Bhagat, R.S., University of Memphis, Dugan, B.A., HumRRO and Hemingway, M.A., The Dow Chemical Company, USA
Harry Triandis noted, in his classic chapter on cross-cultural industrial and organizational psychology (1994), that competing in the global marketplace would require understanding the mindset of not only the customers but also the employees of multinational and global corporations. He also noted that, in the competition to contribute to the development of cross-cultural industrial and organizational psychology, the United States is often at a significant disadvantage. For historical and fundamental reasons, most psychological paradigms are still parochial in nature, and have not embraced the ideologies and value systems of peoples of the collectivistic world. U.S. scholars often note in international meetings that, while many of their colleagues from the collectivistic contexts of countries such as Japan, India, China, Korea, Egypt, Nigeria, and Spain appreciate the delicate theoretical construction of the models, they are often frustrated in their limited usefulness in the organizational contexts of their own countries. In this paper, we focus on some of the fundamental reasons why, despite sincere attempts on the part of U.S. I/O psychologists to provide universal theories of organizational functioning, the results are far from promising. We also examine the responsibility of I/O psychologists from the collectivistic contexts of the above-mentioned countries and others to work collaboratively with U.S.-based I/O psychologists and derive theories and models that are not only parsimonious in their construction, but also filled with significant promise for improving organizational functioning in non-U.S. contexts.