Translating models of organization: Can the Mittelstand move from Bavaria to Geelong?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Management and Organization, 2015, 21 (1), pp. 17 - 36
Issue Date:
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Copyright © 2015 Cambridge University Press and Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management. In this paper, we examine the increasing global attention being given to the German organizational form of the Mittelstand over the past decade. We do so, especially, in consideration of the construction of Australian analogues to the Mittelstand. Such translations have been posited as a solution to the current crisis facing Australian manufacturing. Translation out of context always poses problems: can a specifically national form of organization, such as the German Mittelstand, be something that can, potentially, be translated to other nations and industrial contexts? The Australian case offers an empirical setting in which to explore understandings of transnational translation of management innovations. Our findings demonstrate how globally theorized models subject to translation align abstract value orientations with local templates. Our discussion focuses on the translation of a Bavarian model of organization into very different locations, such as Geelong, Australia.
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