Is culture fixed and immutable, or is it emergent and changing? This is a question that has taken on growing importance in light of the culturally diverse and dynamic workplace realities that have resulted from increasing globalization. It is also a topic that is in hot debate in international cross-cultural management (ICCM) research, in management and organization studies in general, and in other disciplines. This book moves beyond the conventional dichotomous thinking of viewing culture either as fixed and immutable or dynamic and “in the making”, and aims to develop a conceptualization of culture that includes both a stable and a changing element.
This book is based on empirical research on culture emergence in Sino-Western international cross-cultural management (SW-ICCM) contexts in China. Data have been collected by semi-structured interviews of Chinese and Western expatriates working in SW-ICCM contexts in China. Data analysis has led to the formulation of a grounded theory that views culture as comprising three cognitive components, Values, Expectations, and Ad Hoc Rules, which differ in time-space in their mutual shaping with behavior, ranging from the enduring/universal, to the intermediate/context-specific, to the temporal/occasion-specific.