Irina Lyan was a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Irina is a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship for outstanding doctoral students (2013-2017) and of post-doctorate fellowship from the Davis Institute of International Relations and the Truman Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2017-2018). Her main research interests include the impact of national and global cultures on interorganizational dynamics. Irina published several articles and book chapters on cross-cultural encounters in Israeli-Korean business collaborations and on the international reception of Korean popular culture including the inviter paper for The Routledge Companion to Cross-Cultural Management (2015, with Michal Frenkel and Gili S. Drori).
In cross-cultural management theories, cultural similarity across national borders is grounded in objective characteristics of the two societies and promises an easier collaboration between the two. In this presentation I examine the ways in which participants of international collaborations perceive the similarity between the nations they represent, and in relation of each to the notion of Western-ness. More specifically, I build on a postcolonial understanding of similarity, demonstrating how Korean and Israeli managers conceptualize each other as “almost same, but different.” The paradox of (dis)similarity unveils the process in which similarity overlaps and even enhances the difference by being projected from a symbolic center to its periphery.
Irina's research project will examine the expansion of education markets toward East through core-periphery approach. With the rapid rise of East Asian economies and the increase in Asian students' mobility since 1990s, English-speaking universities have become the leading exporters of international education. However, the shift in East Asian economies from developing countries to economic elites has turned them in what she terms in her dissertation ex-peripheries, blurring and even reversing center-to-periphery knowledge transfer. This shift challenges previous studies on unidirectional flow of academic knowledge from the West to the rest of the world and underlines the importance of examining the encounters between ex-peripheries.