SoutenanceHDR Prof. T. Patel : A Critical Appreciation of Culture in International Business (CIB) Scholarship: In Favor of Crossing Disciplinary and Epistemological Boundaries

English Version Further Below


La soutenance de Mme Taran Patel pour l’Habilitation à diriger des recherches aura lieu en ligne et en anglais le 27 à 14h devant un jury composé de Pr. Michalis LIANOS (Garant), Université de Rouen ; Pr. Yehuda BARUCH, Université de Southampton, Royaume-Uni ; Pr. Caroline GAUTHIER, Grenoble Ecole de Management ; Pr. Gazi ISLAM, Grenoble Ecole de Management ; Pr. Marcos BARROS (rapporteur), Grenoble Ecole de Management ; Pr. Pierre-Yves SANSEAU (rapporteur), Grenoble Ecole de Management ; Pr. Marco VERWEIJ (rapporteur), Université Jacobs de Breme, Allemagne.

La soutenance aura lieu en visioconférence : nous contacter pour avoir le lien :

Le titre du mémoire HDR est :

A Critical Appreciation of Culture in International Business (CIB) Scholarship:

In Favor of Crossing Disciplinary and Epistemological Boundaries

Les travaux de Taran Patel portent sur la théorie sociale de Mary Douglas et son application aux organisations internationales. Le résumé en anglais suit à la fin de ce message.

Dear All,

You are kindly invited to the viva of Prof. Taran Patel for the French “Habilitation à diriger des recherches”. The viva will be held in English and online on April 27th, 2pm Central European Time. Ask us for the visioconference link :

The title of the dissertation is

A Critical Appreciation of Culture in International Business (CIB) Scholarship:

In Favor of Crossing Disciplinary and Epistemological Boundaries

The members of the Examination Committee are Pr. Michalis LIANOS (Director of the HDR), University of Rouen, Pr. Yehuda BARUCH, University of Southampton, Pr. Caroline GAUTHIER, Pr. Gazi ISLAM, Pr. Marcos BARROS (reviewer), Pr. Pierre-Yves SANSEAU (reviewer) , Grenoble Ecole de Management, Pr. Marco VERWEIJ (reviewer), Jacobs University Bremen.


In the first part of the four-part HDR manuscript, I outline the limitations of the categorical school of culture popular in Culture in International Business (CIB) studies. I question CIB scholars’ over-reliance on categorical frameworks conceptualizing culture as homogenous, static, and measurable at the level of geo-ethnic entities such as nations, societies, and/or companies. I then explore transactional anthropology in search of alternative frameworks of culture capable of overcoming some of the limitations of the categorical school, an endeavor which leads me to Mary Douglas’s Cultural Theory (CT) framework. In part II of this manuscript, I offer four examples of studies, wherein I have used the CT framework to offer nuanced insights into four distinct business problems : the viability of international strategic alliances, corporate sustainability reporting practices, ethical decision making, and learning cultures for sustained innovation success. I close the second part of the manuscript by explicitly comparing insights from past studies exploring the afore-cited business problems through the use of categorical frameworks of culture and the insights I offer through my reliance on CT. While the former studies often depict differences between national and/or corporate cultures as being problematic, my studies insist that the coexistence of each of the four cultures of CT – even if chaotic and messy at times- is required, if the system is to flourish in the long run. In part III of this manuscript, I make an explicit comparison between the national culture approach, the corporate culture approach, the transactional culture approach, and CT to draw out the strengths and weaknesses of each. This section marks my first attempt to reflect on my own preferred framework critically, leading me to close this part with a call for a shift from monoparadigmatc to multiparadigmatic studies of culture. I argue that while monoparadigmatic studies of culture can achieve either predictability or in-depth understanding of the cultural problem at hand, multiparadigmatic studies might be able to achieve both. The challenges of attempting multiparadigmatic studies of culture are also outlined. In part IV, I conclude by summarizing the key insights from my past publications in CIB. I also offer a brief reflection on how my own background might have influenced the choices I made during my intellectual journey, and I remind readers that my intellectual contributions surpass CIB to include several publications in other areas of research such as gender issues in the workplace and (negative) leadership – all driven by the same critical approach that has guided my work in CIB. A few examples of these other works are provided, and areas for ongoing and future research work are also listed in the hope of providing readers a full extent and scope of my research agenda.

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