Managing in a Different Culture: The Experiences of Canadian Managers in Japan

Managing in a Different Culture: The Experiences of Canadian Managers in JapanObjectives:The aim of this assignment is to provide learners with a specific example of why it is important to understand the culture of a foreign country. A video interview database of Canadian managers in Japan is the forum for sharing this insight.Instructor Comments:Aside from solid research and textual web based explanations, another means to understand the nuances of a nation?s culture is to listen to what people have to say about it. We travelled to Tokyo in the summer of 2006 and decided to ask a group of Canadian managers what they thought about working and living in a different culture. We were curious about their experiences, their struggles, their preparations, their prior misconceptions, the role of business networks and the advice that they might be able to offer others.We also wanted to know about what made the culture of Japan unique from those of other countries. We asked these Canadians about the use of business cards, the role of silence, the set up of a business office, the etiquette surrounding dining, the role of seniority, the way to start a business relationship, the patterns of communication, the way to constructively criticize a Japanese colleague, the means to motivate a team and other important challenges such as maintaining the respect of colleagues. The collection of interviews is a fascinating look at a different culture from the perspective of outsiders. The interview responses were unscripted and respondents spoke from the heart.Assignment:For each of the first three questions below, please compare and summarize in one-half page each, the responses of five of the respondents.? Can you please describe a typical work day for yourself in Japan including how you get to and from work? WORK DAY? In your opinion, what factors would you suggest most likely contribute to the difficulties of expatriates who are unable to successfully adapt to working in Japan? FAILURE TO ADAPT? What advice would you give other Canadians getting ready to work as an expatriate in Japan? ADVICEFor each of the two questions below, please compare and summarize in one-half page each, the responses of the respondents.? What is the role of silence when ideas are being discussed with Japanese colleagues? SILENCE? Can you describe the logic and etiquette surrounding the exchange of business cards in Japan? BUSINESS CARDSPlease cite your sources in the text and please reference them at the end of your assignment. Please end your write-up with one paragraph that summarizes what you think is the importance of this assignment.Examples:! :)Example 1: Using Hofstede?s five national culture dimensions as a frame of reference, how similar is the culture of Ecuador to that of other Latin American countries?Ecuador is similar to many other Latin American countries. Its Power Distance marking is high which indicates that inequality of power and wealth within society is large and accepted by society. Its Uncertainty Avoidance ranking is also high which suggests a low tolerance for uncertainty. Societies of this nature prefer the adoption and implementation of strict rules and regulations. Change is not readily accepted in Ecuador and people are generally risk averse. It is relatively high on the Masculinity scale meaning that men are more assertive and competitive than women. Relative to other Latin American countries it scores low on the Individualism ranking meaning that family and extended relationships are more important in this country than its neighbours. Loyalty is a critical factor in this society.Source: (www.geert-hofstede.com) Retrieved December 26 2008Example 2: Please offer a description of the culture of the United States using Fons Trompenaars seven basic dimensions.The U.S. is an achievement culture. In this type of culture people are accorded status based on how well they perform their functions. In this culture, achievers must continue to prove their worth as status is accorded based on their actions. It is also a culture based on individualism where decisions are made alone and success achieved alone. Emphasis is on personal responsibility and decision making. Another dimension that characterizes the U.S. is its internal nature. People believe that what happens to them is their own doing. In relation to showing their emotions, the U.S. is somewhere in the middle between keeping their emotions in check and expressing feeling naturally and openly. Americans separate their work and private lives. The culture is specific where they guard their private space closely sharing it only with friends and family while being open to sharing in large public spaces. In terms of time orientation, the U.S. is a sequential culture. Activities are done one at a time. Finally, the U.S. is a universalistic culture where the focus is more on formal rules than relationships. The belief is held that their ideas and practices can be applied through the world without being modified to meet the specifics of the local cultures.Source: (http://internationaltrade.suite101.com/article.cfm/trade_culture_dimensions) Retrieved December 26, 2008.!

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