contexts (Stahl & Tung, 2014). This overwhelming emphasis on the liabilities associated with cultural differences, with the underlying assumption that differences contribute to misunderstandings, irritation, and conflict, is by no means limited to work drawing on Hofstede’s (1980) model but seems pervasive in research that uses dimensional frameworks of national culture. However, a similar content analysis of articles published in Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal revealed that research that relies less on “universal” cultural dimensions tends to present a more balanced perspective on culture and cultural differences (Stahl & Tung, 2014). Together these findings suggest that cultural diversity can be both an asset and a liability in various contexts.

The idea that there are negative consequences associated with cultural differences is core to the “cultural distance” construct (Kogut & Singh, 1988; Shenkar, 2001) and its underlying assumption that cultural differences are a source of difficulties, costs, and risks, which has guided hypotheses formulation and empirical testing in much of the international business and cross-cultural management literatures. In line with this “problem-focused view” of cultural diversity (Stevens, Plaut, & Sanchez-Burks, 2008), problems across a range of international business contexts have been explained in terms of “cultural distance”, “cultural misfit”, “liability of foreignness” and related concepts. This problem-driven research has focused on topics such as foreign market entry, cross-border transfer of knowledge, international negotiations, multicultural teams, and cross-border alliances and mergers. Recognizing this imbalance, a number of scholars have drawn attention to the potentially positive role of cultural differences, advocating studying how cultural diversity, foreignness and distance can create value for global organizations (e.g., Brannen, 2004; Edman, 2009; Mezias, 2002; Stahl et al., 2010; Tung & Verbeke, 2010; Zaheer, Schomaker, & Nachum, 2012). These scholars have argued that the overemphasis on the negative in existing research on culture in international management has hindered our understanding of the processes and conditions that help organizations leverage the benefits of diversity in a wide range of contexts, such as development of strategic capabilities, decisions on foreign direct investment, synergy creation in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, learning through cross-border knowledge-sharing, and unleashing of creative potential in diverse teams.

The goal of this special issue of Cross-Cultural Management: An International Journal is to showcase research that sheds light on the positive dynamics and outcomes associated with cultural differences in a wide range of contexts. We recognize that the traditional, problem-focused perspective on cultural differences does have merits; and that the idea that diversity creates opportunities rather than problems is not a new one. Positive aspects of cultural differences have been studied for decades, and scholars have highlighted a number of potentially beneficial outcomes of diversity, such as increased creativity, adaptability, and problem-solving quality (e.g., Adler, 2003; Ng & Tung, 1998). However, while there are suggestions in the literature that cultural diversity can offer meaningful positive opportunities, the problem-focused view of cultural diversity is by far predominant in research on culture in international business. As such, we know much less about the positive dynamics and outcomes associated with cultural differences than we know about the problems, obstacles and conflicts caused by them. In light of the increased international business activities and transactions across nations, the growing mobility of the workforce across national boundaries, and the emerging intra-national heterogeneity in many countries, the time is ripe to consider the positive aspects associated with cross-cultural contact and the factors that could enhance the likelihood of their occurrence. Consistent with the Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) perspective, we believe that “the rigorous, systematic, and theoretically-based examination of notably positive outcomes and the processes and dynamics that are associated with them” (e.g., Cameron, Dutton, & Quinn, 2003, p. 6) can help scholars understand more fully how such differences can enhance organizational effectiveness and performance at multiple levels. This perspective is also in line with calls to pay greater attention to the potentially positive outcomes of international business activity and to view “foreignness as an asset” (Brannen, 2004, p. 596), to explore the “upside of cultural distance” (Stahl & Tung, 2013), to challenge “the illusion of discordance” (Shenkar, 2001, p. 524), and to dispel “the myth of difference as a handicap … but rather consider it as an opportunity for arbitrage, complementarity or creative diversity” (Zaheer et al., 2012, p. 26).



Topics and Foci


We invite theoretical and empirical papers using quantitative, qualitative or mixed approaches. Papers should theorize why cultural differences, cultural diversity, and cultural distance matter; under what circumstances they are likely to be beneficial for organizations; how their effects play out; and which mechanisms are at work in the process. As aspects of distance, diversity, and foreignness occur at multiple levels, we invite submissions to the special issue investigating micro, meso, macro and cross-level phenomena. Submissions could address a wide range of issues, including but not limited to:


·         Conceptual and empirical papers which analyze how cultural synergies can be created and leveraged in areas such as cross-border alliances and M&A; knowledge transfer and learning across cultural boundaries; culturally diverse teams and organizations; corporate responsibility, sustainability, and ethics across different cultural contexts; expatriation and cultural adjustment; global leadership and leadership development; the role of bicultural or multicultural individuals; and so forth.


·         Single or multiple in-depth case studies which shed new light on the positive dynamics of culture and how individuals, groups, and organizations can leverage the benefits of cultural differences, diversity, and foreignness.


·         Work that focuses on the theoretical and empirical implications of cross-cultural research with a positive lens from comparative, intercultural, and multiple-culture perspectives.


·         Studies which address cross-cultural management education and training. Particularly relevant are papers that present novel and innovative pedagogical approaches, tools, and strategies which help instructors and students understand the potential benefits of cultural differences and how they can be realized. Such contributions could be linked to themes such as intercultural effectiveness, contextual and cultural intelligence, global mindset, etc.


·         Interview pieces with leading cross-cultural management scholars, educators, business leaders, and practitioners that provide in-depth experience and novel knowledge tied to the benefits of cultural differences and diversity.



Submission Guidelines and Deadlines


To be considered for this special issue, manuscripts need to meet the following guidelines: (1) be submitted through the ScholarOne website, (2) be between 6,000 and 9,000 words in length including references and appendices, and (3) follow the manuscript requirements outlined on the journal’s website:
All submissions will undergo a double-blind review process. The submission deadline is December 31st, 2015





Adler, N. J. (2003). International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior (4th ed.) Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing.

Brannen, M. Y. (2004). When Mickey Loses Face: Recontextualization, Semantic Fit, and the Semiotics of Foreignness. The Academy of Management Review, 29(4), 593–616.

Cameron, K. S., Dutton, J. E., & Quinn, R. E. (2003). Positive Organizational Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Edman, J. (2009). The Paradox of Foreignness: Norm-Breaking MNEs in the Japanese Banking Industry. Doctoral Dissertation, Stockholm School of Economics.

Emerson, V. (2001). An Interview with Carlos Ghosn, President of Nissan Motors, Ltd. and Industry Leader of the Year (Automotive News, 2000). Journal of World Business, 36(1): 3–10.

Hofstede, G. H. (1980). Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Kogut, B., & Singh, H. (1988). The Effect of National Culture on the Choice of Entry Mode. Journal of International Business Studies, 19(3), 411–432.

Mezias, J. M. (2002). How to Identify Liabilities of Foreignness and Assess their Effects on Multinational Corporations. Journal of International Management, 8(3), 265–282.

Ng, E. S. W., & Tung, R. L. (1998). Ethno-Cultural Diversity and Organizational Effectiveness: A Field Study. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 9(6), 980–995.

Shenkar, O. (2001). Cultural Distance Revisited: Towards a More Rigorous Conceptualization and Measurement of Cultural Differences. Journal of International Business Studies, 32(3), 519–535.

Stahl, G. K., Mäkelä, K., Zander, L., & Maznevski, M. L. (2010). A Look at the Bright Side of Multicultural Team Diversity. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 26(4), 439–447.

Stahl, G. K. & Tung, R. L. (2013). Negative Biases in the Study of Culture in International Business: The Need for Positive Organizational Scholarship. Academy of Management Conference, Orlando, August 9-13, 2013.

Stahl, G. K., & Tung, R. L. (2014). Towards a More Balanced Treatment of Culture in International Business Studies: The need for Positive Cross-Cultural Scholarship. Journal of International Business Studies.

Stevens, F. G., Plaut, V. C., & Sanchez-Burks, J. (2008). Unlocking the Benefits of Diversity All-Inclusive Multiculturalism and Positive Organizational Change. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 44(1), 116–133.

Tung, R. L., & Verbeke, A. (2010). Beyond Hofstede and GLOBE: Improving the Quality of Cross-Cultural Research. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(8), 1259–1274.

Zaheer, S., Schomaker, M. S., & Nachum, L. (2012). Distance Without Direction: Restoring Credibility to a Much-Loved Construct. Journal of International Business Studies, 43(1), 18–27.



Special Issue Guest Editors


Günter K. Stahl is Professor of International Management at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business. His research interests include leadership, social responsibility, and the socio­cul­tural processes in teams, alliances, and mergers and acquisitions. He has served on the editorial boards of several academic jour­nals and recently was a co-guest editor for special issues of Academy of Managment Learning & Education on “Cross-Cultural Management Education: Exploring Multiple Aims, Approaches, and Impacts”; of Academy of Management Perspectives on “Responsible Leadership; and of the Journal of International Business Studies on “Widening the Lens: Rethinking Distance, Diversity, and Foreignness in International Business Research through Positive Organizational Scholarship”. In addition to being an active researcher, Günter has designed and taught cross-cultural management courses at the Masters, MBA, and Executive MBA levels for universities and business schools around the world.

Christof Miska is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for International Business at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria. His research focuses on leadership and cultural studies as well as sustainability, corporate responsibility, and ethics. His work was published in the Journal of Business Ethics, European Journal of International Management, Thunderbird International Business Review, and Organizational Dynamics. In teaching Christof aims to translate research into high-quality training with a particular focus on experiential learning.

Hyun-Jung Lee is a tenured Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and Employment Relations at the Department of Management of London School of Economics, UK. Born in Seoul, Korea, trained as a psychologist, and obtained PhD at LSE, her research interests are on cosmopolitanism, culture & identity, and micro perspectives of international management and Asian business. She has served on editorial boards of several academic journals, and has published articles in scholarly journals including Academy of Management Learning and Education, Journal of International Management, Journal of Management Studies, and the International Journal of Human Resource Management. She has taught courses in psychology, organizational behavior, and cross-cultural management for the executives and Master’s students over a decade in the UK and Asia.

Mary Sully de Luque is an Associate Professor of Management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Her research interests include the micro and macro influences of culture in organizations, global leadership, organizational effectiveness, CSR, stakeholder decision-making and training. Also, she is academic co-director of Project Artemis, a program that helps women entrepreneurs’ grow their businesses in developing markets. Mary has served on the editorial boards of several academic jour­nals and has published her research in journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, Journal of International Business Studies, and Academy of Management Perspective and is coauthor of the new book “Strategic Leadership across Cultures”. She teaches courses focusing on cross-cultural organizational behavior and global leadership in MS, MBA, Executive MBA programs at Thunderbird and many other universities globally, mostly in emerging economies.




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