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 MPIfG Books



Arndt Sorge
The Global and the Local:
Understanding the Dialectics of Business Systems


Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005
306 pages
ISBN 978-0-19-927890-9 | £65.00 (hardback)
ISBN 978-0-19-920529-5 | £24.00 (paperback)
Order directly from Oxford University Press.



Abstract | Reviews | Contents | Author




The rhetoric of internationalization and globalization often suggests an inexorable move away from domestic cultural and institutional differences. Yet the development of internationalization within individual nations has been shaped by those very domestic institutions and cultures, as "best practice" or other kinds of international learning have been translated into established practice and knowledge. In this study, the author presents a sociological theory of the development of human societies to explain how business systems evolve and change, and how internationalization works to specify and change societal identities within nations. Examining changes in work, organization, corporate governance, and human resources, he shows how this interaction is a pattern that has been followed over centuries. Indeed, amongst the cases the author presents, he concentrates on the example of Germany, a supposedly highly homogeneous and closed society, as evidence for the universality of shifting borders, expanding horizons, local adoption and adaptation of global practices, and the hybridization of systems and standards, as the normal course of social evolution. The author's analysis of globalization combines rigorous theoretical reasoning with empirically grounded analysis, and deliberately adopts a general social science approach, drawing on research from business and management studies, sociology, political science, and history.
Readership: Advanced Students, Academics, and Researchers of International Business, Management Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and Economic Geography.



"... there is ... no lack of ambition in this book. And yet, unlike much of what today comes as sociology, it is fun to read, written in a way that combines the very abstract and the very concrete, the principles of general theories and the anecdotes of specific histories, in ways that are enlightening and entertaining at the same time. Those who take the book to heart will find themselves in possession of a language that can speak about 'globalization' in a non-sensationalist manner without, however, in any way detracting from its significance - in fact, quite to the contrary. They will much better and more systematically understand the lasting significance of the local in a world whose horizons of action are expanding." From the Foreword by Wolfgang Streeck, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne
Jens Gammelgaard, Copenhagen Business School, Department of International Economics and Management, Frederiksberg, Denmark; Review in: Journal of International Management 13(3), 2007, 398−399. [PDF]
Francesco Duina, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine; Review in: American Journal of Sociology 114(1), 2008, 276−278. [PDF]





Wolfgang Streeck
: Foreword
1   Dilemmas of Internationalization
2   Societal Effects Between a Vacuum and a Tropical Climate
3   Emergent National Distinctiveness Through International Exposure
4   The South Germanic Bedrock Under Foreign Incursions
5   The Governance of Work Systems
6   Enterprise and Management and Corporate Governance
7   Making Sense of Internationalization



Arndt Sorge, Professor of International Business and Management in the Faculty of Management and Organization, University of Groningen.
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