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Should management practice adapt to cultural values? The evidence against power distance adaptation
Cross Cultural & Strategic Management (2016)
  • Alaka Rao, San Jose State University
  • Jone L. Pearce, University of California, Irvine

– The purpose of this paper is to focus on the cultural concept of power distance to test whether or not culture-practice fit or universal supervisory practices are associated with team collaboration, innovation, current, and future team performance. This test is possible because power distance is conceptually deconstructed and scales developed that reliably and validly differentiate between the societal-level values and workplace practices. Next, drawing on these measures, the authors test the culture-fit vs universal practices hypotheses in a sample of ethnically similar employees dispersed across the USA and India.


– Data were collected from a survey administered to employees and their supervisors in a non-Western multinational corporation.


– The authors find support for the universal practices perspective in this study. Those Indian and local managers who were low in interpersonal power distance, regardless of their subordinates’ societal power-distance cultural values had better team collaboration, innovation, and future performance. Trust in fellow team members was found to mediate these relationships.


– Findings from this study contribute to the understanding of power distance, and also provide insight into the central question of when and how management practices should be adapted to local cultures.
  • trust,
  • power distance,
  • cultural values
Publication Date
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Citation Information
Alaka Rao and Jone L. Pearce. "Should management practice adapt to cultural values? The evidence against power distance adaptation" Cross Cultural & Strategic Management Vol. 23 Iss. 2 (2016) p. 257 - 286 ISSN: 2059-5794
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