Culture-Free or Culture-Bound? Two Views of Swaying Branches
M. Kenneth Holt

This paper presents a brief overview of the culture-free hypothesis of cross-national organizing and the culture-bound hypothesis of cross-national organizing. The first suggests that culture has no influence the way organizations are structured and is supported with significant research showing organizations within many nations around the world reflect the same relationships between size, specialization, formalization, and decentralization. The culture-bound approach is more intuitively appealing and can also be supported with many reports of how organizations differ in internal organizational features. The approaches are framed with the etic and emic perspectives of observation to show that the positions are not mutually exclusive but are complimentary. A model is posited that unifies the two hypotheses in an effort to provide future research with a framework that can extend current knowledge.

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