The Role of the Management Fashion Arena in the Cross-National Diffusion of Management Concepts: The Case of the Balanced Scorecard in the Scandinavian Countries
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAdministrative Sciences. 2013, 3 (3), 110-142. 10.3390/admsci3030110
The diffusion of fashionable management concepts is an important research topic in management and organization studies. Researchers have pointed out that various actors such as consultants, conference organizers and the business media comprise the so-called “management fashion arena” around a management concept. However, a weakness of extant conceptualizations of management fashion arenas is in the lack of an explicit consideration of the dynamics between local and international actors. Drawing on the notion of “institutional duality”, we argue that the concept’s trajectory at the national level is shaped by both country-specific actors and international actors. Furthermore, we recognize that the presence and involvement of different types of actors may vary across different countries. Empirically, we analyze the level of involvement of actors such as consultants, professional groups, software firms, and conference organizers in the cross-national diffusion of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) in the three Scandinavian countries. The comparative analysis of the data shows both similarities and differences between the three countries in terms of which actors have been the most influential players. Despite certain similarities and overlaps, the three markets can be considered largely national with key local players. Furthermore, country-specific actors appear to have played a particularly important role in the early phase in terms of establishing the concept in the local markets. These findings are used to elaborate on present conceptualizations of the management fashion arena, and to discuss the role of local and international actors in the cross-national diffusion of management concepts.
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