Advertisement

Use of Semiotics in an Emic Research: Opportunities and Implications

  • Sumita MishraEmail author
  • Rajen K. Gupta
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics book series (SPBE)

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to depict the use of semiotics for an emic research on the impact of cultural diversity on knowledge sharing in multicultural teams (MCTs). Empirical data through in-depth interviews was obtained from 59 Indian team members of an Indian product software company that operated globally. Semiotics was used as an interpretive tool to gather an emic perspective on this data. Three major semantic codes were drawn through the process of analysis. Each of these codes focused on the major research questions of the study. These codes bear important implications for the literature describing the impact of cultural diversity on team performance in MCTs with specific reference to India. The chapter validates the use of semiotics as an appropriate method for data analysis, thereby bearing important implications to the realm of qualitative research methods. It purports that words and expressions used by employees are important sign categories capable of providing emic insights into pertinent issues of cultural diversity that can impact on knowledge sharing in MCTs.

Keywords

Semiotics Emic Cultural diversity Knowledge sharing Multicultural teams Indians 

References

  1. Anderson, L. R. (1983). Management of the mixed-cultural work group. Organization Behaviour and Human Performance, 31(3), 303–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barley, S. R. (1983). Semiotics and the study of occupational and organizational cultures. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28(3), 393–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyacigiller, N. A., & Adler, N. J. (1991). The Parochial Dinosaur: Organization science in a global context. Academy of Management Review, 16(2), 262–290.Google Scholar
  4. Brannen, M. Y. (2004). When Mickey loses face: Recontextualization, semantic fit, and the semiotics of foreignness. Academy of Management Review, 29(4), 583–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bunderson, S. J., & Sutcliffe, K. M. (2002). Comparing alternative conceptualizations of functional diversity in management teams. Academy of Management Journal, 45(5), 875–893.Google Scholar
  6. Carson, T., Pearson, M., Johnston, I., Mangat, J., Tupper, J., & Warburton, T. (2005). Semiotic approaches to image based research. In B. Somekh & C. Lewin (Eds.), Research methods in the social sciences (pp. 164–172). New Delhi: Vistaar Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Cummings, J. N. (2004). Work groups, structural diversity and knowledge sharing in a global organization. Management Science, 50(3), 352–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Day, D., Dosa, M., & Jorgensen, Corrine. (1995). The transfer of research information within and by multicultural teams. Information Processing and Management, 31(1), 89–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Faraj, S., & Sproull, L. (2000). Coordinating expertise in software development teams. Management Science, 46(12), 1554–1568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ferda, E., & Cigdem, S. (2003). Features of organizational culture in manufacturing organizations: A metaphorical analysis. Work Study, 52(3), 129–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fiol, M. C. (1989). Semiotic analysis of corporate language: Organizational boundaries and joint venturing. Administrative Science Quarterly, 34(2), 277–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Friedman, A., & Thellefsen, M. (2011). Concept theory and semiotics in knowledge organization. Journal of Documentation, 67(4), 644–674.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gelfand, M. J., Erez, M., & Aycan, Z. (2007). Cross-cultural organizational behaviour. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 479–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  15. Hambrick, D. C, Davison, S. C., Snell, S. A., & Snow, C. C. (1998). When groups consist of multiple nationalities: Towards a new understanding of the implications. Organization Studies, 19(2), 181–205.Google Scholar
  16. Hancock, P. (2005). Uncovering the semiotic in organizational aesthetics. Organization, 12(1), 29–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  18. House, J. R., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (2004). Culture, leadership and organizations: The globe study of 62 societies. New Delhi: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  19. Jackson, N., & Carter, P. (2000). Rethinking organizational behaviour. Harlow: Pearson Education.Google Scholar
  20. Kauffman, J. (2004). Endogenous explanations in the sociology of culture. Annual Sociological Reviews, 30(1), 335–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kress, G., & Mavers, D. (2005). Social semiotics and multimodal texts. In B. Somekh & C. Lewin (Eds.), Research methods in the social sciences (pp. 164–172). New Delhi: Vistaar Publications.Google Scholar
  22. Manning, K. P. (1979). Metaphors of the field: Varieties of organizational discourse. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24(4), 660–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Messner, W. (2011). Offshoring to India-realizing savings and capturing value. Journal of Indian Business Research, 3(1), 63–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Messner, W. (2013). Effect of organizational culture on employee commitment in the Indian IT services sourcing industry. Journal of Indian Business Research, 5(2), 76–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Milliken, J. F., & Martins, L. L. (1996). Searching for common threads: Understanding the multiple effects of diversity in organizational group. Academy of Management Review, 21(2), 402–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mishra, S., & Gupta, R. (2007). Using semiotics to understand the culture of a software organization. Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, 42(3), 383–408.Google Scholar
  27. Morgan, G. (1980). Paradigms, metaphors and puzzle solving in organization theory. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25(4), 605–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Morgan, G. (1983). More on metaphor: Why we cannot control tropes in administrative science. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28(4), 601–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Morgan, G. (1997). Images of organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  30. Rapley, J. T. (2001). The art(fullness) of open-ended interviewing: Some considerations on analysing interviews. Qualitative Research, 1(3), 303–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sackmann, A. S., & Phillips, M. E. (2004). Contextual influences on culture research: Shifting assumptions for new workplace realities. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 4(3), 370–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Saha, A. (1992). Basic human nature in indian tradition and its economic consequences. International Journal of Sociology and Social policy, 12(1), 1–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Salk, J. (1996). Partners and other strangers: Cultural boundaries and cross-cultural encounters in international joint venture teams. International Studies of Management and Organization, 26(4), 48–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shank, G. (1987). Abductive strategies in educational research. American Journal of Semiotics, 5, 275–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shank, G. (1994). Shaping qualitative research in educational psychology. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 19(4), 340–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sinha, J. B. P. (2002). A Cultural frame for understanding organization behaviour. Psychology and Developing Societies, 14, 155–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Snow, C. C., Snell, S. A., Davison, S. C., & Hambrick, D. C. (1996). Use transnational teams to globalize your company. Organizational Dynamics, 32(1), 20–32.Google Scholar
  38. Soderberg, M. A., & Holden, N. (2002). Rethinking cross cultural management in a globalizing business world. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 2(1), 103–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Spradley, J. (1979). The ethnographic interview. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  40. Sundstrom, E., DeMeuse, K. P., & Futrell, D. (1990). Work teams: Applications and usefulness. American Psychologist, 45, 120–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tsui, S. A., Nifadkar, S. S., & Amy, Y. (2007). Cross-national, cross-cultural organization behaviour research: Advances, gaps and recommendations. Journal of Management, 33(3), 426–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Vallaster, C. (2005). Cultural diversity and its impact on social interactive processes: Implications from an empirical study. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 5(2), 139–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Watson, E. W., & Kumar, K. (1992). Differences in decision making regarding risk taking: A comparison of culturally diverse and culturally homogenous task groups. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 16(1), 53–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zhou, W., & Shi, X. (2011). Culture in groups and teams: A review of three decades of research. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 11(1), 5–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OB/HRM, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) School of ManagementKIIT Deemed to be UniversityBhubaneswarIndia
  2. 2.OB/HRMManagement Development InstituteGurgaonIndia

Personalised recommendations