Thesis Defense by Sergey Morgulis-Yakushev
Thesis Defense on Cultural Fit, Friday 11 September at 10.15 in room Ragnar, Sveavägen 65, Floor 3
What is cultural fit, how should it be conceptualized, measured and empirically used? Existing studies have compared the impact of culture using measures of similarity or difference, rather than fit. In this thesis, I challenge this perspective and offer the concept of fit as an alternative account of the characteristics of two entities in producing selected outcomes. The concept of fit proposed in this thesis accounts for a continuum of possibilities from the absolutely identical to the diametrically opposed. Additionally, it shows the importance of comparing the specific characteristics of each entity, rather than entities as aggregated wholes. Fit makes it possible to compare/contrast two entities with totally different natures than the one-dimensional method of cultural distance currently used.
This thesis starts by finding that conceptions of organizational culture differ between countries. It then proposes the concept of cultural fit as a way to examine and compare MNCs’ HQs and their subsidiaries across a number of dimensions. It then develops a confirmatory polynomial regression analysis method that can be used to test for cultural fit. Lastly, it conducts an empirical examination of knowledge transfer between HQs and their subsidiaries in foreign countries, applying the concept and methods already developed.
It demonstrates that the fit between two entities is much wider than the similarities or differences between them. Cultural fit, as a criterion-specific and outcome-dependent concept, has the potential to advance our understanding of HQ-subsidiary relationships, as well as other interorganizational phenomena taking place in a cross-cultural setting. The insights and results have implications for further research and for managers investigating cultural fit.