Compassion in the International Business Studies – Prospects for Future Research

Jakobsen, M.; Worm, V, & Horak, S. (2023). Compassion in the International Business Studies – Prospects for Future Research, critical perspectives on international business, forthcoming.
DOI: 10.1108/cpoib-01-2021-0012

This paper introduces the concept of compassion to the field of international business studies. As international business activities continuously intensify and hence generate a work environment characterized by cultural heterogeneity and pluralism, the notion of compassion in a cross-cultural context can be regarded a key skill for employees in internationally operating firms to enable coping with potential cross-cultural conflicts. In our narrative-oriented type of review, we discuss compassion in a cross-cultural context by drawing on the literature in the management and international business studies. By connecting prior research on compassion with the typical research interests in the IB domain we identify and define potential future research foci for a research agenda centering on the role that cross-cultural compassion plays. We argue that the conventional approach to learning about other national cultures and their values and norm systems need to be complemented by compassion skills, since the high level of social complexity and diversity employees working in a culturally diverse environment face today is hardly manageable alone by developing expert knowledge of respective cultural contexts in order to prevent cross-cultural conflicts. By drawing on extant research on compassion conducted in neighboring disciplines of the social sciences, we conceptualize compassion in the context of international business research. Since compassion in a cross-cultural context is new to international business research, we suggest directions for future research consisting of four research streams to guide future research on compassion in a cross-cultural context in international business studies.

Compassion, Cross-cultural Issues, Empathy, Culture, Emotions, International Business Research, Multinational Organizations.

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