The Jesuits and Religious Intercultural Management in Early Modern Times

Human Capital, a Global Mindset, and Missionary Work in Japan and Peru during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

by Frank Jacob (Nord University, Norway)

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This book provides a comprehensive examination of the Jesuit Order's work and influence during the early modern period, focusing on their missionaries in two distinct geographical locations when the reader is taken to the distant settings of early modern Peru and Japan. However, the book goes beyond this and establishes a fascinating connection between traditional historical analysis and practical considerations regarding personnel and company management. Frank Jacob, a Professor of Global History at Nord University in Bodø, Norway, boldly interprets the available sources, specifically the "personnel files" of the missionaries, through the lens of modern management theories and decision-making processes. Despite the valid criticisms related to the religious context of European expansion during the 16th and 17th centuries, these missionaries, driven by their mission to spread the Christian faith globally, embody qualities that today's global leaders require for the long-term and sustainable success of their companies. They demonstrate, as Jacob’s book will show, the importance of possessing a deep intercultural competence, regional knowledge, and proficiency in national languages.

Professor Dr. Thomas Gergen
Saarland University, Germany

Frank Jacob's work is a remarkable example of truly interdisciplinary research.
The author brilliantly demonstrates how a historical case, some four centuries old, can provide highly relevant insights into a contemporary question: how can organizations successfully expand internationally and establish subsidiaries in countries with very different cultures and languages?
The literature at the intersection of international business and intercultural management is based on qualitative and quantitative data from mostly private companies that intend to develop sales of goods and services abroad. In contrast, the present study focuses on the expansion of the Jesuits into Japan and Peru in the 16th and 17th centuries. Looking at the international development of a religious order whose ultimate goal was to spread beliefs and values, while at the same time ensuring the economic sustainability of the enterprise, sheds new light on the question.
Such interdisciplinary research is very rare and usually requires research teams that bring together several scholars from different disciplines. What also makes Frank Jacob's work truly extraordinary is that he led this project on his own, drawing on his dual expertise in history and management research.
Thanks to his mastery of numerous languages (including, among others, English, German, and Japanese), Frank Jacob was able to use available sources from countries as far away as Japan and Peru (in addition to Italy and Europe) in order to meticulously reconstruct the composition and activities of the Jesuit expeditions to these countries. The case studies presented provide unique field data to reflect from a (temporal) distance on the role of language and intercultural skills in the success of international ventures. I highly recommend this book to scholars in both history and international business for a truly different perspective on these topics.

Anne Bartel-Radic
Professeure des universités en Sciences de gestion et du management
Directrice de la recherche de Sciences Po Grenoble - UGA
Université Grenoble Alpes, France

This book discusses the role of human capital and a global mindset for a successful intercultural management of the Society of Jesus in the geographical contexts of Japan and Peru during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Historical data for more than 200 Jesuits has been evaluated and analyzed according to modern management theory. The work is, therefore, an interdisciplinary study related to the history of religious orders, European expansion, and trans- or intercultural management and shows how the Jesuit missionaries in Japan and Peru were able to achieve and stimulate a successful expansion of their order’s influence in these regions of the world. While analyzing a historical topic, the book is also of interest to modern day managers and those who are interested in creating a successful strategy for intercultural management.

List of Figures
List of Tables
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Literature Review
Chapter 3 Research Model and Outlook to the Methodology
Chapter 4 The Cases
4.1. The Jesuits: A Short Introduction
4.2. Japan
4.3. Peru
Chapter 5 Successful Intercultural Management and Early Modern Proselytization
Chapter 6 Management-Related Recommendations
Chapter 7 Conclusion
Works Cited
9.1. Appendix 1: Jesuit Missionaries in Japan 1549-1614
9.2. Appendix 2: Jesuit Missionaries in Peru (1568-1605)
List of Abbreviations

Frank Jacob is a Professor of Global History at Nord Universitet, Norway. Before, he held positions at the City University of New York and Würzburg University, Germany. Jacob received a PhD in Japanese Studies from Erlangen University, Germany, in 2012 and a DBA with a focus on intercultural management from the University Jean Moulin, Lyon III/BSI, Luxembourg in 2021. His main research fields include modern Japanese history, transnational anarchism and revolution theory. Jacob has authored or edited more than 100 books since 2013, and his recent publications with Vernon Press include 'Florentine Ariosto Jones: A Yankee in Switzerland and the Early Globalization of the American System of Watchmaking (2021)'.

Comparative history, global history, management studies, religious studies, early modern history, intercultural management

See also

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

The Jesuits and Religious Intercultural Management in Early Modern Times

Book Subtitle

Human Capital, a Global Mindset, and Missionary Work in Japan and Peru during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


12 B&W
Publication date
January 2024