The return of cultural dopes? Cultural explanations and the problem of agency

Winchester, Nik James and Bailey, Nicholas (2012). The return of cultural dopes? Cultural explanations and the problem of agency. In: BAM 2012: Management Research Revisted: Prospects for Theory and Practice, 11-13 Sep 2012, Cardiff, UK.

Abstract

Cultural explanations have become increasingly common in the study of international inter-organisational relations (IOR). Quantitative analyses have shown the impact of culture on both the performance and structuring of IOR practice across national boundaries. In this paper we analyse the adequacy of these models from the perspective of the relationship between agency and structure. We claim that the underlying models possess problematic accounts of agency through an implicit adherence to forms of determinism (running from uni-dimensional determinism to complex mediated multi dimensional determinism). In so doing we raise a series of critical objections on the value of current models. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the parameters of a more adequate account of agency within cultural models.

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