Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 859–885

Culture, meaning, and institutions: Executive rationale in Germany and Japan


DOI: 10.1057/jibs.2008.81

Cite this article as:
Witt, M. & Redding, G. J Int Bus Stud (2009) 40: 859. doi:10.1057/jibs.2008.81


This paper contributes rare primary empirical evidence to one of the major research questions in the social sciences today, namely, the linkage between national cultures and institutional structures of national business systems. Drawing on the work of Redding, we explore the thinking, or “rationale”, of senior executives of leading German and Japanese firms about the ideal structure of the economy. We find considerable variation in rationale across the two countries and in comparison with the shape of the business system of the United States. Our study has implications for our understanding of the meaning of economic activity in different countries and of the evolutionary trajectories of national business systems.


rationaleculturevaluesinstitutionsvarieties of capitalismcomparative business systems

Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INSEADSingapore
  2. 2.INSEADFontainebleauFrance