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      Why invisible boundaries matter: imagined institutions and power

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            Abstract

            This paper develops an alternative to Erin Meyer's influential argument that national culture determines how people in a nation behave, thereby creating invisible boundaries that divide nations according to behavioural stereotypes. Whereas Meyer makes the implicit assumption that we could observe national culture and its effect on behaviour as if from a God's Eye point of view, we might do better to begin with an Insider's Eye perspective on whom we could trust to do what. If we take too much for granted, we may miss invisible boundaries that matter; which might have happened when the English executive, Michael Woodford, became president and CEO of Japan's Olympus Corporation, only to find himself fearing for his life after exposing fraud that his Japanese colleagues thought wise to hide. Woodford's startling story is used here to consider three conceptual questions. First, how might power mediated by what people imagine influence the evolution of institutional ecologies, together with invisible boundaries that divide insiders from outsiders? Second, why should management theorists move from an objective God's Eye perspective to Insider's Eye reflections on power mediated by imagined institutions? And third, if we want to avoid falling foul of invisible boundaries, what should we do?

            Content

            Author and article information

            Contributors
            Journal
            10.2307/j50022063
            prometheus
            Prometheus
            Pluto Journals
            0810-9028
            1470-1030
            1 December 2017
            : 35
            : 4 ( doiID: 10.1080/prometheus.35.issue-4 )
            : 305-323
            Affiliations
            Department of Strategy and Marketing, Open University Business School, Milton Keynes, UK
            Article
            08109028.2018.1522131
            10.1080/08109028.2018.1522131
            4c76b653-3257-484f-9818-7d7a39765372
            © 2017 Pluto Journals

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Custom metadata
            eng

            Computer science,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,History,Economics

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