Reversing the Translation Flow: Moving Organizational Practices from Japan to the U.S.

D. Eleanor Westney*, Rebecca Piekkari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Building on the neo-institutional organizational translation approach and on interlingual translation studies, we undertake an historical case study of the movement of Japanese organizational practices to the USA from the 1970s through the mid-1990s. Both American and Japanese translators struggled to bring Japanese management models into the USA, reversing the dominant translation flow and bridging wide differences between the sending and receiving contexts. We use the translation ecology approach to look at the interactions over time between translators, translations, and translation processes studied separately in much translation research. Our paper makes two contributions to research on organizational translation. First, it develops more precise and theoretically-based categorizations of the elements of translation ecology – translators, translations, and translation processes. Second, it challenges the generalizability of the decontextualization/disembedding and recontextualization/re-embedding processes that are widely accepted as a necessary process in moving management models and practices across contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-86
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • ecosystems
  • Japan
  • management models
  • organizational practices
  • Scandinavian institutionalism
  • translation
  • USA


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