The Myth of Universality in Transnational Organizational Science

  • Chimezie A. B. Osigweh


The purpose of this chapter is to examine, from a transnational perspective, the universality myth in applied organizational science. Accordingly, the first section considers the notion of organizational science in a transnational business environment. The second explores the concept of myth and the meaningfulness of any knowledge underpinned by it in organizational science. The third focuses on the myth of universality in organizational science, in general, and transnational organizational science, in particular. The fourth section uses the parochial-ethnocentric management context to illustrate the challenge of the universality myth in transnational organizational science. The fifth presents some of the emerging issues and perspectives reflected by this chapter and detailed by the other chapters in this volume. A summary follows as the final section of the chapter. Throughout, the discussion points to, or focuses on, important research and practice issues, perspectives, and implications for management in the international, cross-cultural, multicultural world of organizations.


Organizational Behavior Harvard Business Review Asia Pacific Journal International Business Study Comparative Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adler, N. J. (1983c). Cross-cultural management research: The ostrich and the trend. Academy of Management Review, 8(2), 226–232.Google Scholar
  2. Adler, N. J. (1984). Understanding the ways of understanding: Cross-cultural management methodology reviewed, In R. N. Farmer (Ed.), Advances in international comparative management: A research annual (Vol. 1, pp. 31–67). Greenwich, CT: JAI PressGoogle Scholar
  3. Adler, N. J. (1986). International dimensions of organizational behavior. Boston: Kent Publishing.Google Scholar
  4. Adler, N.J., & Jalinek, M. (1986, Spring). Is “organizational culture” culture bound? Human Resource Management, 25(1), 73–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnard, C. I. (1938). The functions of the executive. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Barnet, R.J., & Müller, R. E. (1974). Global reach: The power of the multinational corporations. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  7. Barrett, G. V., & Bass, B. M. (1976). Cross-cultural issues in industrial and organizational psychology. In M. D. Dunnette (Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 1639–1686). New York: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  8. Becker, E. (1971). The birth and death of meaning (2nd ed.). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bennett, M. (1977). Testing management theories cross-culturally. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62(5), 578–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Benson, J. K. (1983). Paradigm and praxis in organizational behavior. In L. L. Cummings & B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (Vol. 5, pp. 3–56). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  11. Berry, J. W. (1969). On cross-cultural comparability. International Journal of Psychology, 4, 119–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Blunt, P. (1983). Organizational theory and behaviour. New York: Longman Group, Ltd.Google Scholar
  13. Boddewyn, J. (1966). Comparative concepts in management administration and organization. Mimeo, New York Graduate School of Business Administration.Google Scholar
  14. Breeze J. D. (1985). Harvest from the archives: The search for Fayol and Carlioz. Journal of Management, 11(1), 43–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brislin, R. W., Lonner, W. J., & Thorndike, R. M. (1973). Cross-cultural research methods. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  16. Brossard, M., & Maurice, M. (1976). Is there a universal model of organization structure? International Studies of Management and Organization, 6(3), 11–45.Google Scholar
  17. Carroll, S. J., & Gillen, D. J. (1987, January). Are the classical management functions useful in describing managerial work? Academy of Management Review, 12(1), 38–51.Google Scholar
  18. Child, J. (1981). Culture, contingency and capitalism in the cross-national study of organizations. In L. L. Cummings & B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior, (Vol. III, pp. 303–356). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  19. Culbert, S. A., & McDonough, J. J. (1980). The invisible war: Pursuing self-interests at work. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  20. Cummings, L. L. (1983, October). The logics of management. Academy of Management Review, 8(4), 532–538.Google Scholar
  21. Davis, R. C. (1928). The principles of factory organization and management. New York: Harper & Brothers.Google Scholar
  22. Davis, R. C. (1935). The principles of business organization and operation. Columbus, OH: L. H. Hedrick.Google Scholar
  23. Davis, R. C. (1951). The fundamentals of top management. New York: Harper & Brothers.Google Scholar
  24. Davis, S. M. (1971). Comparative management: Cultural and organizational perspectives. En-glewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  25. Dowling, J. B. (1978). Organizational legitimacy: The management of meaning. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Palo Alto, Stanford University.Google Scholar
  26. Eitman, D. K. & Stonehill, A. I. (1979). Multinational business finance. Reading, MA: Ad-dison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  27. Elliott, O. (1959). Men at the top. New York: Harper & Brothers.Google Scholar
  28. England, G. W. (1975). The manager and his values: An international perspective from the USA, Japan, Korea, India and Australia. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.Google Scholar
  29. England, G. W. (1983, Fall). Japanese and American management: Theory Z and beyond. Journal of International Business Studies, 14(2), 131–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Epstein, S. (1979). The ecological study of emotions in humans. In P. Pliner, K. R. Blankenstein, & I. M. Spigel (Eds.), Advances in the study of communication and affect: Vol. 5. Perception of emotions in self and others (pp. 47–247). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Farmer, R. N. (1968). New directions in management information transfer. Bloomington: Cedar-wood Press.Google Scholar
  32. Farmer, R. N., & Richman, B. M. (1964, Winter). A model for research in comparative management. California Management Review, VII(2), 55–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Farmer, R. N., & Richman, B. M. (1965). Comparative management and economic progress. Homewood, IL: Irwin.Google Scholar
  34. Fayol, H. (1916/1949). General and industrial management (Constance Storrs, Trans.). London: Pitman.Google Scholar
  35. Fayol, H. (1937). The administrative theory of state. (Sarah Greer, Trans.). In L. Gullick & L. Urwick (Eds.), Papers on the science of administration. New York: Institute of Public Administration, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  36. Frost, P. J. (1985, Summer). Special issue on organizational symbolism: Introduction. Journal of Management, 11(2), 5–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. George, C. S. (1972). The history of management thought. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  38. Gonzalez, R. F., & McMillan, C. (1961). The universality of American management philosophy. Academy of Management Journal, 4(1), 33–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gray, B., Bougon, M. G., & Donnellon, A. (1985, Summer). Organizations as constructions and destructions of meaning. Journal of Management, 11(2), 83–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gulick, L. H. (1937). Notes on the theory of organization. In L. H. Gulick & L. F. Urwick (Eds.), Papers on the science of administration. New York: Institute of Public Administration, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  41. Guth, W. D., & Tagiuri, R. (1965, September-October). Personal values and corporate strategy. Harvard Business Review, 123-132.Google Scholar
  42. Haire, M., Ghiselli, D. E., & Porter, L. W. (1966). Managerial thinking: An international study. New York: Wüey.Google Scholar
  43. Harbison, F., & Meyers, C. (1959). Management in the industrial world. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  44. Hemphill, J. K. (1959). Job descriptions for executives. Harvard Business Review, 37(3), 55–67.Google Scholar
  45. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  46. Hofstede, G. (1983, Fall). The cultural relativity of organizational practices and theories. Journal of International Business Studies, 14(2), 75–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hofstede, G. (1984). The cultural relativity of the quality of life concept. Academy of Management Review, 9(3), 389–398.Google Scholar
  48. International Monetary Fund. (1982). International financial statistics yearbook. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  49. Kets de Vries, M. F. R., & Miller, D. (1986, April). Personality, culture, and organization. Academy of Management Review, 11(2), 266–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kobrin, S. J. (1984). International expertise in American business: How to learn to play with the kids on the street. I. I. E. Report Number 6. New York: Institute of International Education.Google Scholar
  51. Koontz, H., & O’Donnell, C. (1955). Principles of management. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  52. Kumar, K. (1979). Bonds without bondage: Explorations in transnational cultural interactions. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii.Google Scholar
  53. Lammers, C. J. (1976). Towards the internationalization of the organizational sciences. In G. Hofstede & M. S. Kassem (Eds.), European contributions to organization theory. Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum.Google Scholar
  54. Lau, A. W., Newman, A. R., & Broedling, L. A. (1980). The nature of managerial work in the public sector. Public Management Forum, 19, 513–521.Google Scholar
  55. Laurent, A. (1983). The cultural diversity of Western management conceptions. International Studies of Management and Organization, XIII(1–2), 75–76.Google Scholar
  56. Locke, E. A. (1976). The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In M. D. Dunnette (Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 1297–1349). Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  57. Mahoney, T. A., Jerdee, T. H., & Carroll, S. J. (1965). The jobs of management. Industrial Relations, 4, 97–110.Google Scholar
  58. Maruyama, M. (1961, First Quarter). The multilateral mutual causal relationships among the modes of communication, sociometric pattern and the intellectual orientation in the Danish culture. Phylon: The Atlanta Review or Race and Culture, 41-58.Google Scholar
  59. Maruyama, M. (1984). Alternative concepts of management: Insights from Asia and Africa. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 1(2), 100–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Mendenhall, M. E., & Oddou, G. (1986, September). The cognitive, psychological and social contexts of Japanese management. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 4(1), 24–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Miller, S. W., & Simonetti, J. L. (1974). Culture and management: Some conceptual considerations. Management International Review, VII(6), 87–101.Google Scholar
  62. Miner, J. B. (1982). Theories of organizational structure and process. Chicago: Dryden Press.Google Scholar
  63. Miner, J. B. (1984). The validity and usefulness of theories in an emerging organizational science. Academy of Management Review, 9(2), 296–306.Google Scholar
  64. Mintzberg, H. (1975, July-August). The manager’s job: Folklore and fact. Harvard Business Review, 49-61.Google Scholar
  65. Mitroff, I. (1983). Stakeholders of the organizational mind. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  66. Mooney, J. D., & Reiley, A. C. (1931). Onward industry!: The principles of organization and their significance to modern industry. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  67. Morse, E. L. (1971, Summer). Transnational economic processes. International Organization, XXV(3), 23–47.Google Scholar
  68. Narain, D. (1967, March). Indian national character in the twentieth century. Annals, 124-132.Google Scholar
  69. Negandhi, A. R. (1975, June). Comparative management and organization theory: A marriage needed. Academy of Management Journal, 334-344.Google Scholar
  70. Negandhi, A. R. (1983). Cross-cultural management research: Trend and future directions. Journal of International Business Studies, 14(2), 17–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Neghandhi, A. R., & Estafen, B. D. (1965). A research model to determine the applicability of American management know-how in different cultures and/or environments. Academy of Management Journal, 8, 309–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Negandhi, A. R., & Prasad, S. B. (1971). Comparative management. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  73. Newman, W. H. (1951). Administrative action: The techniques of organization and management. New York: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  74. Nye, J. S., & Keohane, R. O. (1971). Transnational relations and world politics: An introduction. In R. O. Keohane & J. S. Nye, Jr. (Eds.), Transnational relations and world politics (pp. ix–xxix). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Oberg, W. (1963). Cross-cultural perspective on management principles. Academy of Management Journal, 6(2), 129–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Osigweh, C. A. B. (1983). Improving problem-solving participation: The case of local transnational voluntary organizations. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  77. Osigweh, C. A. B. (1985a, December). International business and the growth model. Journal of Economic Development, 10(2), 123–142.Google Scholar
  78. Osigweh, C. A. B. (1985b). Professional management: An evolutionary perspective. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Division of W. C. Brown Co.Google Scholar
  79. Osigweh, C. A. B. (1987). Management as if rights mattered: The challenge of employee rights and management responsibilities. Working paper, Norfolk, VA: Norfolk State University School of Business. Presented to the First Industrial Congress of the Americas, Quebec, Canada, August 21–27, 1988.Google Scholar
  80. Osigweh, C. A. B. (1988). The challenge of responsibilities: Confronting the revolution in workplace rights in modern organizations. The Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 1(1), 5–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Ouchi, W. G. (1981). Theory Z: How American business can meet the Japanese challenge. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  82. Peters, T. J., & Waterman, R. H. (1982). In search of excellence: Lessons from America’s best run companies. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  83. Pfeffer, J. (1982). Organizations and organization theory. Marshfield, MA: Pitman.Google Scholar
  84. Pondy, L. R. (1978). Leadership is a language game. In M. W. McCall & M. M. Lombardo (Eds.), Leadership: Where else can we go? (pp. 87–99). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  85. Ricks, D. A. (1983). Big business blunders. Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin.Google Scholar
  86. Roberts, K. (1970). On looking at an elephant: An evaluation of cross-cultural research related to organizations. Psychological Bulletin, 74(5), 327–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Rosenberg, A. (1967, November). International interaction and the taxonomy of international organization. International Associations, 19(11), 721–729.Google Scholar
  88. Ryterband, E. C., & Barrett, G. V. (1970). Managers’ values and their relationships to the management of tasks: A cross-cultural comparison. In B. M. Bass, R. C. Cooper, & J. A. Hass (Eds.), Managing for accomplishment. Lexington, MA.: D. C. Heath.Google Scholar
  89. Samiee, S. (1984). Transnational data flow constraints: A new challenge for multinational corporations. Journal of International Business Studies, XV(1), 141–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Schein, E. H. (1985). Organizational culture and leadership: A dynamic view. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  91. Schöllhammer, H. (1969). The comparative management theory jungle. Academy of Management Journal (March), 81-97.Google Scholar
  92. Schwartz, H. S. (1985, Spring). The usefulness of myth and the myth of usefulness: A dilemma for the applied organizational scientist. Journal of Management, 11(1), 31–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Scott, W. G. (1982). Barnard on the nature of elitist responsibility. Public Administration Review (May/June), 197-201.Google Scholar
  94. Scott, W. G. (1985, August). Organizational revolution: An end to managerial orthodoxy. Administration and Society, 17(2), 149–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Scott, W. G., & Mitchell, T. R. (1986, Autumn). Markets and morals in management education. Selections: The Magazine of the Graduate Management Admission Council, III(2), 3–8.Google Scholar
  96. Sekaran, U. (1981). Are U. S. organizational concepts and measures transferable to another culture? An empirical investigation. Academy of Management Journal, 24(2), 409–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Sethi, S. P. Namiki, N., & Swanson, C. L. (1984). The false promise of the Japanese miracle: Illusions and realities of the Japanese management system. Marshfield, MA: Pitman.Google Scholar
  98. Skjelsbaek, K. (1971, Summer). The growth of international nongovernmental organizations in the twentieth century. International Organization, XXV(3), 70–92.Google Scholar
  99. Smircich, L. (1983). Organizations as shared meaning. In L. R. Pondy, P. Frost, G. Morgan, & T. Dandridge (Eds.), Organizational symbolism (pp. 160–172). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  100. Smircich L., & Morgan, G. (1982). Leadership: The management of meaning. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 18(3), 257–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Steele, F. (1976). Is organizational development work possible in the UK culture? Journal of European Training, 5(3), 105–110.Google Scholar
  102. Terry, G. R. (1953). Principles of management. Homewood, IL: Irwin.Google Scholar
  103. Triandis, H. (1968). Factors affecting employee selection in two cultures. Journal of Applied Psychology, 47(2), 89–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Triandis, H. (1972). The analysis of subjective culture. New York: Wiley-Interscience.Google Scholar
  105. Triandis, H. C., Malpas, R. S., & Davidson, A. R. (1973). Psychology and culture. Annual Review of Psychology, 24, 355–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Urwick, L. F. (1952). Notes on the theory of organization. New York: American Management Association.Google Scholar
  107. U.S. Department of Commerce. (1977, February). Survey of current business. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  108. U.S. Department of Commerce. (1977, August). Survey of current business. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  109. U.S. Department of Commerce. (1979, August). Survey of current business (Table 3, p. 56). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  110. U.S. Department of Commerce. (1984, October). Survey of current business, (p. 38). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  111. Vickers, S. G. (1965). The art of judgement. London: Chapman and Hall.Google Scholar
  112. Wren, D. A. (1979). The evolution of management thought. New York: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  113. Zaleznik, A., & Kets de Vries, M. F. R. (1980). Power and the corporate mind. Boston: Bonus Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chimezie A. B. Osigweh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Management, School of BusinessNorfolk State UniversityNorfolkUSA

Personalised recommendations