YSB Professor Mooweon Rhee of Management Science has received the 2020 Best Theory Paper Award from Florida International University and the Academy of International Business, the largest association in the field of international business, for a paper seeking to give an Asian context to a prominent element of the theory of organizational learning.
Professor Rhee is the first Korean scholar to receive this award, which has been presented annually since 2017 to recognize scholars who make significant advances to theory in business research. His paper explored “Individualism-Collectivism Cultural Differences in Performance Feedback Theory.”
His study reexamined performance feedback theory, a major element in organizational learning theory, through the lens of cultural psychology. Almost all research on performance feedback theory has been conducted within the context of Western culture, which emphasizes individualism.
With a thorough review of the literature on performance feedback as his backdrop, Professor Rhee derived several propositions that reinforced the need for revisions to the theory to fit an Asian context in which a culture of collectivism is strong. Specifically, the new propositions theoretically demonstrated the difference between individualism and collectivism in how performance feedback—the divergence between companies' actual performance and expectation—affects the formation and modification of companies’ goals, exploration, innovation, and risk-taking.
Professor Rhee said, “Thanks to the continuous research support from the school, I could receive this meaningful award. Particularly, I started this research with Western scholars, the co-authors of this paper, based on a question about the existing theory of organizational learning, which is centered on Western culture. So, I personally consider the award as a very delightful evaluation.
"It is undeniable that business administration in Korea has historically been greatly influenced by its Western counterpart. However, it is also our mission as Korean business scholars to not settle for Western philosophy and ideas," he said. "We will continue to explore other themes in the organizational learning field, and furthermore, build theories that can overcome the prevalent Western-centered aspects of organizational theories."