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Core-Periphery Relations and Organization Studies draws together postcolonial and indigenous thinking through the conceptual lens of core-periphery relations to advance debate in organization studies. A particular aim of this book is to broaden, deepen and critically reassert a postcolonial imagination in this domain.



1. Situating Core-Peripheral Knowledge in Management and Organisation Studies

Since its emergence in the early 1900s, the discipline of management and organisation studies (MOS) has predominantly relied upon a Euro-American epistemology, presenting managerial and organisational forms developed in the West, or Global North, as exemplars on a path towards modernity for the rest of the world to follow (Calas & Smircich, 1999; Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006; Westwood, 2001). With few (but growing) exceptions, scholars in MOS have adopted this Euro-American outlook in both the centre and the periphery of the system of global management knowledge (Tsui, 2004). In this book, we intend to flip this outlook in order to explore what management and organisation might look like from a peripheral perspective, and how the periphery might write back to the centre of the discipline of MOS. How different would the world of management and organisational theory and practice become when studied from the periphery?
Robert Westwood, Gavin Jack, Farzad Rafi Khan, Michal Frenkel

2. Can the Periphery Write Back? Periphery-to-Centre Knowledge Flows in Multinationals Based in Developing and Emerging Economies

In their book The Empire Writes Back, Ashcroft et al. (1989) remind us that the after-effects of colonialism are not limited to the colonies; they also flow back to reshape the imperial metropole as well. In management and organisation studies, scholars have shown that the bureaucratic experience in the colonies (e.g., Frenkel & Shenhav, 2006) and the experience acquired in the management of slaves in southern plantations (Cooke, 2003a), for instance, actually contributed to shaping the ‘Western’ (or Northern) canon of management theory. In this constellation, the subaltern’s impact on the coloniser is always bottom up, and is always mediated through the active role taken by the coloniser in developing new types of knowledge that are grounded in his encounter with the ‘Other’.
Michal Frenkel

3. De-centring Management and Organisation Studies: On the Eccentricity of US-Based Management and Organisation Theory and Practice

Centre-periphery relations are, as we made clear in the introduction, an ideological construction; indeed, boundaries of all forms are a human construction. The construction of boundaries has been a feature of human organisation since the bounding of land and the construction of the fence (Kotchemidova, 2012). The carving up and enclosure of land was central to the machinations of the industrial revolution and to colonisation. Beyond the appropriation and enclosure of land, a further geopolitical effect of colonialism was the inscription of ‘nation’ across the globe. The nation-state emerged in tandem with the rise of capitalism and imperialism and the demise of feudalism in Europe (Wallerstein, 1974, 1995). It was a social construction, an ‘imagined community’ (Anderson, 1991), displacing prior forms of structured collective relationships. The ideological construction and the myth of the nation-state and nationhood was greatly facilitated by European nations placing themselves at the centre of a new world formation and defining themselves ‘specifically in opposition to the difference which that “other” represented’ (Ashcroft et al., 2000, p. 15). That ‘other’ was the rest of the world outside the European centre that it engaged with in a colonialist and imperialistic manner.
Robert Westwood

4. Recontextualising the New Institutional Conception of the State to the Turkish Case

The centre of global management knowledge, that is, the North Atlantic countries, usually generates context-specific knowledge which aims at understanding local phenomena with inductive research, and, therefore, may not involve explicit contextualisation because the context is taken for granted by the researcher (Tsui, 2004, p. 498). Through the mechanisms of intellectual imperialism and academic dependency (Alatas, 2000; Alatas, 2003; Altbach, 1987; Selvaratnam, 1988), scholars in peripheral and semi-peripheral countries generally employ theories developed by the centre in this way in investigating organisational phenomena in their own contexts without recontextualising them (Kipping et al., 2009). The result is the generation of knowledge that neither helps understanding organisational facts embedded within the native contexts nor contributes to the conceptual development of global organisational knowledge. What is needed, according to Tsui (2004), is more context-specific, or indigenous, research that involves the highest level of contextualisation by going beyond the bounds of existing theories. However, this does not mean that management scholars outside the central countries should close their minds to genuine knowledge from any part of the world. Alatas (2000, p. 27) suggests that scholars at the periphery should assimilate as much as possible from all sources, from all parts of the world, but they need to do this with an independent critical spirit.
Şükrü Özen

5. The Historical Trajectory of a Peripheral National Business System

The recent global financial crisis has revealed that the application of ahistorical and grossly generalised lessons and methods from studies on core National Business Systems (NBS) to understand countries on the European periphery does not generate explanations about the ‘leaping’ back and forth of systems from the periphery to the semi-periphery. Research on peripheral countries is limited, and most NBS literature focuses on advanced-core or semi-peripheral systems. There have been several studies on Asian peripheral countries, including China, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea (Witt & Reading, 2012; Černíková, 2010; Bendt & Sanne, 2010; Tipton, 2009; Carney, 2005; Yeung, 2000; Whitley, 1991) as well as comparative studies (Casson & Lundan, 1999) and fewer studies on European and South American peripheral countries in the last decade (Gabrisch et al., 2012; Černíková, 2010; Psychogios & Szamosi, 2007; Amable, 2003). Furthermore, the definition of ‘periphery’ in these studies has been confusing, as the same economies have sometimes been perceived as peripheral and sometimes as semi-peripheral or core (Italy and Spain). For example, the European periphery was thought to comprise the countries of Eastern Europe (the Balkans, including Greece) or the former Soviet Empire (Poland), while countries areas on the European semi-periphery are declining cores — Portugal, Spain, Italy, southern Germany and southern France (Chase-Dunn et al., 2000).
Maria Kapsali, Rea Prouska

6. Governing the Global Periphery: Socio-economic Development in Service of the Global Core

Walking on the streets of Accra, Ghana, I am struck by the masses of people striding briskly in suits under the scorching sun. No one seems bothered by this unreasonable choice of attire designed for use in temperate and cold climates. I cannot help but ponder the source of such misery — wearing heavy clothing and sweating profusely even though relief, by way of breathable local cotton wear, is readily available and cheaper. Thinking about the situation, my mind is filled with several examples of imported ideas and items that do not quite fit the Ghanaian condition: the use of English language at the risk of losing local languages, the aggressive pursuit of money as the only avenue to happiness, individualism as the emerging substitute for the community-based society that was Ghana, the preference for packaged Western foods, in spite of their proven health hazard to the locals. These are deemed the symbols of successful development and my people are buying into it. Lord save us all!
Sammy K. Bonsu

7. Transforming the Institutional Logic of the Centre through Indigenous Wisdom

We posit that the system for development intensifying globally is generated from what we are calling the Logic of the Centre, a set of values and interests expressed and imposed through market mechanisms underpinned by system-preserving instrumental ethics. We seek to contribute to the growing exposure of embedded contradictions and paradoxes internal to the Logic of the Centre that are more likely to come under examination when aspects of its taken-for-granted attractiveness are challenged in some way. We recognise that exposure of contradictions, conflicts and paradoxes in a system does not automatically bring systemic transformation. We persist in such exposure, however, as a starting point to move from observation to analysis and to support and amplify action. In support of this transformational scholarly mobilisation we draw on the work of Seo and Creed (2002) who invite exposure of contradictions and paradoxes as a form of praxis. We juxtapose the Logic of the Centre with contrasting ideas drawn from Indigenous ways of being in order to find conversations through which we may transform our relationships with each other, with Earth and with all her creatures. We offer an adaptation of a governance metaphor that might allow for integrity in the co-ordination of diverse values in our cohabitation on and with Earth.
Maria Humphries, Amy Klemm Verbos

8. ‘He Apiti Hono, He Tātai Hono’: Ancestral Leadership, Cyclical Learning and the Eternal Continuity of Leadership

This research developed out of a fascination with leadership as a personally intuitive experience growing up in Vancouver, Canada, and observing my father. I saw in him a translation of our Indigenous Stό:lō values and knowledge that he learned growing up with his grandmother (my great grandmother) on our Indian reserve lands and applied to the complexities of contemporary life that were presented to him in the city. Dad’s responsibilities have always required him to attend to our Indigenous community’s social and political relations, to negotiate personal and professional boundaries in work and to maintain balance between individual fulfilment and family obligations. What I saw beneath his contemplations around these often competing responsibilities was a point of reference that guided his decisions and actions. He draws upon our Stό:lō cultural values that he learned in his early life to guide moral and ethical behaviour and decision-making. Those values transfer through his own life, but also through ours as his children.
Dara Kelly, Brad Jackson, Manuka Henare

9. Voices that Matter: Speaking Up for the ‘Indigenous’ in Business Education

The British took over Aotearoa, made it New Zealand and shaped it in their own image as though those who were resident did not matter. Māori are now saying that being Māori does matter and that the education system, especially through the compulsory years of schooling, must do much better in incorporating a Māori knowledge base through pedagogies based on Māori aspirations.
Diane Ruwhiu

10. Sorry, the Network Society has Already been Invented: Why Management Education Needs Indigenous Input

Networks are a good site for exploring this paradox. The ‘digital revolution’ and the ‘network society’ are trumpeted as the new basis for globalisation, a combination of technology and management practices that justifies global capitalism in its claimed right to lead the world. Yet Management and Organisation Studies (MOS) was dominant many decades before digital technology arrived, before networks were celebrated. Was this earlier form of management defective? Conversely, Indigenous societies lacked digital technologies but had highly developed forms of network organisation. Were they organisationally superior in some respects to the dominant western forms of organisation? Is it possible that western forms have still not caught up? Should modern organisations and management educators seek to learn from groups and practices that have hitherto been marginalised and despised?
Bob Hodge

11. Carrying across the Line

Engaging in academic research and writing about core/centre1-periphery relations in management and organisation studies (MOS) is, almost by definition, an exercise in multilayered and multidirectional translation. At one level, there is the literal translation conducted by researchers and writers working in and between different source languages. Texts and interviews collected in the field are often written and spoken in languages other than English, the lingua franca of academic publishing in MOS (Thomas et al., 2009). Researchers, for whom English is not the native tongue, attempt to translate interview excerpts, sentiments and concepts conveyed to them in a multiplicity of different languages into ‘Global’ English. At the same time, as management experts themselves, they are often required to translate mainstream managerial texts into their own languages and cultural contexts, rendering them accessible to their students and clients in local idiom. But literal translation is just the tip of the iceberg.
Michal Frenkel, Gavin Jack, Robert Westwood, Farzad Rafi Khan


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