International business and management studies as an orientalist discourse: A postcolonial critique

Emerald Insight
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Critical Perspectives on International Business, 2006, 2 (2), pp. 91 - 113
Issue Date:
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Purpose This paper seeks to interrogate the international business and management studies (IBMS) discourse via postcolonial theory. It demonstrates the value of applying postcolonial theory as a critical practice with respect to that substantive domain. Design/methodology/approach The approach is to draw on the critical and intellectual resources of postcolonial theory and apply them in an interrogation of IBMS. Findings The paper shows the value of applying postcolonial theory to open up the discourse of IBMS, which is revealed to deploy similar types of universalistic, essentialising and exoticising representations to colonial and neo-colonial discourse. It is revealed to rely on functionalist orthodoxy, realist ontology and neo-positivist epistemology. Furthermore, it masks its own power effects, fails to make explicit its research commitments, especially its political and ethical ones, and remains deeply unreflexive.
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