Special Session Management Geography at the 2012 AAG Annual Conference

SIEM conducted a Special Session at the 2012 Annual Meeting in New York. The paper session entitled Management Geography (2165) was scheduled on Saturday, 25. Feb. 2012. The organizer was Prof. Dr. Rolf Dieter Schlunze (Ritsumeikan University) and Professor Dr. Atsushi Taira (Kagawa University) introduced the presenters as follows.

  • Dr. Robyn Mayes – Curtin University – Curtin University, Title: Corporate social responsibility: configuring community and place in resource-affected rural Australia.
  • Dr. Remi Alapo – University of Phoenix, Arizona, Title: The Role of culture on the leadership styles of Generation X women in Nigeria.
  • Weiwei Ji – Ritsumeikan University, Title: Locational Preferences and Network Behavior of Cross-Border Managers in China: An Actor Centered Approach.
  • Dr. Rolf Dieter Schlunze – Ritsumeikan University, Title: Intercultural management success in the global cities – An actor-centered approach

Prof. Dr. Andrew Jones (University of London) and Prof. Dr. Patrik Ström (University of Gothenburg) discussed the presentations. Andrew discussed managerial leadership practices such as CSR as global practices enabling MNEs to embed their business in various locations. Patrik discussed the cost of expatriates for global management indicating that willingness of expatriates varies by region and by nationality. He pinpointed on the attempt of leading MNEs to educate so called “global managers”. It appears that one purpose to do so is to integrate global dispersed workplaces by shared strategies and practices. We discussed the question how corporations succeed to educate managers to show sufficient flexibility for the demanding assignments around the globe. From a cross-cultural background the value of national cultures equipped with group sensitivity that can be transformed into cultural sensitivity of the manager has been discussed and contrasted to Western management favoring an analytical approach to understand the cultural aspects and practices. We concluded that locational differences ranging from the global city to rural city situation matters to management but needs investigated by a joint research around the globe by SIEM members in the near future. 

Collection of Summaries


Robyn Mayes, Dr. – Curtin University & Barbara Pini, Professor
CBS – John Curtin Institute of Public Policy, Curtin University

Corporate Social Responsibility in the contemporary global minerals industry is increasingly seen to involve active, direct engagement with local communities in order to achieve and maintain a ‘social license to operate’. Key drivers of this emphasis on community engagement widely identified in the literature include the almost inevitable adverse affects of mining operations on sections of the local community, the potential costs of community activism/resistance to the efficient operation of a given project, the important fact that relocation to another site and/or community is often not an option as it might be in other industries, and finally a belief that demonstrating community support brings with it a degree of immunity to criticism on the part of extra-local non-government organisations. Not surprisingly, the engagement and development of local communities is rapidly becoming a core competency in the mining industry as evidenced by the ongoing professionalization of corporate social responsibility, specialist managerial positions centred on community liaison and social responsibility, along with the emergence of globalised industry best-practice models such as those put forward by peak bodies such as the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). Importantly, the community engagement at the heart of this risk aversion enacts a shift away from passive philanthropy to ‘partnerships’ and ‘joint projects’. In doing so, this study contributes to our understanding of the ways in which in local community/ies emerge as a space and location subject to international management.
This paper examines management practice and identities in this new geography of international engagement with, and management of, local communities. To achieve this we draw on a case study of BHP Billiton’s AU$ 2.2 billion greenfield Ravensthorpe Nickel Operation (RNO) in the rural shire of Ravensthorpe in Western Australia. Our analysis draws on a substantial body of ethnographic data consisting of interviews with corporate employees, local government representatives, field observations, media reports, and corporate public communications. We thus present an ethnographic (and broadly social constructionist) analysis of a local implementation of what is promulgated in the industry as a ‘global industry initiative.’
Following a brief overview of the Australian mineral sector and its relationships to local communities, we explore the local enactment of this corporate community engagement undertaken in Ravensthorpe in relation to stakeholder management and attendant expectations and practices of managerial control. Our examination focuses on the ways in which this practice is embedded in the local community not least through a requirement that senior management take up residence in the community. An important dimension of this is ongoing construction of the cultural and social identity of mine managers. We then examine management practice in terms of the formal and informal social interaction with local government. Through a focus on the perceptions and experiences of local council representatives and officers, solicited through in-depth interviews, we attempt to map the relations of power and dimensions of governmentality in play. ‘Rurality’ and its associated mythology, we argue, is significant throughout. In conclusion we identify implications from this mine-site, local level case-study for our understanding of the interrelatedness of social, cultural and geographic dimensions of corporate social responsibility more broadly and attendant managerial practices. The power and extent of such management is a crucial issue given the minerals industry’s close associations with both economic and social development of local communities (imbricated in the CSR agenda) and the operation of large transnational firms in what are often very small and remote communities.



Remi Alapo, Ph.D
School of Advanced Studies, University of Phoenix, Arizona.

Organizational power politics permeates all actions within an organization. Power is one person’s ability to exert change on another person’s way of life and actions (Sweeney & McFarlin, 2002). Using power is a valuable means to influence and achieve intended desires and future action on others. Power is instrumental; it is a means to achieve goals other than the attainment of power itself. Power may also be expressed as one person’s dependence on another. Power can, and sometimes is, a goal, its basic use is instrumental in the achievement of one’s goals (McShane & Travaglione, 2003). Power has utility for the group member most often as an intermediary tool to achieve some personal desired end value (Palumbo, 1969). Sources of power include: legitimate reasons for achieving a goal, to reward supporters or followers, to deter opponents, to coerce subordinates into performing certain actions, to have expert knowledge, and ideas over others (McShane & Travaglione, 2003).
Women in 21st century Nigeria have contributed notably to various organizations and have ascended to top leadership positions in their respective businesses and professions. Women occupy various leadership positions in academics, private, business and civil society organizations and are responsible for leading and managing a variety of organizations and different people with different sets of demographics. Despite this escalation in rank, many women in positions of power face enormous problems in their abilities to lead organizations effectively based on societal values, norms and beliefs (Nwosu, 2006, Ajayi, 2007; & Igunbor, 2005). Some of these societal norms encourage women to achieve the best and attain higher levels of leadership such as in traditional places in Nigeria where women’s leadership are respected for their economic leadership activities. A majority of the national and societal norms however, undermine the leadership of women in Nigeria. The workforce in Nigeria now includes younger generation of women called the Generation X. This generation have joined the 21st century post-modern economy where in addition to their leadership positions, there are better opportunities available that those of the pre-ceding generation. This generation is moving upward faster than their predecessors of women leaders based on current global trends and business landscape.

The problem is that Generation X women in positions of power are caught between the Nigerian societal culture and that of the western business ideology of the 21st century. The “universal” 21st century global market leadership culture is mostly guided by western ideologies that are in direct conflict with the national and family culture of Nigeria. Most of the 21st century business practices are based on obstacles that were rooted in colonial ruling practices which have been carried over into modern day Nigerian organization and social structures based on societal misfits.

The purpose of this phenomenological study to investigate the leadership styles of Nigerian women belonging to the Generation X sub-culture. This study was conducted to understand participant’s perspectives and interpret perceptions on the role of culture on the leadership characteristics, drawn from the lived experiences of Generation X women leaders in Nigeria.

The theoretical framework that guided the research were Hofstede’s (1980) cross-cultural framework (power distance, individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term/short-term orientation) and Bass’ (1990) transformational leadership. French and Ravin’s (1959) five identified sources of power (which are coercive power, reward power, legitimate power, expert power, and referent power) was also in the study used to understand the perspectives of participants and how they view and use power within the organization. This qualitative phenomenological study involved 30 research participants; those between the ages of 30 to 45 years, who are in positions of power in Nigeria. These 30 participant’s level of experience varied by age, industry, level of education obtained, and other social factors such as religion, ethnicity, and the region or zone of Nigeria which they hailed from.
An open-ended self-designed research questionnaire was used to gather participant’s opinions on the extent to which both the national and family cultures of Nigeria has affected the view and use of power within the organizations of Nigerian women leaders belonging in the research study age group. Although Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups, languages, and cultures, Generation X is the country’s common trend. Sample was collected from women in various industries such as SMEs, NGOs, private and family businesses. The minimum requirement needed to participate in the study was to have a one year of management and leadership experience in their current position as well as to be responsible in supervising or managing at least one person. The professional status of the participants within their respective organizations ranged from owners, partners, directors, managing directors, president, and supervisors with years of experience in organizational management in a cross-cultural setting.


This research explored the relationship between culture and leadership, and empirically determined the extent of cultural influences and power on leadership styles of Generation X women who are in positions of power in Nigeria. Insights of personal cultural experiences were gathered to determine deeper understanding of how Nigerian female leaders perceive the influence of contradictory cultural influences on their views, the use of power within the organization, and on their leadership styles. Some of the interviewed leaders see power as manipulation, coercion, control, reward, force, or an approach to leadership. Within the organization, a leader’s performance and interaction with the team can influence the ways in which his or her leadership styles reduce or eliminate opposition. From the study, it was gathered that the autocratic style of leadership does not work well in cross-cultural environments but the transformational style of leadership worked well with the leaders who participated in the study due to it nurturing and inclusive approach. Also, it was gathered that there is not one or universal style of leadership across cultures. A person’s culture – both national and family, determines his or her leadership style, even though proponents of cross-cultural studies have argued that there is a universal styles or culture of leadership.

A person’s cultural values and setting play significant role in the portrayal and usage of power which is to influence others (Scott, 2003). Many societies interpret power as control or the ability to influence policy or decision making. In addition, culture remains a subliminal influence and an unconscious force that is powerful because the effects of culture on individual behavior are lasting. Over time, culture plays in determining collective behavior as well as group perception, what is valued, and thought patterns. Societal cultures also dictate a person’s leadership style to mean either positive or negative attitudes or behavior over others. Within organizational leadership, different leadership styles exist that a person may use to influence or to lead in various settings or situations based on his or her cultural values or backgrounds. Through different characteristics or personal traits, a person in position of power can have different leadership styles such as transformational, situational, or autocratic based on cultural values, beliefs, and norms. Different leadership styles of engagement can manifest to create positive organizational environment and build a bottom – up approach with variations from participatory, transformational, or autocratic. The leadership styles are directly and indirectly influenced by societal messages of tolerance subliminal or present within that society.
The role of culture on the leadership styles of Generation X women in Nigeria varies from one woman in positions of power to the other. This leadership style variation is based on different demographics such as age, level of education, management experience, geographical location, religious values, social support structures, knowledge of and exposure to others from diverse cultural backgrounds. According to Bass (1990), the make-up of a leader is a combination of natural phenomenon as he or she is affected by the environment in addition to the desire to attain such position. Leaders are to understand others even when they function outside of the leaders’ set of demographics. Personality traits such as leadership abilities, events that happen in people’s lives or in their environment, coupled with the willingness to become leaders, and acquiring the necessary leadership skills, are all approaches to a person becoming a leader. Both emotional and cultural intelligence are needed in cross-cultural studies where leaders or those in positions of power need to have the adaptive qualities in which they can use in working with those from diverse ethnic and cultural settings (Cherniss & Goleman, 2001). Leaders have to understand people’s needs through fostering and building trust, communication, and assisting followers to understand and make relevant the goals and values of the organization (Bolman & Deal, 2003). The relevance of this study to business, cultural, human and management geography is that cross-cultural leadership and management perspectives of Generation X women in positions of power may serve to influence the building of highly effective and functioning teams in adapting to global business and environmental trends. The cultural values of Nigerian society are grounded in the shared experiences of symbols and norms, which are manifested as beliefs and practices. These play obviously a significant role in the leadership styles and expressions of Generation X women who are in positions of power in Nigeria. Organizational leaders who work or manage organizations in cross-cultural settings can understand the leadership styles of Generation X women in positions of power in Nigeria and how they apply Hofstede’s cross-cultural leadership as well as the different aspects of French & Raven (1959)’s five identified sources of power in how they lead and manage their organizations.

Key words: cross-cultural leadership, international management

Bass, B. (Win, 1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: learning to share the vision. Organizational Dynamics. 18(3), 19-31.
Bolman, L. G. and Deal, T. E. (2003). Reframing organizations: artistry, choice, and leadership (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Cherniss, C. & Goleman, D. (Eds.). (2001). The emotionally intelligent workplace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
McShane, S. and Travagelione. (2003). Power, Politics, and Persuasion. Organizational Behavior on the Pacific Rim. McGraw-Hill Australia.
River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Scott, R. W. (2003). Organizations: Rational, natural, and open systems. Upper Saddle Sweeney, P.D., and McFarlin, D.B. (2002). Power and Influence: Exercising Leadership and Practicing Politics. Organizational Behavior: Solutions for Management. McGraw-Hill, Higher Education.



Weiwei JI (PhD Candidate)
Ritsumeikan University, Department of International Business Administration

Studies on locational preferences of foreign direct investment have been focused on the multinational corporations’ (MNCs) locational requirements and choices (Cox 1972, Dunning 2009). Studies in this area, have largely been conducted on firm level (e.g. Kahn 1992; Edginton 1995; Boston and Ross 1996; Berköz 1998), Kahn (1992) studied the differences of locational preference between family business and nonfamily business. Edginton (1995) made several important statements that the Japanese investor behavior is shown to have fixed locational preferences in North American real estate markets. In Boston and Roll’s (1996) study, they argued the key component of the solution for the success of African American-owned firms is to create “clusters” for them. Berköz (1998) studied the locational preferences about produce service firms in Istanbul metropolitan area. However, there is few in-depth interviews have been conducted at the individual on this topic.

In the global era, management practice for managers is embedded in the balanced local and global context (Harvey et al. 1999). Meester (2004) saw the choice of a location as an investment decision by an individual manager. Cross-border managers are major actors at the region level and they drive change in the regional economy. The preferences of managers have an important effect on the business strategy success abroad. Nowadays, MNCs prefers to hire managers who fit the culture, who cooperation, and commitment and be more experienced (Cohen and Prusak 2001). It is significant to investigate cross-border managers’ locational behaviors. Also, as business action is embedded in social relations (Granovetter 1985). The People’s Republic of China has changed dramatically since allowing foreign direct investment over the past few decades. The issues related to the location choice of FDI in China have drawn increasing interest.

A questionnaire designed to investigate about acculturation, preferences and networking behavior was mailed to 153 Japanese companies’ headquarters based in the Kansai area. The addresses have been obtained by the database of Kaigai Sinshutsu Kigyou Soran published by Toyo Keizai 2010. The headquarters have requested to let Japanese managers expatriate to Chinese locations know the interview survey to be conducted from July 30th to September 15th, 2011. Since only 6 companies replied, the method was improved and other modes of approaching managers were found. Thus, several Japanese governmental managers in charge of promoting Japanese companies’ overseas have been contacted. One of them recommended using the name list provided by MIE (Monotsukuri Industrial Exhibition (MIE) is one of the most important industrial exhibitions supported by Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Chinese local government. It provides a platform for Japanese manufacturing companies which supporting the development of business between China and Japan. More than 500 Japanese companies exhibited in MIE each year. The mailing address of the managers was obtained through a name list provide by the 14th MIE.). A mailing list consisting of 235 Japanese managers’ addresses containing their names, company affiliations, postal and e-mail addresses was build up, these managers were asked to fill in the online survey in Japanese. Based on a social network for business professionals, called “Xing.com”, a mailing list consisting of 730 foreign managers were asked to fill in the online survey in English, more than 150 managers answered the questionnaire, and a qualitative study by social network analysis from interviews with foreign managers in China, this original study of the actors covers managers from Germany, Japan, Austria, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Swiss and Brazil.

The results showed significantly different patterns for Japanese managers compared to western managers. Japanese managers show high locational preferences outside China, while western managers show high local embedded orientation. The managers, who have strong willing to integrate in the host culture, can be called as “acculturated managers”. In contradistinction to Japanese managers, western managers believed collaboration within the firm is the most important for them to be success in China. Also, It can be observed that development of the managers integration strategy for business success could be sawn as step by step. The Japanese managers more prefers to work in pro-Japanese city. Both of Japanese managers and the western managers are prefer to work and live in the trade town, not in the political city. This study also implies that geographers should integrate works from management research.

Berköz, L. (1998). Locational preferences of producer service firms in Istanbul. European Planning Studies, 6(3), 333-349.
Boston, T. D., & Ross, C. L. (1996). Location Preferences of Successful African American-owned businesses in Atlanta. Review of Black Political Economy, 24(2/3), 337-357.
Cohen, D., & Prusak, L. (2001). in Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press.
Cox, K. R. (1972). Man, Location and behavior: An Introduction to Human Geography. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Dunning, J. H. (2009). Location and the multinational enterprise: A neglected factor? Journal of International Business Studies, 40(1), 5-19.
Edgington, D. W. (1995). Locational Preferences of Japanese Real Estate Investors in North America. Urban Geography, July(01), 373-396.
Friedman, J., Fung, H.-G., Gelowski, D. A., & Silberman, J. (1996). A Note On “State Characteristics and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment Within the United States”. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 78(2), 367-368.
Gomez, C., & Sanchez, J. I. (2005). HR’s strategic role within MNCs: helping buid social capital in Latin America. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(12), 2189-2200.
Granovetter, M. (1985). Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91, 481-510.
Harvey, M. G., Speier, C., & Speier, C. (1999). The impact of emerging markets on staffing the global organization: A knowledge-based view. Journal of International Management, 5, 167-186.
Kahn, J. A. (1992). Location Preferences of Family Firms: Strategic Decision Making or “Home Sweet Home”. Family Business Review, 5(3), 271-282.
Meester, W. J. (2004). Locational Preferences of Entrepreneurs Stated Preferences in the Netherlands and Germany. Germany: Physica-Verlag.



Dr. Rolf Dieter Schlunze
Ritsumeikan University, Department of International Business Administration

Problem: Without cultural knowledge it is impossible to succeed abroad (Adler 2008). First tier global cities accommodate global managers with universal knowledge in their profession linking these urban entities together (Jones 2002). However, to succeed in second tier global cities or long-term overseas cultural knowledge is demanded (Dunning 2009). Expatriate managers need to learn about local practices and adjust to local management systems different from their home country (Schlunze 2012, Plattner 2012). International managers need to respond to the market environment when implementing global integration strategies (Granovetter 1985, Yeung 2012). Different cultural approaches towards International Human Resource Management and leadership exist (Jackson 1993). Meanwhile Western expats aim often on visionary leadership, Japanese managers aim on mentoring role and encourage team work.
Purpose: This study investigates characteristics of synergy creation at the level of executive managers in the intercultural workplace at the level of different global city locations. Japan-based European executive managers’ preferences, adjustment practices and networking will be compared with the practices of Japanese expatriates managers in Germany.
Method: The approach introduced here distinguishes types of executive managers by evaluating their adaptability, preferences and networkability in the corporate, market and living environment (Meester 2004). Questionnaire and interview surveys with international managers in Japan and Germany have been carried out using an original approach designed by founding members of the SIEM research group since 2006. Three samples from Japan and Germany totalling more than 200 individuals were analysed to investigate the success practices of expatriate managers in the intercultural workplace. The hypothesis states that only managers with intercultural knowledge are likely to create synergy in the intercultural workplace because of different behavioural orientation, locational preferences and networking activities. The approach introduced here developed distinguishes two types of executive managers, the normal expatriate manager and the so called Hybrid manager, by evaluating their working style. Half of the managers registered with the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tokyo, one fourth of the individual managers registered with the European Business Council in Japan (EBC) and one third of the Japanese managers based in Germany took part in this investigation. More than one hundred managers who indicated that they did succeed to create synergy were asked to joint semi-structured interviews as well.
Results: The analysis shows significant differences in terms of integration for normal expatriate managers and Hybrid managers. Hybrid managers incorporate at least two cultural engines and succeed with social integration in the host country. The Hybrid manager enjoys a more advanced level of integration and therefore they possess a higher potential of creating synergy in the intercultural workplace. Meanwhile many of the Western managers in the distant cultural context did an outmost effort to reach cultural fluency, only a few of the Japanese managers advanced to hybrid managers with adequate intercultural competence. Japanese managers in Germany substitute their lack of intercultural competence by emphasizing on a preferable team among home country expatriate managers. Nevertheless some cases testify that the degree of integration of Japanese hybrid managers in German socio-economic environment can be very advanced, meanwhile cultural fluent Western managers in Japan often reported difficulties to contribute to changes even in the Japanese workplace where they took a leadership role.
Discussion: The results so far showed that Hybrid managers are capable to speak the language of the host country and are eager to get and stay involved in the entire decision making process. They often have a partner in the working place to get consultancy about good practices in the intercultural workplace. We conclude that a high degree of integration is needed to create synergy in the intercultural workplace. Interesting cases of the Japanese hybrid manager testify that the German socio-economic environment is more adaptive for the integration of international managerial talent, meanwhile cases of the European hybrid manager show that the resistance towards foreignness within the Japanese workplace and society in general is still high. Finally, implications about how companies can prepare managers for their overseas assignment and how to build international social capital in second tier cities will be discussed. The human resource departments of multinational corporations are advised to perceive the hybrid manager as a talent that provided innovative power to make the appropriate adjustments that are needed in the rapid changing local and global business environment. Regional institutions and promoters should facilitate these talents for regional development building international social capital!

Keywords: Hybrid manager, cultural adjustment, preferences, networking, intercultural synergy

Adler, N. J., G. Allison (2008) International dimensions of organizational behavior. Mason, Ohio: South-Western/Cengage Learning.
Dunning, J. H. (2009). Location and the multinational enterprise: A neglected factor? Journal of International Business Studies, 40(1), 5-19.
Granovetter, M. (1985). Economic Action and Social Structure: The Problem of Embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91, 481-510.
Jackson, T. (1993) Organizational behaviour in international management. Oxford/Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Jones, A. (2002) The ‘global city’ misconceived: the myth of ‘global management’ in translation service firms, Geoforum, Vol.33, 335-350.
Meester, W. J. (2004). Locational Preferences of Entrepreneurs Stated Preferences in the Netherlands and Germany. Germany: Physica-Verlag.
Plattner, M. (2012) Mobile Elite in the Global City: International Managers’ Locational Preferences. in: Schlunze, R.D., N.O. Agola and W.W. Baber, Spaces of International Economy and Management – Launching New Perspectives on Management and Geography, Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 46-62.
Schlunze, R. D. (2012) “Hybrid” Managers Creating Cross-Cultural Synergy: A Systematic Interview Survey from Japan. in: Schlunze, R.D., N.O. Agola and W.W. Baber, Spaces of International Economy and Management – Launching New Perspectives on Management and Geography, Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 24-45. Yeung, H. W. (2012) Challenges for management geography: transnational management and global production networks. Forward in: Schlunze, R.D., N.O. Agola and W.W. Baber, Spaces of International Economy and Management – Launching New Perspectives on Management and Geography, Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. xii-xix.

Follow by Email