National Political Culture and its Influence on Management Practices

Although global forces may have watered down the shared value conceptualization of national cultures, such may not have eliminated these cultures on other perspectives. It is argued that national cultures may still hold considerable importance for managerial practices when for instance a political conceptualization is evaluated (Chevrier 2009). When people from different cultural backgrounds subscribe to a common political and administrative framework, then such may be representative of a distinct national culture (Chevrier 2009). This is the case since existence of particular systems may indicate cultural acceptance of these as ways of controlling social life (Chevrier 2009). Systems that do not conform to these “socially” accepted ways of control may thus face rejection (Chevrier 2009).

National political cultures are thus advanced on the basis of meanings rather than values shared in the community (Chevrier 2009). As such people interacting within a given community though may not exactly confer the same meanings to a social phenomenon; may have inherited shared basic templates that are disseminated through myths such as of national founding and system such as laws that try to avert most feared threats (Chevrier 2009). For management activities, such shared frames in the national level mainly concern organizing social life (Chevrier 2009). For instance, in countries where democratic processes are integral to the acceptable ways of social control; similar approaches may be expected to be effective in managing an organization’s workforce (Chevrier 2009). As such countries have established, over a long period of stability, distinct systems that “deal with the tensions [the society] faces and [that] dismiss the fundamental threats it fears most” (Chevrier 2009, p. 172). These then influence processes through which sense is made out of social phenomena (Chevrier 2009).

The national political culture concept thus provides an important tool of evaluating management practices in different countries. For expatriates deployed to manage international subsidiaries, the knowledge of the national political cultures for instance avoids establishment of policies that conflict with society-shaped references to avoid the feared threats (Chevrier 2009). In countries where centralized control is valued as a way of avoiding disorder, dilution of such control could impede organizational performance. Such conceptualization of national cultures offers important information on how managerial approaches can be structured to allow transfer of global practice without compromising basic cultural tenets that exist in a given country which could be vital in ensuring good performance.


Bird, A & Fang, T 2009, ‘Editorial: cross cultural management in the age of globalization’, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 139-143. DOI: 10.1177/1470595809335713.

Chevrier, S 2009, ‘Is national culture still relevant to management in a global context?’ International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 169-184. DOI: 10.1177/1470595809335723

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