convergence, divergence and crossvergence theories – Similarities and Differences with Other Cross-Cultural Management Frameworks

The theoretical framework addressed by convergence, divergence and crossvergence theories has a number of similarities and differences with other cross-cultural management frameworks. In terms of similarities, divergence echoes the aspects of cultural ecology, which argues for cultural containment that makes them idiosyncratic structures of society (Bird & Fang 2009). Accordingly, such a perspective also reinforces aspects advanced of existence of distinct national cultures, either as envisaged by researchers such as Hofstede and Trompenaars (Nardon & Steers 2009), or a more latter perspective advanced on the nature of institutions found in a particular country (Chevrier 2009). On the other hand, convergence is analogous to cultural learning processes that open cultures leading to a common, non-idiosyncratic values system (Bird & Fang 2009).

On the differentiating end, crossvergence offers the best example. Although it involves some aspect of cultural learning, crossvergence does not imply moving towards a common synchronised culture (Ralston 2008). In the crossvergence perspective, culture evolution could take two directions. Firstly, the value evolution could result into an increasing gap between the original cultures’ value system (Ralston 2008). Secondly, an initial phase towards convergence could arise as one culture learns more of a value while the other unlearns more of the same value, but diverge after the intersection if the evolution progresses (Ralston 2008). Due to its incorporation of both sociocultural and business ideology influences on cultural value formation, the crossvergence perspective would be better placed to address integration issues for headquarters and its subsidiaries.


The extent of integration between the headquarter and its foreign subsidiaries is affected largely by culturally-defined values. This paper evaluates the convergence, divergence and crossvergence framework and compares it to other cross-cultural management frameworks. The crossvergence framework evidences the complex relationships existing in headquarter-subsidiary integration, providing examples of at least three scenarios that govern such relationships. Similarities exist in respect to convergence and divergence theories, but crossvergence theory offers various contrasting aspects with other frameworks, providing important information that would guide management practices in foreign subsidiaries.


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Ralston, DA 2008, ‘The crossvergence perspective: reflections and projections’, Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 27-40.

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