German-Irish corporate relationships : the cultural dimension
The thesis raises the question of whether or not in an age of internationalisation and globalisation, the cultural differences which exist between Germany and Ireland are still relevant to German-Irish corporate relationships or have internationally accepted best practices removed culture from the equation? The first three chapters establish the theoretical framework of the thesis by outlining the broadly culturalist/institutionalist approach, based on the work of Hofstede and Maurice et al, to be pursued, profiling the business cultures of both countries by analysing the components of their respective national institutional frameworks, and the examining existing approaches to the study of mother company-foreign subsidiary relationships. Chapters four to seven constitute the empirical section of the thesis. Using the interviews carried out with two sample groups (Sample Group A: 15 German mother companies and 14 of their Irish operations and Sample Group B: 7 Irish mother companies and 9 of their German operations), the mother companies in both groups are examined to see whether or not they demonstrate characteristics which are in keeping with their national business cultures. Their foreign operations are then analysed as is the mother company-foreign subsidiary relationship to determine whether or not any mother company influences are visible. The general approaches adopted by the two groups of mother companies to their foreign operations are compared and contrasted. Finally, differences in national attitudes and values are identified and their impact assessed. The analysis reveals that despite existing pressures towards convergence, the cultural differences between both countries are still relevant to the relationship particularly at the level of attitudes and values and although similarities in the mother company approaches to their subsidiaries are present, national specificities may nevertheless be detected.