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Emic & Etic: Different Lenses for Research in Culture

The Article, Published by Madhu Bala, Gloryson R. B. Chalil & Amit Gupta in Management and Labor Studies (in press), 37(1), 2012, 2012

This paper is an attempt to provide an integrated discussion of culture through both universal and indigenous approaches: etic and emic. Both, universal and indigenous points of views are very important in understanding of specific culture and its comparison with other cultures. Methodological concerns of both however have resulted in valuable yet incomplete explanation to concept of culture. Intricacies of using both in culture research have been explained in the paper. Paper uses these two lenses to discuss Indian context viz a viz other cultures in order to come up with unique aspects for Indian organizations. This way it offers a comprehensive look at culture as a concept, different approaches to capture it and unique features of culture in Indian organizational context. It also discusses the challenges of culture research in multi-culture environment of India. Few propositions for future research have been suggested. Also implications for individuals and organizations planning to operate from India have been discussed.