ICOA Seminar by Filippo Carlo Wezel

Diversity and Performance in the Multinational Firm: Evidence from the Ships of the Dutch East India Company, 1700-1796

2017.10.30 | Merete Elmann

Tuesday 21 November at 10:30 in room 2610-S530, Professor Filippo Carlo Wezel from USI Lugano in Switzerland will give a presentation entitled:

Diversity and Performance in the Multinational Firm: Evidence from the Ships of the Dutch East India Company, 1700-1796


Everyone is welcome!

 

Abstract
The global organization is routinely confronted with the problem of managing groups composed of diverse nationalities. These problems were amplified during early capitalism, when language and religious differences created sharp divisions among workers. Empirical analyses that draw on historical evidence of the causal relationship between national diversity and subunit performance nevertheless remain rare. We deploy social categorization and similarity-attraction theories to suggest how national diversity may have affected conflict and turnover among the members of multinational teams in early capitalism. In addition, we consider workforce recruitment as an alternative mechanism that suggests a confounding of the effects of national diversity with a lack of firm-specific experience. We test our hypotheses on instances of individual punishment and desertion among roughly half a million seafarers of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and on the time to completion of more than two thousand voyages to Asia by VOC ships. Our results suggest that much of the adverse performance “effect” of multinational diversity could be explained by historical shifts in workforce recruitment, rather than by a causal impact of conflict and turnover. More generally, the study has implications for the analysis of diversity in historical contexts, when demographic heterogeneity did not yet have implications for the external legitimacy of firms. 

Bio
Filippo Carlo Wezel was appointed Professor of Organization and Management at the Faculty of Economics of USI in September 2009. He is currently Director of the Institute of Management and Organization at USI and permanent visiting Professor at emlyon (France). Filippo is also a Senior Editor at Organization Science. With a PhD in Management from the University of Bologna, he previously held appointments at the University of Groningen (post-doc) and at Tilburg University (assistant and, then, associate professor). He acquired further academic experience as visiting researcher/professor at the Wharton Business School, Duke and Columbia Universities, and at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). His research focuses on organizational identity, managerial mobility, and entrepreneurship. His work has been published in Academy of Management Journal,American Sociological Review, Organization Science, Journal of International Business Studies, Organization Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, Strategic Organization, Advances in Strategic Management, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, and Long Range Planning.     

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