International Management, Should We Abandon the Myth of Cultural Hybridity? A Re-examination of the Contribution of Postcolonial and Decolonial Approaches

  • Hèla Yousfi Associate Professor, Université Paris-Dauphine - PSL Research University, CNRS, UMR 7088, DRM, 75016 PARIS, France


The postcolonial and decolonial approaches open the way for a rich analysis of the material and cultural conditions in which international management operates, is spread, interpreted, and implemented. They also offer food for thought on the possibilities, tensions, and resistance associated with reinventing alternative organizations more respectful of the dignity of all, while still providing knowledge that is socially and politically useful for oppressed and marginalized groups. Nevertheless, and despite their undeniable contribution to the theoretical development of critical approaches in international management, these perspectives are faced with challenges and difficulties in both intellectual and empirical terms. In this article, I suggest a series of ways forward, which might allow for the renewal of the critical fruitfulness of this intellectual and political project, crucial to face the contemporary challenges of international management.


Download data is not yet available.


Ajari, N. (2019). La Dignité ou la mort: Éthique et politique de la race. La Découverte.

Alcadipani, R. & Faria, A. (2014). Fighting Latin American marginality in international business. Critical Perspectives on International Business, 10(1–2), 107–117. doi: 10.1108/cpoib-11-2013-0047

Alcadipani, R., Khan, F. R., Gantman, E. & Nkomo, S. (2012). Southern voices in management and organization knowledge. Organization, 12(2), 131–143. doi: 10.1177/1350508411431910

Alcadipani, R. & Reis Rosa, A. (2011). From grobal management to glocal management: Latin American perspectives as a counter-dominant management epistemology. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 28(4), 453–466. doi: 10.1002/cjas.165

Amin, S. (1976). Unequal development: An essay on the social formations of peripheral capitalism. Harvester Press.

Arrighi, G. (1978). The geometry of imperialism: The limits of Hobson’s paradigm. NLB.

Banerjee, S. B. & Prasad, A. (2008). Introduction to the special issue on “Critical reflections on management and organizations: A postcolonial perspective.” Critical Perspectives on International Business, 4(2/3), 90–98. doi: 10.1108/17422040810869963

Bauman, Z. (1973). Culture as praxis. Routledge.

Bhabha, H. (1984). Of mimicry and man: The ambivalence of colonial discourse. October, 28, 125–133. doi: 10.2307/778467

Bhabha, H. (1994). The location of culture. Routledge.

Bhabha, H. (1996). Culture’s in-between. In S. Hall & P. du Gay (Eds.), Questions of cultural identity (pp. 53–60). Sage.

Bloch, M. (1939). La société féodale. Albin Michel, (1968 [1939]).

Boidin, C. (2009). Études décoloniales et postcoloniales dans les débats français. Cahiers des Amériques Latines, 62, 129–140. doi: 10.4000/cal.1620

Boulbina, S. L. (2008). Le singe de Kafka et autres propos sur la colonie. Sens Public.

Chakrabarty, D. (2008). Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton University Press.

Cooke, B. (2004). The managing of the (third) world. Organization, 11(5), 603–629. doi: 10.1177/1350508404044063

Czarniawska, B. & Sevón, G. (Eds.) (1996). Translating organizational change. De Gruyter.

Dar, S. (2018). De-colonizing the boundary-object. Organization Studies, 39(4), 565–584. doi: 10.1177/0170840617708003

D’Iribarne, P. (2003). Trois figures de la liberté. Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 58(5), 953–978. doi: 10.1017/S0395264900018084

D’Iribarne, P. (2009). Conceptualising national cultures: An anthropological perspective. European Journal of International Management, 3(2), 6. doi: 10.1504/EJIM.2009.024320

Djelic, M-L. (1998). Exporting the American model: The post-war transformation of European business. Oxford University Press.

Doorewaard, H. & Van Bijsterveld, M. (2001). The Osmosis of ideas: An analysis of the integrated approach to IT management from a translation theory perspective. Organization, 8(1), 55–76. doi: 10.1177/135050840181004

Dupuis, J-P., Davel, E. & Chanlat, J-F. (2007). Culture and development, the continuing tension between modern standards and local contexts, Culture, Institutions and development, New insights Into an Old debate (pp. 20–64). Routledge.

Dussel, E. (2009). Pour un dialogue mondial entre traditions philosophiques. Cahiers des Amériques Latines, 62(2009/3), 111–127. doi: 10.4000/cal.1619

Escobar, A. (1995). Encountering development: The making and unmaking of the third world. Princeton University Press.

Farmer, R. N. & Richman. B. N. (1965). Comparative management and economic progress. Homewood.

Ferguson, J. (1990). The anti-politics machine: Development, depoliticization, and bureaucratic power in Lesotho. CUP Archive.

Frenkel, M. (2005). The politics of translation: How state-level political relations affect the cross-national travel of management ideas. Organization, 12(2), 275–301. doi: 10.1177/1350508405051191

Frenkel, M. (2006). From binarism back to hybridity: A postcolonial reading of management and organization studies. Organization Studies, 27(6), 855–876. doi: 10.1177/0170840606064086

Frenkel, M. (2008). The multinational corporation as a third space: Rethinking international management discourse on knowledge transfer through Homi Bhabha. Academy of Management Review, 33(4), 924–942. doi: 10.5465/amr.2008.34422002

Frenkel, M. & Shenhav, Y. (2003). From Americanization to colonization: The diffusion of productivity models revisited. Organization Studies, 24(9), 1537–1561. doi: 10.1177/0170840603249006

Gantman, E. R. & Parker, M. (2006). Comprador management?: Organizing management knowledge in Argentina (1975–2003). Critical Perspectives on International Business, 2(1), 25–40. doi: 10.1108/17422040610644144

Gantman, E. R., Yousfi, H. & Alcadipani, R. (2015). Challenging Anglo-Saxon dominance in management and organizational knowledge. Revista de Administração de Empresas, 55(2), 6. doi: 10.1590/S0034-759020150202

Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. Basic Books.

Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. University of California Press.

Grosfoguel, R. (2010). Vers une décolonisation des « uni-versalismes » occidentaux : le « pluri-versalisme décolonial », d’Aimé Césaire aux zapatistes. In A. Mbembe (Ed.), Ruptures postcoloniales: Les nouveaux visages de la société française (pp. 119–138). La Découverte.

Guillaumont, P. (1985). Economie du développement: Dynamique interne du développement (Vol. 2). Presses Universitaires de France-PUF.

Hall, S. (1992). The West and the rest: Discourse and power. In T. D. Gupta, C. E. James, C. Andersen, G-E. Galabuzi & R. C. A. Maaka (Eds.), Race and racialization (2nd ed., pp. 85–95). Canadian Scholars.

Harbison, F. & Myers, C. A. (1959). Management in the industrial world: An international analysis. McGraw-Hill.

Ibarra-Colado, E. (2006). Organization studies and epistemic coloniality in Latin America: Thinking otherness from the margins. Organization, 13(4), 463–488. doi: 10.1177/1350508406065851

Ibn Khaldûn, A. (1967). Discours sur l’histoire universelle (al-Muqaddima). Annales, 25(3), 754–755.

Islam, G. (2012). Can the subaltern eat? Anthropophagic culture as a Brazilian lens on post-colonial theory. Organization, 19(2), 159–180. doi: 10.1177/1350508411429396

Jack, G. (2015). Advancing postcolonial approaches in critical diversity studies. In R. Bendl, I. Bleijenbergh, E. Henttonen & A. J. Mills (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of diversity in organizations (pp. 153–174). Oxford University Press.

Jack, G. & Westwood, R. (2009). International and cross-cultural management studies: A postcolonial reading. Springer. doi: 10.1057/9780230248441

Jackson, T. (2002). The management of people across cultures: Valuing people differently. Human Resource Management, 41(4), 455–475. doi: 10.1002/hrm.10054

Kaasila-Pakanen, A-L. (2015). A postcolonial deconstruction of diversity management and multiculturalism. In R. Bendl, I. Bleijenbergh, E. Henttonen & A. J. Mills (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of diversity in organizations (pp. 175–194). Oxford University Press.

Kipping, M., Engwall, L. & Üsdiken, B. (2008). Preface: The transfer of management knowledge to peripheral countries. International Studies of Management and Organization, 38(4), 3–16. doi: 10.2753/IMO0020-8825380400

Kostova, T. & Roth, K. (2002). Adoption of an organizational practice by subsidiaries of multinational corporations: Institutional and relational effects. Academy of Management Journal, 45(1), 215–233. doi: 10.2307/3069293

Lewis, W. A. (1954). Economic development with unlimited supplies of labour. The Manchester School, 22(2), 139–191. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9957.1954.tb00021.x

Lo, J., Khoo, T. & Gilbert, H. (2000). New formations in Asian-Australian cultural politics. Journal of Australian Studies, 24(65), 1–12. doi: 10.1080/14443050009387580

Marie-Claude, S. (2007). La situation postcoloniale: les études postcoloniales dans le débat français. Presses de la Fondation nationale des sciences politiques.

Mauss, M. (1968) [1950]. Sociologie et anthropologie. PUF.

McClelland, D. C. (1964). Business drive and national achievement. In A. Etzioni & E. Etizioni (Eds.), Social change (pp. 165–178). Basic Books.

Mignolo, W. D. (2000/2012). Local histories/global designs: Coloniality, subaltern knowledges, and border thinking. Princeton University Press.

Mir, A. (2003). The hegemonic discourse of management texts. Journal of Management Education, 27(6), 734–738. doi: 10.1177/1052562903257944

Montesquieu, C. D. S. (1748). De l’esprit des lois. Firmin Didot frères.

Nkomo, S. M. (2011). A postcolonial and anti-colonial reading of “African” leadership and management in organization studies: Tensions, contradictions and possibilities. Organization, 18(3), 365–386. doi: 10.1177/1350508411398731

Parry, B. (1994). Signs of our times: Discussion of Homi Bhabha’s the location of culture. Third Text, 8(28–29), 5–24. doi: 10.1080/09528829408576499

Parsons, T. (1967). Structure of social action. Free Press.

Prasad, A. (Ed.). (2003). Postcolonial theory and organizational analysis: A critical engagement. Palgrave.

Said, E. W. (1979). Orientalism. Vintage.

Seremani, T. W. & Clegg, S. (2016). Postcolonialism, organization, and management theory: The role of “epistemological third spaces.” Journal of Management Inquiry, 25(2), 171–183. doi: 10.1177/1056492615589973

Tayeb, M. (2001). Conducting research across cultures: Overcoming drawbacks and obstacles. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 1(1), 91–108. doi: 10.1177/147059580111009

Wallerstein, I. (1976). The capitalist world economy: Essays. Cambridge University Press.

Weber, M. (1905). The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. Scirbner Press.

Werbner, P. (2001). The limits of cultural hybridity: On ritual monsters, poetic licence and contested postcolonial purifications. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 7(1), 133–152.

Westwood, R. I. & Jack, G. (2007). Manifesto for a post-colonial international business and management studies: A provocation. Critical Perspectives on International Business, 3(3), 56–83.

Yousfi H. (2010). Culture and development: the continuing tension between modern standards and local contexts. In J. P. Platteau & R. Peccoud (Eds.). Culture, Institutions and development, New insights Into an Old debate (p. 57). Routledge.

Yousfi, H. (2014). Rethinking hybridity in postcolonial contexts: What changes and what persists? The Tunisian case of Poulina’s managers. Organization Studies, 35(3), 393–421.

Zeitlin, J. & Herrigel, G. (2000). Americanization and its limits: Reworking US technology and management in post-war Europe and Japan. Work Employment and Society, 43(2), 588–589.

How to Cite
Yousfi H. (2021). International Management, Should We Abandon the Myth of Cultural Hybridity? A Re-examination of the Contribution of Postcolonial and Decolonial Approaches. M@n@gement, 24(1), 80-89.