Managing Across Cultures: Japan

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Management 335
Country Manager Training Module- Japan
Matt Hachey, Madison Brewer, Christie Charnetski

Executive Summary
Japan prides its self on a hardworking, honest culture. Many individuals and businesses from around the world find Japan an attractive culture to work with because of their success in the global market place. It is said that they’re organized, dedicated and follow timely work ethics, these are some of the foundations to their success. Two common phrases that Japanese culture reflects are “war is work” and “live to work”. These facts and figures on Japan will give you an idea on what the culture is like in Japan and how it positively affects their businesses. Population: 127 million people

GDP: $5,069 billion
GDP per person: $40,000
Unemployment Rate: 5%
Adult Literacy: 99%
High School Diploma: 95% of population of old enough age

Obtaining and maintaining harmony is a key value in the Japanese Society. Harmony also referred to as Wa, in Japanese, is strongly emphasized in the Japanese corporate world. Managers and HR’s main responsibilities include sorting out any disputes or other issues that might get in the way of harmony between people. They strongly believe that the best work and success comes from situations where everyone works together and does not let disputes get in the way of work. Due to the importance of harmony in the Japanese society, being indirect and opinionated in feedback and conversation is not considered rude, but polite. Being less critical and linear when giving your opinion or feedback avoids unnecessary disruption of harmony. It is best to generally avoid the word ‘no’, and try and use less direct ways of expressing your differences. Their attitude towards work is different from the United States’, but it works. They work until the job gets done and rarely take time off. Due to this their co-workers become family and respect is of the utmost importance. As a business person traveling to Japan it is of paramount importance to be respectful of superiors in the workplace, as well as anyone else you plan on doing business with. Without respect you have no business in the Japanese corporate environment. Their perspective on time differs from the United States style but that reflects from what they consider to be important, they are very punctual and strongly believe in making the most of time. It is expected that you meet deadlines, make it to meetings and other events cordially and always be cautious of not wasting time. They may take more time, but adjustments will need to be made to deal with that, Japanese are comfortable with that style and they do their best work following that structure. The pursuit of perfection is important to Japanese workers and realizing that fact and showing consideration for every task will make Japanese workers respect you more.

Taking these tasks as well as the ones that follow and implementing them into your business trip to Japan will supply you will all tools to seal the deal. And remember, that Japanese companies look to work with past successful business partners so following these tips are very important.

Country Culture
The general dress in Japan is formal. Business workers are more or less required to wear a gray, black or navy neutral suit to work. Workers are expected to be clean-shaven with an appropriate hairstyle. Tattoos and piecing are views as unacceptable and must be hidden during the workday. In the summer business workers are allowed to dress down due to the hot weather but still must look presentable and professional. You must not take of your jacket in any situation unless directed to do so. People in the service industry like taxi drivers, store clerks and secretaries are also required to dress formally if they do not wear a required uniform. Food

Japanese view breakfast as the most important meal of the day. Breakfast in Japan consists of more than just cereal. Rice,...
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