In This Article Cross-Cultural Management

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Reference Resources
  • Journals
  • History and Trends

Management Cross-Cultural Management
David C. Thomas
  • LAST REVIEWED: 10 November 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 September 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0074


Cross-cultural management is the study of management in a cross-cultural context. It includes the study of the influence of societal culture on managers and management practice as well as the study of the cultural orientations of individual managers and organization members. At the individual level the values, cognitive structures, and reactions of individuals to their cultural context and experience figure prominently. Contributing disciplines include cross-cultural psychology, sociology, and anthropology as well as the broader disciplines of management and organizational behavior and the related area of international human resource management. General topic areas include the cultural context in which management must take place, the various roles of the international manager, the influence of culture on organizational structure and processes, and management across nations and cultures.


Until recently there were very few texts devoted solely to cross-cultural management. Instead the topic was often subsumed in texts on international management that included strategic management or added in some form such as text boxes to more mainstream texts in management or organizational behavior. Numerous texts have appeared in the past few years that focus specifically on the cross-cultural context of management. Because of the newness of the field, the content of these volumes is variable but often includes a discussion of culture and its determinants, dimensions of cultural variation, processes of cultural influence on behavior, and then an application of these concepts to managerial roles and activities such as decision making, leadership, negotiation, multicultural teams, and so on. Alternatively, some volumes are organized around managing in particular country or cultural contexts. Among the numerous new entrants, three texts that have broad acceptance are Thomas and Peterson 2014, Lane and Maznevski 2014, and Deresky 2013. Adler 2007 also continues to be popular as a supplement that examines organizational behavior in international settings.

  • Adler, Nancy J., with Allison Gundersen. International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior. 5th ed. Mason, OH: Thomson Learning, 2007.

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    Perhaps the first text (first edition, 1991) to address cross-cultural management, it continues to be popular as a supplement in more traditional organizational behavior and management courses.

  • Deresky, Helen. International Management: Managing across Borders and Cultures, Text and Cases. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2013.

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    Covers political, legal, and technological environments of international management, so not strictly focused on cultural aspects, but with good coverage. Widely used in undergraduate classes.

  • Lane, Henry W., and Martha Maznevski. International Management Behavior: Global and Sustainable Leadership. 7th ed. Chichester, UK: Wiley, 2014.

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    Unlike previous editions, this volume does not contain business cases. In this new edition, the text has been refocused around leadership to appeal to practicing managers. However, it maintains a strong cross-cultural focus.

  • Thomas, David C., and Mark F. Peterson. Cross-Cultural Management. 3d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2014.

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    This text is perhaps the most systematic treatment of management in a cross-cultural context available. The previous edition was the winner of the R. Wayne Pace Human Resource Development Book of the Year for 2008. A companion readings and cases book is also available from SAGE.

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