Adopting or adapting? The tension between local and international mindsets in Portuguese management

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One of the effects of the globalization process has been the diffusion of international management mindsets. Such a process of diffusion may be contributing to an increasing homogeneity of managerial practice around the world, but important differences still remain. The research reported in this article analyzes management as a process in the making, i.e., as a dynamic interplay between local culture, history and conditions, and the diffusion/adoption of international managerial techniques. The topic is approached inductively, through interviews with 71 managers based in Portugal. The article makes two main contributions: it analyzes management as a dialectical interplay between local factors and imported management knowledge, and helps to describe management practice in this Latin European country. Results suggest that the change process occurring in managerial practice in Portugal derives from the tension between a parochial mindset, inherited from almost five decades of dictatorship and its confrontation with a new international mindset. Some managers may be approaching this tension dialectically, through the enactment of a synthesis, which some informants interpret as potentially leading to a new "Latin managerial touch".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-202
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of World Business
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Dialectics
  • Global management
  • Management in Latin Europe
  • Portugal


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