Professor Benjamin M. Cole has been named a finalist for a prestigious research prize in international business from the Academy of Management, a professional organization for scholars of management and organizations.
The winner of the Gustavson School of Business Award for the Best Qualitative Paper in International Business will be announced in mid-August at the academy’s 2013 conference in Orlando, Florida.
The award is given each year to the paper that makes the strongest contribution to international business theory based on the use of qualitative methodology, which includes methods such as ethnographies, case studies and mixed-methods research designs.
Professor Cole’s paper is based on a five-year ethnography of a traditional Japanese organization: a martial arts dojo.
“Martial art lineages create multi-generational cultures, many of which have far outlived other organizational forms, including even nation-states,” he explained. “There are martial arts lineages that go back over 500 years, which makes them an interesting context for understanding organizational activity.”
Professor Cole’s paper, “Conservation of Responsibility & Context Manipulation in High Context Communication Cultures,” explores how individuals in so-called “high-context communication cultures” — often encountered in Asia — communicate displeasure to individuals violating the norms of the group. In high-context communication cultures, what is not said is often considered more important than what is said.
“The purpose of the paper is to help Westerners who have no personal experience with high-context communicators to learn to recognize the hints they may be receiving from their business partners. From this perspective, it’s a very practical paper in terms of international business communication,” Professor Cole said.
Professor Cole is being considered alongside colleagues from Copenhagen Business School, Tübingen University in Germany, and Brunel University in the United Kingdom for the award, which is given by the academy’s international management division, one of 25 segments of the organization devoted to various niches within the field. The research committee of the division will evaluate all four finalist papers in a blind review, not knowing their authors, and will make its announcement during the conference.
The Schools of Business faculty congratulates Professor Cole on this great honor.