برای انطباق یا عدم انطباق: اثر تعدیل کننده شباهت درک در مشارکت کسب و کار بین فرهنگی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3565||2012||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 118–129
We study the relationship between adaptation and joint venture satisfaction and the moderating effect of perceived similarity on this relationship. The research setting is the Sino-Western joint ventures in China. Our contention is that levels of perceived similarity may determine a partner's view of the effect of adaptation and such views could vary across cultures. In this study, we find that adaptation is positively associated with satisfaction among Chinese joint venture partners, but negatively associated among Western joint venture partners. However, at high cultural similarity, Chinese managers experience lower satisfaction with increasing adaptation whereas Western managers experience higher satisfaction with increasing adaptation.
When U.S. President Barack Obama met with Japan's emperor Akihito on November 14, 2009, Obama greeted the Emperor with a simultaneous handshake and nearly 90-degree bow. While this gesture is considered appropriate in Japan, Obama's apparent sensitivity to the Japanese culture sparked furious online commentary in the U.S., much of it negative (Associated Press, 2009). This isolated incident questions a seemingly common sense approach in international partnership that is, adapting one's behavior to a different culture (Thomas & Ravlin, 1995). While culturally adaptive behavior is widely promoted for reducing cultural distance and smoothing interactions in the international arena (Child et al., 2005, Harvey et al., 2003 and Pornpitakpan, 2003), there remain unresolved issues concerning its universal effectiveness (Francis, 1991 and Mohr and Puck, 2005). Particularly, the relationship between adaption and joint venture performance may be conceived differently between people of different cultural backgrounds, such that organizations from certain cultural backgrounds may have a stronger or weaker tendency toward adapting to other cultures (Selmer, 2000). For example, Asians are often perceived as more adaptive to multicultural environments (Newburry & Yakova, 2006). In U.S.-Japanese joint ventures, American partners are historically known for insisting on home-grown practices against adjusting to local norms, whereas Japanese partners are branded as keen adapters in international joint ventures (IJVs) (Hamel, 1991). In the Daimler Chrysler merger case, it was also found that German and American management took different approaches toward mutual adaptation due to cultural differences (Pruett, 2003). However, prior research has yet to consider such differences systematically and to critically analyze the reasons behind them. Besides national culture, we suspect that perceived similarity between interacting parties may also have a moderating effect on the link from adaptation to satisfaction. Intuitively, a certain degree of dissimilarity is necessary for adaptation to occur. However, parties’ latitude for dissimilarity may vary such that adaptation is perceived as manageable only at a certain degree of dissimilarity (Witte, 1993). While the similarity–attraction paradigm (Byrne, 1971) considers increased similarity as the reason for adaptation, similarity may not play the same role across groups, for example, between ethnic majorities and minorities (Osbeck, Moghaddam, & Perreault, 1997). There is evidence that “cultural similarity could be as difficult to adjust to as cultural dissimilarity” (Selmer & Lauring, 2009, p. 430), and we suspect that this might have to do with some motivational effects in cross-cultural encounters (Chen, Kirkman, Kim, & Farh, 2010). Since adaptation could represent a demanding and sometimes painful experience, the effort must be justified by a perceptible gain. Our objective is thus twofold. First, we empirically test whether cultural adaptation leads to increased satisfaction for all involved firms. We argue that national culture may exert influence on a party's beliefs, attitudes, and behavioral propensity toward adaptation. Besides differences in national culture dimensions, we also consider the relative positions of the interacting parties. Second, we consider the moderating effect of perceived similarity in the adaptation–satisfaction relationship and how such a moderating effect holds between managers who enter a relationship with cultural and motivational differences. Our research setting is Sino-Western joint ventures in China, a major destination for foreign direct investment which has witnessed extensive interactions between local and Western business partners. China's foreign direct investments increased from $55 billion in 2004 to $138 billion in 2007 (World Bank Indicators, 2009)—most of which are directed into IJVs (US Fed News, 2008). Importantly, the Chinese culture is considered to be vastly different from those of Western countries, making an ideal testing ground for cross-cultural effects such as those proposed in the present study.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
7.1. Summary In the current study, we hypothesized and found evidence for cultural differences concerning adaptation–performance in IJVs. Three cross-cultural perspectives led us to a baseline hypothesis on how Chinese and Western managers would perceive this relationship differently. We then expanded our inquiry by considering a contingency effect, that is, prior-extant degree of similarity between the parties, this is taken as granted in previous research. Initially, we found that the adaptation–performance relationship is positive (marginally significant) for Chinese managers but negative for Western managers. However, when a high level of similarity exists, the above positions reverse: the Chinese Managers’ perception becomes negative whereas the Western managers’ perception becomes positive. To understand the interaction results and gain further insight into the nature of the moderating impact of cultural similarity, we plotted the significant interaction effects obtained in Table 5 (Models 2 and 4). Fig. 1a and b shows the interaction between cultural adaptation and cultural similarity for the Chinese and the Western managers, respectively. Both the figures show a strong moderating impact of cultural similarity on the relationship between adaptation and joint venture satisfaction. Fig. 1a (for Chinese managers) shows that while at low cultural similarity, an increase from low to high adaptation sees an increase in satisfaction, at high cultural similarity, this relationship is reversed: that is, an increase in adaptation sees a decrease in satisfaction, thus, clearly showing the negative moderating effect of cultural similarity for the Chinese managers. In contrast, Fig. 1b (for Western managers) shows that while at low cultural similarity, an increase from low to high adaptation decreases satisfaction, at high cultural similarity, an increase in adaptation increases satisfaction, thus, clearly showing the positive moderating effect of cultural similarity for the Western managers. Our findings have important implications for theory and practice. 7.2. Theoretical implications The current study adds depth to our understanding of the adaptation process as initially framed by the adaptation–similarity–attraction paradigm. To a certain extent, we echo Osbeck et al.’s claim (1997) that similarity may not play the same role in intergroup relations. We proposed and found evidence that the perceived outcomes from adaptation will vary across partners with different cultural perspectives. We also found that the relationship between adaptation and satisfaction is contingent upon the perceived cultural similarity between the interacting parties. Western JV partners, despite their “general” disapproval of adaptation, would embrace adaptation when interacting with someone of similar cognition and behavior. On the other hand, Chinese JV partners, being culturally tolerant of behavioral ambiguity, might be looking for learning opportunities embedded in variety as shown among Japanese management in a comparable setting (Sullivan & Nonaka, 1986). Thus, without considering parties’ pre-interaction distance to each other, the effect of adaptation cannot be definitely determined. Concerning the effect of national culture, one implication from the current study is that it exerts impact often in conjunction with “national context” (Parkhe, 1991). The combined impact of national culture and national context was shown in the moderating effect of the perceived level of similarity among Chinese respondents. In spite of their culturally ingrained disposition toward adaptability, Chinese JV partners’ perception of adaptation–satisfaction association turns from positive to negative because their learning objective would be unfulfilled between partners of similar cognitive and behavioral patterns. With such a finding, the current study lends support for careful attention to national context by researchers whose primary interest is the effect of national culture. Finally, through our argument on tolerance for ambiguity, we allude to the fact that while Hofstede's (1980) dimension on uncertainty avoidance scores most Asian cultures as high on uncertainty avoidance, Asian cultures, in contrast, are traditionally high on tolerance for ambiguity (Fang, 2003, Fletcher and Fang, 2006, Lamposki and Emden, 1996 and Leung, 1992). This tolerance among Asian cultures comes from their long-held beliefs and philosophies, such as the Yin and Yang approach to life, which advocate simultaneous existence of contradicting orientations (Fletcher & Fang, 2006). The apparent disconnect among the Hofstede's (1980) dimensions with that of the actual cultural manifestation in Asian cultures further supports the views held by other scholars that while Hofstede's (1980) dimensions are useful, these are mostly aligned with Western philosophies and are measured based on Western interpretations (Fang, 2003 and Fletcher and Fang, 2006). Thus, there is a need to study the possibility of cultural dimensions that are unique to Chinese and/or a group of Asian countries (Fang, 2003 and Fletcher and Fang, 2006). 7.3. Managerial implications Findings from the current study could assist international managers to more accurately predict adaptive behavior in a partnership. The nationality of each party in the relationship would be an important indicator of that party's inclination toward adaptation. The findings of this study suggest that managers should pay attention to their international partners’ cultural practices when anticipating how they might adapt in a partnership. The partner's ability to adapt to cultural differences is contingent upon the specific contexts in which the partnership operates; that is, managers from certain cultures may view adaptation in an IJV as positive and satisfactory, while others may view adaptation as undesirable. Therefore, managers should be careful in deciding with whom to collaborate and should view their partner's cultural practices closely. Another important implication of this study is that managers should also consider the similarity between the partnering organizations. It is possible that although managers from certain cultures (in our case, Western managers) consider adaptation in a new culture as undesirable, if the managers feel that the two organizations are similar, despite being from two different national cultures, they may be willing to adapt for the sake of mutual gain. It should be noted here that if the two organizations are similar, the managers may need only minimal adaptation. In effect, this means that managers from certain cultures may be happy to adapt only if they know that it will require minimum effort. According to our findings, Western managers may be willing to adapt in a relationship with a British partner, but not with an Asian partner. In contrast, Chinese managers may be ready to adapt in a Sino-Western JV, but may be unenthusiastic about adaptation in JVs with partners from other Asian countries. There is evidence that Chinese firms have a preference for partnerships with Western counterparts over those with Asian backgrounds and that Chinese managers are more likely to take control in JVs with Asian partners than with Western partners. Thus, it is possible that Chinese managers, in contrast to their counterparts from Western countries, are more driven by an opportunity to learn in an IJV. 7.4. Limitations and future research directions The current study has a narrow but deep focus and thus includes only three key constructs, that is, cultural adaptation, perceived similarity, and partner satisfaction. Apparently, our understanding of the adaptation phenomenon will be more complete if future research incorporates all relevant variables in a systemic manner. From a process point of view, such variables should account for antecedents and outcomes of cultural adaptation, including a second state of similarity as the direct outcome of adaptive behavior. In the current study, we treat several countries together as the “Western” group for the purpose of comparison with the Chinese. While this categorization approach is justified in previous research (e.g., Ralston et al., 2008), future studies may look into the variances across Western countries. Future studies should be designed in such a way that data are collected from both parties in the same adaptation process. In the current study, what we know is a party's self satisfaction with its own adaptation effort, but it is also important to know how this adaptation effort is perceived by the other party. Finally, the current study relied on JV managers’ perceptions of their adaption efforts, inter-partner similarity, and satisfaction, but such perceptions could deviate from reality. Additionally, people might respond to questions/scales differently due to certain culturally derived practices and habits. To mitigate such problems, future studies may consider using qualitative methods (e.g., participant observations) to obtain data on actual behavior of the interacting parties.