Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 44, Issue 9, pp 867–897 | Cite as

Mapping world cultures: Cluster formation, sources and implications



This paper extends and builds on Ronen and Shenkar’s synthesized cultural clustering of countries based on similarity and dissimilarity in work-related attitudes. The new map uses an updated dataset, and expands coverage to world areas that were non-accessible at the time. Cluster boundaries are drawn empirically rather than intuitively, and the plot obtained is triple nested, indicating three levels of similarity across given country pairs. Also delineated are cluster adjacency and cluster cohesiveness, which vary from the highly cohesive Arab and Anglo clusters to the least cohesive Confucian and Far Eastern clusters. Exploring predictors of cluster formation, we draw on the ecocultural perspective and other inputs, and examine the combined role of language, religion, and geography in generating cluster formation. We find that these forces play a prominent yet complex role: for instance, the religion and language brought by the Spanish fail to create a singular, cohesive Latin American cluster akin to the Anglo cluster. The role of economic variables is similarly considered. Finally, comparing the current map with that of 1985, we find strong support for the divergence (vs convergence) argument. Implications for international business are delineated.


globalization cultural values crosscultural management clustering incorporating country variables 


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Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv UniversityIsrael
  2. 2.Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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