• Jasmin Mahadevan,  Pforzheim University, Germany (corresponding editor), jasmin.mahadevan@hs-pforzheim.de
  • Henriett Primecz, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
  • Laurence Romani, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

Publisher: Routledge (2019)

Type of book: casebook

Condensed case chapter (2,000 words) submission: February 15th, 2018

A casebook about intersectionality in Cross-Cultural Management

With the help of rich case studies, we wish to introduce the notion of ‘intersectionality’ to facilitate a critical Cross-Cultural Management (CCM). Intersectionality refers to the understanding that individuals are not only different, but related, and that multiple identity markers need to be considered when trying to comprehend individual life-experiences. Related to CCM, this means to consider ‘culture’ on multiple levels (e.g. national, organizational, professional, et cetera), to acknowledge interrelated processes of social identity (e.g. identification, recognition and sense of belonging) and to pay attention to power-effects as being intertwined with CCM contexts, frameworks and actors (e.g. majority-minority relations, the impact of diversity markers such as gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation etc., and social class, dominant discourses, dynamics of organizational change etc.).

What we mean by an intersectional approach to culture

An intersectional approach to culture requires us to challenge simple and singular explanations of cultural difference, to investigate the divergent meanings of perceived difference, and to challenge the labels to which perceived difference is attached. For instance, it might be that organizational actors ascribe difficulties in working together to national culture, but a closer investigation might reveal that these perceptions are actually rooted in organizational inequalities of power between headquarters and subsidiary and learned discourses such as ‘modern West’ versus ‘undeveloped non-West’.

Intersectionality therefore also means to acknowledge that every life-experience has a standpoint, and that we are not necessarily able to take up or even approximate the position of others. At the same time, intersectionality invites us to consider how also we, as CCM researchers and actors, are different and related to those with whom we interact. This means that we need to explicate our own standpoints from which we approach CCM and to reflect upon why and how ‘this makes sense to us’. For example, we must assume that the researcher’s cultural identifications will shape their research approach and the interpretations that ‘make sense’ to them, and that the researcher’s embodied, performed or assumed cultural identity will inform how the researcher is perceived by those studied.


Acker, J. (2012) ‘Gendered organizations and intersectionality: problems and possibilities’, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 31(3): 214-224.

Boogard, B. and Roggeband, C. (2010), ‘Paradoxes of intersectionality’, Organization, 17(1): 53-75.

Kerner, I. (2012). “Questions of intersectionality: Reflections on the current debate in German gender studies, European Journal of Women's Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 203-218.

McCall, L. (2005). “The complexity of intersectionality”, Signs, Chicago Journals, Vol. 30, No 3, pp. 1771-1800.

Mahadevan, J. (2017), A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Cross-Cultural Management. London: Sage (in particular, chapters 4 and 5).

Prasad, A. (2006), ‘The jewel in the crown: Postcolonial theory and workplace diversity’. In: Konrad, A.M., Prasad, P. and Pringle, J.K. (eds.), Handbook of Workplace Diversity, London: Sage, 1-21.

Rahman, M. (2017), ‘Islamophobia, the impossible Muslim, and the reflexive potential of intersectionality’. In J. Mahadevan and C.-H. Mayer (eds), Muslim Minorities, Workplace Diversity and Reflexive HRM. London: Taylor and Francis, 35-45.

Ridgeway, C.L. (2009), ‘Framed before we know it: How gender shapes social relations’, Gender & Society, 23(2): 145-60.

Wells, C.C., Gill, R., McDonald, J. (2015).“Us foreigners”: intersectionality in a scientific organization", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, Vol. 34, No. 6, pp. 539 – 553.

Zanoni, P., Janssens, M., Benschop, Y. and Nkomo, S. (2010), ‘Editorial: Unpacking diversity, grasping inequality: Rethinking difference through critical perspectives’. Organization, 17, 9-29.

Your case chapter

We invite case chapters that highlight selected aspects of an intersectional approach to culture. Cases should be empirical, and can be based in any of the research paradigms as long as they offer ‘thick’ or ‘rich’ insights into single contexts or individuals. They should challenge common-place cultural explanations and offer multiple perspectives, involving power-sensitivity and researcher reflexivity. Learning should flow from the empirical material, not from theory, and should then be put into perspective using selected aspects of an intersectional approach to culture. Each case should focus on a selected few points and conclude with recommendations to practitioners.

Regardless of the focus point of your contribution: Ultimately, we would like to help answer the following questions: If we believe that mainstream (comparative) CCM with its focus on national cultural differences is insufficient – what else do we have to offer? How can CCM not only focus on difference but also show how we are related? What are the cases that highlight how exactly individuals (including the researcher) give divergent and intersecting meaning to perceived difference? How can we better include power in our CCM analyses and conceptualizations? We will be pleased to discuss any ideas for chapters. Please direct all your questions to jasmin.mahadevan@hs-pforzheim.de.

Submission schedule

  • Inform the Editor of your intention to submit a chapter no later than 10 December 2017.                     

For doing so, send an e-mail to jasmin.mahadevan@hs-pforzheim.de, using the subject heading “critical CCM casebook guidelines”. You will receive informative guidelines and sample chapters.

  • Condensed case chapter proposal due 15 February 2018
  • Editorial decision (accept or reject) and feedback to authors who are invited to develop the full chapter 31 March 2018
  • Full chapter (max 5,000 words, including references) due 01 September 2018

Send your submission to


using the subject heading “critical CCM casebook submission”.

All submissions will undergo peer-review.

Topics for the chapters may include, but are not limited to:

  • language as linked to cultural hegemony (the power-effects which are linked to language fluency, English as a lingua franca, values attached to certain languages et cetera)
  • diversity, identifications and requirements for cultural belonging (how dominant identity requirements construct disadvantaged individuals/groups, and how these individuals/groups are perceived)
  • cultural explanations, neo-colonialism and organizational power (how organizational conflicts are explained with cultural differences but are rooted in structural hierarchy, history and dominant perceptions on what constitutes ‘good’ management which advantages some over others)
  • challenging dominant viewpoints (how CCM might look like from previously neglected standpoints and what needs to be considered in order to challenge presumed ‘CCM truths’ such as: what does it ‘mean’ to be Muslim?, which are the regions of the world to be considered by CCM?, what defines ‘difference’ in CCM? and so on). This also includes a critique of dominant IM or CCM ‘lenses’ through which phenomena such as expatriation, internationalization et cetera are perceived and researched upon. Moreover, it might refer to neglected facets of culture, for instance by highlighting the relevance of phenomenology, embodiment, habitus, tacit culture, et cetera.