HR Issues Handled By Japanese Organizations Based On Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions There are several different challenges for Human Resource Management teams in organizations throughout the world. The HR strategies of these various organizations are very dependent on the culture of the country in which the organization resides. Hofstede’s theory of cultural dimensions is a great way to distinguish between the traditional HR aspects of organizations in different parts of the world.
Although both the United States and Japan have very successful companies, there are differences in the way these organizations handle HR issues. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions takes into account different policies and procedures regarding Human Resource Management. The five main components of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions include individualism versus collectivism, power distance, avoidance of uncertainty, masculinity, and long-term versus short-term orientation (Ivancevich, 2010). These five dimensions form the core strategies behind Human Resource Management in their respected companies in different areas of the world.
Individualistic societies tend to put more importance on individual goals and performance, while collective societies put more emphasis on group work. Power distance describes the amount of acceptance of inequality among a large group of people. Cultures which have a high avoidance of uncertainty wish to know what the future holds through a structured environment, and are not in favor of unpredictable situations. Masculinity assumes that men take control in an assertive and competitive way, and females take a role of modesty and nurture (Ivancevich, 2010).
Lastly, long-term orientation assumes that a culture takes into account the future when making decisions. This is quite different than short-term orientation which emphasizes instant results when coming to a conclusion. The long-term versus short term dimension was originally added to Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions based on countries which studied the teachings of Confucius. However, this dimension is now applied to other cultures which have not necessarily been influenced by him (Hofstede, 2011). The Japanese culture scores quite differently from the United States on Hofstede’s model.
Japan scores lower on individualism and higher on power distance, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation (Hofstede, 2011). These differences dramatically affect the way that HR personnel handle issues in Japan versus the United States. Each of these dimensions directly affects the way that HRM policies and practices can be executed within each country. The Japanese are more of a collective society, and put emphasis on the group instead of the individual. From a family perspective, the Japanese include all of the extended family. This is unlike the U. S. here most people take care of only the immediate family. This poses a challenge between the U. S. and Japan when it comes determining the salary and benefits for an individual. An individual in the U. S. receives salary and benefits which complement his/her direct family. The Japanese also exemplify collectivism in the workplace. More emphasis is put on group effort in Japan, whereas Americans put more emphasis on individual actions and personal accomplishments (Ivancevich, 2010). This also presents a major difference in how HR recruits for positions in a company. The U. S. ends to reward people through compensation on individual progress within the organization. For instance, U. S. HR personnel are typically looking for individuals who show self-starter skills and high individual goals when recruiting for sales representative positions. The Japanese tend to make business decisions as a group and avoid individual performance. This means that HR personnel in Japan must take a different approach when it comes to recruiting employees. Potential candidates who show teamwork skills and goals based on a collective manner would be more appealing to HR in a Japanese firm.
Japan and the U. S. are somewhat similar in power distance, although the Japanese score higher. Both societies have a wide range of distribution of power between the lower and higher ranking officials within an organization. The two countries are so close in the power distance ranking that I do not believe that the HR policies in each would be significantly different. Japan scores much higher that the United States in the Uncertainty Avoidance category. Japanese businesses are in favor of predicting and controlling future events in order to avoid the uncertain (Ivancevich, 2010).
This is quite different from the U. S. which scores relatively low in the category. U. S. organizations tend to take more risks and plan activities on a day to day basis. When planning to hire employees in the U. S. , HR would most likely look for candidates who are more aggressive and self-motivated. However, Japanese organizations might look for more of an organized and conservative person to fill the role. Predictability is key since the Japanese prefer to plan and organize situations so that there are no surprises.
Masculinity is also very high in Japan. Masculine societies tend to have men who hold assertive and competitive qualities (Hofstede, 2011). This includes strict roles between males and females. Males in Japan are expected to work and support the family, while women are responsible for taking care of the household (Bestore and Hardacre, 2004, para. 56). This makes it very difficult for females to work outside the house. This is quite the opposite in the U. S. , where women account for a large portion of the workforce. HR in the U. S. ust follow strict laws regarding gender equality in the workplace. This is not necessarily the case in Japan where males and females have strict duties and roles, and it is commonly accepted for men only to be in the workplace. Lastly, the Japanese score very high in Long-Term Orientation as compared to the U. S. Long-Term Orientation is very common among Asian cultures. The Japanese tend to consider the future more than U. S. organizations. This can be reflected by the fact that Japanese employees are considered to be lifetime employees in certain industries.
HR in Japan must take careful consideration when choosing employees who will be part of the organization for a long period of time. This is different from U. S. organizations which often restructure and change employees on a more frequent basis. The Japanese and American cultures contrast in several areas. HR policies and procedures in both countries are forced to take different approaches. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions help to highlight the similarities and differences between these two countries.
Human Resource Management in both cultures can utilize these dimensions to help form strategies within their respected organizations. References: Ivancevich, John M. (2010) Human Resource Management (11th ed. ). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin Hofstede, G. (2011) Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimensions. Retrieved January 20, 2012, from: www. geert-hofstede. com Bestor, T. and Hardacre, H. (2004). Contemporary Japan: Culture & Society. Asian Topics on Asia for Educators. Retrieved from: afe. easia. columbia. edu/at_japan_soc/common/all. htm