Refining, reinforcing and reimagining universal and indigenous theory development in international management

Gavin Alexander Jack, Yunxia Zhu, Jay Barney, Mary Yoko Brannen, Craig Prichard, Kulwant Singh, David Whetten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


This article addresses a long-established yet still contentious question in international management scholarship - is it possible and desirable to create a universal theory of management and organization? Scholarship about the boundary conditions of endogenous theory and the need for indigenous theories of management as well as geopolitical changes in the world order have animated this debate. Five leading scholars discussed this topic at a symposium held at the 2009 Academy of Management meeting. This article presents an analysis of their viewpoints. Three key perspectives were identified in the debate: the refining perspective, the reinforcing perspective, and the reimagining perspective. Using excerpts from the symposium transcript, we outline, compare, and critically evaluate the characteristics and significance of each perspective to advancing theory development. The distinctive contribution of this article lies in its meta-theoretical debate about the relationship between theory, context, and power in the production of global management knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148 - 164
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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