Most theories in the field of management emerge from North America and Western Europe, collectively viewed by many as the “Western World.” These theories are written by scholars affiliated with Western academic institutions and based on Western subjects or observations. As management faculty of color who may be engaging in research on the African continent, in Latin America, in the Caribbean region, and other geographic areas, we must ask ourselves if the assumptions of a given theory hold true in the focal context. Similarly, many examples and cases used in management education are based on companies headquartered in Western countries. And, the largest repositories of instructional cases are housed at Western academic institutions. However, as management faculty of color who may be either teaching at Western universities with diverse students with familial ties to non-Western areas or serving as visiting lecturers at universities outside of North America or Western Europe, we may face challenges engaging students in assignments based on companies operating primarily in a Western context.

Since the 1980s as research domains and companies became more international, there have been calls for more contextualization in management research. According to Rousseau and Fried (2001: 6), “contextualization is a way of approaching research where knowledge of the settings to be studied is brought to bear in design and implementation decisions. This can occur at all stages of the research process, from conceptualization to writing the research article.” 1 Similarly, Egri (2013) highlighted the importance of considering context in management education.2 These and other works generate a range of questions for management scholars. Are theories, methodologies, research results, or case lessons based in a Western context transferrable or generalizable to non-Western contexts? As researchers, do we start with existing theories and determine if/how macro-level factors or indigenous management practices in non-Western contexts may call into question theoretical assumptions based mainly on Western observations? Or alternatively, should we seek to develop entirely new theories based on practices and conditions observed in non-Western contexts? As educators, do we limit the learning opportunities along with engagement of our students in both Western and non-Western contexts, and especially those of color, when we only teach them from Western sources? Or are non-Western students better served by learning the same content that their mainstream Western counterparts are being taught? What difference would it make in the academy if non-Western theories, research results, or cases became more commonly used? Would this affect business practice? Would it impact society?

1 Rousseau, D. M., & Fried, Y. (2001). Location, location, location: Contextualizing organizational research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22(1), 1-13.

2 Egri, C. P. (2013). From the editors: Context matters in management education scholarship. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(2), 155-157.

 

Please join MFCA as we explore these and other questions during our 2018 Annual Conference themed “Contextualization in Management Research, Education, and Practice.” For the second time in our history, this year’s conference will be held outside of the United States at the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados on June 21-23, 2018. We suggest that individuals arrive in Barbados on Wednesday, June 20th. All sessions, which will begin on Thursday morning and end Saturday at noon, will be at held on campus. We have negotiated a discounted nightly room rate at the Radisson Aquatica Resort (https://www.radisson.com/st-michael-hotel-bb/brbbbds) of $129 (island view) and $135 (ocean view) plus tax of 17.5% for two double beds.. Rates for 1 king bed are slightly higher. To get the conference rate, go to www.radisson.com/barbados. Select your arrival date, departure date, and number of rooms. Then click on “More search options” and enter group code MFCA18 in the designated space. Search and make the desired booking.  We are planning to provide transportation between the hotel and campus several times a day. The conference registration fee is $125 for MFCA members and $175 for non-MFCA members (includes one-year membership).  Rates for guests will be available during the conference registration process.

 


Past Conferences

 

Photos from 2017 MFCA Conferencee – Atlanta, Georgia

 

Photos from 2015 MFCA Conference – Bridgewater State University

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Photos from 2014 MFCA Conference – Orlando, Florida

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Highlights of 2013 MFCA Conference – Auburn University; Auburn, Alabama