Globalization and Identity Formation: A Postcolonial Analysis of the International Entrepreneur
In the United States, the past twenty years has witnessed a growing academic interest in understanding 'globalization,' i.e., a series of interconnected social, cultural, and political processes occurring under integrated economies. Management scholars have tried to understand globalization in terms of its potential consequences for companies conducting business in various countries and regions. However, globalization involves more than this, for as new relationships between people and places occur, new ideas about who they/ us are in those relationships also emerge. How can international management scholars thus understand these complex relationships occurring under globalization? How can they theorize and study such relationships? Although there are multiple ways to address these questions, the approach to globalization within U.S.-based international business and management research has been insufficient. First, meta-theoretical assumptions supporting U.S.-based management theories and practices have seldom been questioned in regards to their deployment in non-Western contexts. Second, the emphasis of this research on "cultural differences" implies "separation" and may conceal social and cultural formations established through global relationships. Thus, alternative approaches to understanding business practices in the context of globalization are needed. To this effect, I first develop the notion of identity formation , based on poststructuralist and postcolonial theories, as a conceptual framework, in contrast with the modernist views of identity informing the extant international management literature. I suggest this notion as an appropriate focus of analysis for understanding contemporary relationships between people in the world. To demonstrate these arguments, I conduct fieldwork focused on the international entrepreneur, specifically the Turkish entrepreneur. Relying on an extended case study design and a multi-method approach, I examine how Turkish entrepreneurs in high-technology sectors in the U.S. and in Turkey engage in identity formation processes. The identity formation framework allows me to demonstrate how globalization processes occur relationally through embedded discourses of hybridity, gender, subalternity, and nation articulated by international entrepreneurs. I further address how postcolonial lenses allow for conceptualizing encounters between West and non-West occurring under globalization as a series of interdependent events at the locus of identity formation. As such, my dissertation offers a theoretically distinct conceptualization for globalization research in international management.