Exploring cultural heterogeneity: The effect of intra-cultural variation on executives’ latitude of actions in 18 countries

Haj Youssef M.S. and Christodoulou, I. 2018. Exploring cultural heterogeneity: The effect of intra-cultural variation on executives’ latitude of actions in 18 countries. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management. 18 (2), p. 241–263. doi:10.1177/1470595818790611

TitleExploring cultural heterogeneity: The effect of intra-cultural variation on executives’ latitude of actions in 18 countries
TypeJournal article
AuthorsHaj Youssef M.S. and Christodoulou, I.
Abstract

Research on the degree of managerial discretion, or latitude of action, accorded to executives at the national level has primarily focused on the effect of intercultural variation in values on managerial discretion by assuming spatial homogeneity within countries. However, evidence in crosscultural research indicates that cultural heterogeneity within countries can be as salient as or sometimes even more than inter-country variation. Thus, this study examines the extent to which intra-cultural variation affects the degree of discretion accorded to executives. The study tests the
proposed relationships using fixed-effect regression analysis by measuring managerial discretion through survey responses of senior management consultants. It operationalizes intra-cultural variation by the standard deviation in societal members’ behaviour in terms of individualism, uncertainty tolerance and power distance. Results show that a strong relationship exists between intra-cultural variation and managerial discretion and that the direction of the relationship is negative. Executives operating in countries with high heterogeneity are subject to increased constraints from the national environment and, as such, are not able to take idiosyncratic or bold actions. Managerial discretion not only is a function of the central tendency of a society but
depends on the homogeneity/heterogeneity in views innate therein. Using institutional, stakeholder and upper echelons theories, the study shows that greater intra-cultural variation negatively affects the degree of executive discretion. Thus, it provides a more nuanced understanding of such relationship and introduces a new national conceptualization that plays an important role in the strategic decision-making of business executives.

KeywordsCultural heterogeneity, intra-cultural variation, latitude of actions, managerial discretion, national culture
JournalInternational Journal of Cross Cultural Management
Journal citation18 (2), p. 241–263
ISSN1470-5958
Year2018
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscriptChristodoulou - Haj Youssef_IJCCM-Manuscript.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/1470595818790611
Web address (URL)http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1470595818790611
Publication dates
Published03 Aug 2018

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