Cross Cultural Management
There has been an increase in the mutually intertwined processes of internationalization and globalization among organizations and other entities. Culture refers to the characteristics of certain people defined by similar traits, for instance: language, religion, and cuisine (Padhi 2015). Currently, it is significant for organizational leaders or managers to be aware of the cultural differences among employees and places of their operation. The culture of particular people gives them a general cognitive framework of understanding the world. More importantly, culture recognition is significant among organizations because it offers a context through which employees and other shareholders can communicate and interact. Therefore, any career or profession across the globe should be linked to cultural habits.
As a result of globalization, many organizations are incorporating different people from diverse cultures, which necessitate the need for effective cross cultural management skills. The parties entailed in global organizations from different cultures include employees, business partners, and customers. This study will focus on GreeChic organization with operations across the world. One of the organization’s managers has been transferred from Netherlands to Japan, and since she is joining a new environment with different cultural contexts, there is a need for her to understand the dynamics of the Japanese culture. This knowledge will enable her to perform her duties effectively. This report provides important information about Japan, the manager’s new destination, with an aim of assisting her to develop effective cross cultural management skills that will ensure she undertakes her responsibilities effectively.
Macro Level Facts about Japan
Japan is situated on the eastern edge of the Asian continent, with an area of 377, 385 square kilometers. Comparatively, Japan is smaller in terms of land than the California State in the U.S. Japan is situated on the northeastern verge of the Asian rainy season temperature belt, which makes it experience high amounts of rainfall. The climate in Japan is impacted by the double Siberian meteorological conditions pattern and southern Pacific, thereby resulting in more moderate weather. In a full year, Japan experiences high humidity and autumn weather that is normally clear and bright.
The economy of Japan is among the most technologically advanced non-west nations after the United States (Kimura 2009). The total GDP of the nation at the market exchange is estimated to be $4.008 trillion, which comes third globally after the U.S. and China. Japan is also among the leading nations in the world in terms of per capita GDP exchange rates at an estimated rate of $36,232 annually. The nation has also been acknowledged to be the first country to develop a large urban middle class industrial society. Japan has a high labor force with a distribution of employed workers in several services, for instance in the industry and agriculture. In most cases, employers relied on customary, paternalistic and authoritarian control of employees, but that has changed and many workers are now enjoying more permanent status. The workforce in Japan also enjoys a union membership, which is the greatest strength for the employees at different levels of employment.
Japan and Netherlands
The theory of Hofstede’s cultural scopes entails a structure that revolves around different cross cultural communication. The framework was invented by Geert Hofstede (Hofstede& and Hofstede 2005). These scopes depict the influence of culture entrenched in the society on the values of societal members. They describe the relationship between values and behaviors that are analyzed through a factor-based framework (Oyserman 2006). Currently, as a result of globalization, the international business has expanded with different organizations expanding across borders (Muhammad et al 2011). This means that the element of culture is significant. The knowledge of how different elements of a given business are regarded in the new culture is important in assisting the manager to understand and navigate through the new business environment market successfully. According to Hofstede, there are six main cultural dimensions that this report will apply in analyzing the different cultures exhibited in Netherlands and Japan.
This component addresses the issue of power balance in the society, that is, equality among people in the society, which determines relations between organizational leaders and employees, particularly in foreign investments (Białas 2009). In the Netherlands, power distance is lowly dimensioned. Power among managers in the Netherlands is decentralized and most of the leaders depend on the experience of employees and other team members. Employees anticipate to be consulted in any decisions being made and communication is participative and direct. Employees also do not like being controlled and their attitude towards managers is informal. In Japan, there is a cognizant of the hierarchy in organizations, though not intense like in other Asian nations. Decisions must be approved by all levels of the hierarchy from the bottom to the higher ranking managers, thus, making it slow.
Individualism refers to the level of interdependence among members in a given society. This is portrayed by how people regard their self-image through the use of words such as I, And, and We (Hofstede 2001). In the Netherlands, citizens are highly independent, hence individualistic. This means that there is a social structure in which people are expected to be liable to their families. This also implies that there is low self-esteem, as employees deal with employers on contractual terms and mutual benefits that also affect the management. Japan, on the contrary, is a collectivistic society that emphasizes the collective expression of individuals. This is exemplified in their loyalty to the employers, family and society. These means that compared to the Netherlands, Japan is a more collectivist nation.
The scope of masculinity according to Hofstede shows that a society is driven by competition and attainment of success. A feminine focused society, on the other hand, emphasizes the needs of the people and quality of life (Hofstede 2001). The Netherlands society tends to be feminine because it focuses on the balance between work and life. An effective manager in Netherlands supports his/her employees and engages them before making any decisions that affect their lives. This implies that managers try to find unanimity from their subjects since they believe in balance for everything. In cases of conflicts, affected subjects are solved through compromise and negotiation. Japan, on the other hand, is a masculine nation. However, due to the collectivism nature, much of the competition in the country occurs among different groups and not individuals. In organizations, employees’ motivation is derived from winning groups against their competitors. Masculinity in Japan is also portrayed through workaholism, an aspect that has enhanced the gap between men and women since most men spend a lot time in their occupations.
This refers to the societal way of addressing the concept that the future is unknown and they feel threatened (Hofstede 2001). In the Netherlands, the society population is characterized by the preference of avoiding uncertainty. This makes the nation uphold stiff behaviors on unconventional ideas. In Japan, there is a high tendency of uncertainty avoidance among the population. This concept has been enhanced by the nation’s constant threats emanating from natural catastrophes; for instance, earthquakes, tsunamis and eruptions. This triggered the nation to be ready for any uncertain situation. In organizations, adequate time and resources are spent on probability work and all risk factors are considered before undertaking any corporate project. Organizational leaders, therefore, ask for all relevant materials, facts, and figures before making any decision, an aspect that makes the change process in Japan difficult.
Long Term Orientation
Long term orientation refers to the ability of a society to connect with past occurrences in order to deal with current and future situations. The Netherlands is a pragmatic society where people believe in the truth that is determined by circumstance, context and time. The culture in the nation displays an ability to easily conform with traditions to even transformed circumstances and hold on it so as to attain success. Japan is a long-term people-oriented nation where individuals view their lives as a short moment in the long history. This means that to Japanese, fatal situations are not new and achievements can be made in the present situation. In organizations, this implies that Japanese firms make long term impacts and believe in their durability. Organizational managers ensure that organizations’ goals are meant to benefit the stakeholders and society.
Indulgence refers to the ability of people in a given society to control their yearnings and impulses. The culture of the Netherlands population is characterized by indulgence, meaning they are willing to realize their yearnings and desires in terms of enjoying their lives and having fun. Many people in the Netherlands value leisure time and can spend their cash the way they want. Japan, on the contrary, has a very low indulgence rate and the population does not focus much on leisure time or any activity that is meant for gratification purposes. Many people in Japanese society believe they are responsible for all their actions, which are controlled by social norms. Indulgence to them is like going against the social norms.
Integrating Appropriate Cross Cultural Theory
As a leader of an organization in Japan, a different place with dissimilar culture, the most important aspect is being able to solve problems that the organization faces with regard to the appropriate culture in order to be effective. It is evident from this report that Japan is one of the competing nations in the world. Furthermore, according to the Hofstede’s cultural structural analysis, certain elements are significant to the organizational manager in her responsibilities as well as observing the cross cultural managing concept. Managers play important roles regardless of their location, for instance, decision making, harmonizing the production process, developing employees, communicating and maintaining cultural intelligence.
In approaching these managerial responsibilities, it is crucial for the manager to uphold the Japanese culture, which is different from the Netherlands culture. The manner in which Japanese managers deal with employees is different from that of Netherlands’ managers. For instance, in Japan, there is much focus on consensus in decision making that allows all parties to play a role in settling on a given course of action. The Japanese organization allows for a debate on an issue until a satisfactory decision is attained and the organizational managers make decisions based on the mutual agreement. This might not be the case in the Netherlands; the manager through leadership and cultural intelligence observes the cultures and conforms to them.
In addition, unlike in the Netherlands, the Japanese organizational culture puts more emphasis on communication as a way of addressing problems and other issues within the firms. Defining a question in making decisions among the Japanese culture ensures an elaborate communication by the management team that provides amicable solutions in a process that incorporates everyone. Therefore, the initial responsibility of the organizational leader in managing different culture is to understand how roles are carried out in different cultures (Moran et al. 2014). The challenges the manager will face with regard to the new culture includes different communication styles, attitudes towards work and life, approaches to undertaking responsibilities, ways of decision making, disclosure and understanding new things.
In any organization, employees play a significant role in achieving organizational objectives. For employees to be motivated, the manager’s effort and system of control is crucial. Managers should be sensitive about the employees’ expectations to enhance teamwork. With regard to this report, the manager should observe three important things in Japan. Firstly, she should acknowledge the differences in culture between the Netherlands and Japan. She is expected to research and familiarize herself with the Japanese culture both outside and within the organization. Secondly, after researching on the culture, the manager should apply the culture in execution of her responsibilities to ensure that employees are comfortable with the expectations of the society in their occupations. This will also avoid misunderstandings in the organization and new cultural environment.
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