An Evaluation Report of an article by Maral Muratbekova-Touron From an ethnocentric to a geometric approach to IHRM: The case of a French multinational company", Cross-Cultural Management


The article by Maral Muratbekova-Touron (2008) studies the case of one French multinational company which has undergone a process of reconstruction because of the Anglo-Saxon multinational companies.  The organization under the study is Lemma group that is used to represent the French multinational company. The paper will provide an evaluation and distinct analysis of the article based on its structure and the theories that the author used to support the research. The report has described models such as ethnocentric, and the geocentric used by the French manage to run their organization. Therefore, based on the models and the theories, the researchers stated that ‘’the forces of globalization forced this multinational company to shift from ethnocentric approach to a geocentric approach to its international human resource management.’’ Using the regression analysis, the researcher concluded that a firm’s culture is a significant factor affecting its international human resource management approach.

The rationale for the study was described by the researchers as a requirement to analyze the change factors that necessitated more formalized and improved techniques based on management appraisals, uniform selection, and global recruitment. Therefore, the research seemed to fill the gap on to the many answered question about the role of organizational culture in the human resource management. The scholars and researchers such as According to Caligiuri and Stroh (1995), in the report, appear to understand the need to the global integration based on adopting a geocentric approach in solving the dilemma in the Lemma human resource management. The strategy is used to balance the global integration and local responsiveness due to the need for proper management for the international organization. Therefore, the article has utilized theories and models that promote and support the research conducted by the author. The paper will analyze the effectiveness of the study and evaluate the resources used to claim the research notion and furthermore the topic.

Brief description of the article

‘’From an ethnocentric to a geometric approach to IHRM’’

The purpose of the article was to investigate and find out about one French multinational company which has gone through a process of modification and globalization process due to the acquisition of Anglo- Saxon multinational companies. The article investigates how the firm modification affected its approach system to the international human resource management. The methodology process is based on one case study of Lemma group. The author uses resources from various sources to form part of the research process and source of information. Moreover, she obtains information from direct interviews with the top managers of the organization and also from the different documentation. The author finds that ethnocentric model becomes inefficient for the same organization which has doubled its size and its international activities. Therefore, it is shown that the organization has to adopt the geocentric model to accommodate the change and to restore the dilemma about the management of the human resource. The author derives around five research proposition obtaining information from various theories for the efficient research process.

Theory and literature

The application of literature and theory review was extensive and was broken down logically into various sections. The scholars such as (Bartlett and Ghoshal 1988; Adler and Bartholomew

1992; Kamoche 1996) and Caligiuri and Stroh (1995) are used in the study to come to the fourth proposition which is ‘’ the forces of globalization (the acquisitions) constrain Lemma to change from an ethnocentric approach to a geocentric approach to its IHRM.’’ The article provides models such as geocentric model approach which the author uses as the primary solution to solve the dilemma existing in Lemma group with the acquisition of the Anglo Saxon cultures and value for international integration. According to the scholars, the geocentric approach to international human resource management is the best method to deal with the global integration- local adaptations to the challenges. The Lemma group was faced with this dilemma due to its national culture that influenced its operation in the organization especially on the side of human resource management. The researchers describe this as ethnocentric approach model where an organization places the top managers to the forefront in all integration process.

Moreover, the author uses many scholars to assist come up with the four research proposition. However, I think some sources used were not necessary since they only act as repetition factors in the report. For example resources such a (Schuler et al. 2002; Sparrow et al. 2004) and (Laurent 1983; Hofstede 1991; Adler and Bartholomew 1992; and others), explain and illustrate about the relationship between the national culture and organizational cultures affecting some business operations which should be considered. The author should have considered taking one of the articles which could have assisted in bringing out a proposition that is needed for the evaluation and reaching a conclusion. However, this strategy is necessary for emphasis and also for accuracy (Zainal, pg.1567)

I agree with the way the author has used the scholars and research documents in the article. She has used the article step by step to promote and support his final claim. This is evident in the way she has derived the various propositions to support the claim. Moreover, different research documents have been linked for emphasis and clarity of the point (Patton, pg. 304).

Research approach

The author chose to use direct observation and interview methods to conduct the research. However, from some scholars, this method of data collection is sometimes biased since an individual might give wrong information that could alter the effectiveness of the research. However, by the author being an employee in the company, it can be effective since she has the operation of the organization and thus she can also reach some of the essential organization personnel like the CEO. Moreover, she has the trust of the employees and even the first-hand information. The author conducted about 24 interviews with the top managers of Lemma which lasted for between forty minutes to two hours to ascertain the research (Creswell and Creswell, pg. 245).

Therefore, the advantage of these methods of data collection was that the author was an employee in the same organization and working in the department of the HR. She was close to understanding the changes and the dilemma facing the organization (Sturges and Hanrahan, pg. 67). Moreover, the inclusion of the letters from the CEO, annual reports, and brochures from Lemma human resource department was effective for validation and clarity of the data obtained. Moreover, the author was also able to analyze and obtain information on the state of the organization before and after the acquisition of the Anglo Saxon cultures. I think the research was not bias since the author herself was part of the organization.

Research findings and conclusions

The author found out that the ethnocentric model used in the organization before was not effective with the change process. This led to the adoption of the geocentric model approach to solve the dilemma within the organization based on internationalization. These findings are evident in the conclusion part of the article. The author says that Lemma group before the acquisition had the features that are connected to the French methods of management, a high context, respect for authority, and the factor of particularism.

Therefore, with the inclusion of the Anglo Saxon cultural and management values such as low context and the aspect of universalism, there was the dilemma in the organization due to the changes. There is a part of the conclusion that states ‘’ The results of the collected data allow a validation of proposition four stating that Lemma is under the obligation to change its approach to IHRM from an ethnocentric to a geocentric one.’’ Therefore, this is enough validation of the conclusion and its relationship to the findings of the research. There is no exaggeration or additional declaration that is outside the results. The case of lemma group showed vividly that the country’s culture affects the business culture. Thus, a new adoption process of formalized and standardized human resource practices about effective leadership, a uniform selection that is not based on relationship and global or international recruitment.

Implication for individual involved in cross-cultural management

The article is essential for any person who is running or engaged in cross-cultural management. The article has some relevant information that can transform the management system of the organization. Cross-cultural management is considered to be international, and therefore a geocentric approach would be valid. The article states that the national culture affects the organization culture and thus on its management. Consequently, it is essential to understand that such an organization should not be led by the national culture since it deals with several cultures and not one. From the article, the French company considered operating based on its customs before going international which brought a lot of dilemmas. These operations include things like high content situation; recruitment was based on relationships and other factors. However, due to globalization this method could not work and it forced the organization to change and implement the geocentric approach to take in the various cultures. Therefore, an individual running a cross-cultural organization should consider universalism rather than particularism.


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Muratbekova-Touron, M., 2008. From an ethnocentric to a geocentric approach to IHRM: The case of a French multinational company. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 15(4), pp.335-352.

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Zainal, Z., 2007. Case study as a research method. Jurnal Kemanusiaan, 5(1).

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