One of your firm's U.S. managers just returned from business meetings in Japan without having closed the business deal for which he was sent. When you spoke about it together, he said that he was sure the Japanese counterparts would sign the contract at the end because they had been so pleasant up until that point, but they said they regrettably would not do so that time without offering much explanation. He said that the Japanese company members spent a week discussing it at meetings and although it was not unanimous, most people seemed on board with the deal. The leaders nodded at him a lot, laughed at anything funny he said, and constantly invited him out for drinks or golf. He turned down most of the social times but enjoyed the positive feelings he felt from the group. Despite the leadership group's hesitancy to make any commitment, he felt he was getting close to a deal. Things were going so well, in fact, that he moved his flight up 2 days to get home sooner. When he told the Japanese team his new schedule, beyond a startled expression on a couple of faces, nothing seemed amiss. The final day, just an hour before he left, he realized that what he thought was a â??done dealâ? was not going to close.
What happened? Explain cultural differences that caused misperception and a lack of effective business dealing. What personal qualities, approaches, and techniques could have helped the American businessman communicate better with Japanese business people? What approaches and personal attributes assist in cross-cultural business communication in any country? You may relate and draw from personal business experience as well as course materials.
Ma (2010) provides that it is difficult to avoid ethical concerns in business negotiations and that uncertainty in business negotiations often results in lack of understanding about what is morally appropriate. This challenge in business negotiations is compounded further when the negotiating parties have different cultures. Hofstede (2011) states that culture is a unique character of one social group , a collective programming of the minds that results in distinction from one group to another.
There are various attributes that can be applied in understanding cultural differences and this includes individualism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity, power distance, and short term and long term orientation (Awang & Roach-Duncan, 2010). Individualism is termed as extent to which an individual is focused on his or her welfare in comparison to group welfare. Masculinity compares dominant values which include success and achievement against feminine values such as caring for others.
Cultural differences that caused misperception and a lack of effective business dealing:
Differences between the Americans and the Japanese include geography, history, language, religion, political, and economic systems which eventually lead to cultural differences between the two groups. Cooney (1989) provides that in order to understand the Japanese way of doing things it is important to understand the meaning of ningen kankej which is social relationships.
Ford & Honeycutt (1992) state that Japanese managers expect associates from America to go through socialization process in order to get to know one another better which is important in understanding the actual person under the business facade. Japanese managers would have determined whether to deal with the American managers after the socialization process since it establishes trust.
The fact that the United States manager left Japan without concluding the agreement indicated impatience which is not desired in a Japanese setting. Cooney (1989) terms Americans as impatient and that they should learn to be patient when having business dealings with the Japanese. The fact that the United States manager left before conclusion indicated that he was restless and impatient and this may have irritated his Japanese business counterparts. ...
The cultural differences in effective business dealing with Japanese business people. The cultural differences that caused misperception and a lack of effective business dealings are examined.