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Organizational and network collectivism: a theoretical distinction and interpretation of Sino-Japanese conflict (RV of 2002/11/ABA)

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In this paper the authors propose a distinction among collectivists to capture a fundamental difference in mental models of “collective” that has important organizational implications but has not been specifically identified in prior conceptual and empirical research. Drawing on research in social psychology, comparative management and organization theory addressing Japanese, Chinese and East-West phenomena, the authors develop a distinction between network and organizational forms of collectivism. Organizational collectivists perceive an organization as an exchange partner that contextualizes any interpersonal relationships within its boundaries. In contrast, network collectivists perceive an organization as an arbitrary boundary around a collection of individuals with whom they have strong, weak or no particularistic relationships. White and Nakamura find this distinction to be a useful way to interpret the sources of tension and conflict reported by Japanese and Chinese in Japanese subsidiaries in China, with important managerial implications. While thier qualitative and interpretive study does not allow us to test alternative hypotheses or draw society-level conclusions, it does suggest ways in which organization theory, especially that addressing individualism-collectivism phenomena, could be enriched.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp2002/2002-40.pdf

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