From "distance" to "friction": substituting metaphors and redirecting intercultural research

Oded Shenkar*, Yadong Luo, Orly Yeheskel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

288 Scopus citations


The cultural distance metaphor dominates international management research, promoting a sterile, detached view where static antecedents in the form of artificially constructed differences serve as the dominant lens through which culture is viewed and its impact assessed. We examine culture and its positivist treatment in the foreign direct investment literature using the theoretical and real-world lenses. Adopting a social constructionist approach, we propose cultural friction as a substitute metaphor centered on the actual encounter of cultural systems within a context of power relations and potential conflict between a multinational enterprise and its host country constituencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-923
Number of pages19
JournalAcademy of Management Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


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