According to Hefted, Japan is a high power distance, collective, masculine, high uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation and high context culture. High Power Distance In a Japanese organization, age, status, wealth, family name, and birthplace matters. They show great respect for age and experience and are very hierarchical. A decision has the go through a long list of decision makers on every level, before being considered by the President, resulting in a slow decision making process. Collectivist Compared to the other Asian countries, Japan is the least collectivist.

Japan’s collectivist quality lays heavily on their commitment to their groups/organization. They prioritize the organization’s need more than their family, and individuals have throng ties to their immediate family but not to their extended family system, like in China or other Asian countries. Masculine Japan’s Masculine quality does not show in individuals but rather in groups. From the young age, Japanese kids compete in sports within a group. As they grow and become a company man, they are motivated if they become part of the winning team.

Japanese workers work 10-12 hours a day, Monday to Saturday, only to spend Sunday with their families. High Uncertainty Avoidance Japanese doesn’t like surprises. Everything must be under control. They will ask ultimate questions, leaving no room for uncertainty, to make sure they get what they are promised on. They want to quantify promises into numbers and get detailed facts in order to maximize their predictability. New ideas and solutions will vigorously being challenged, but once it is accepted, everyone in the organization, from top to bottom, will support it.

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Long Term Orientation Unlike US, who tends to be more task-oriented, Japan is famous for their ‘Kamikaze’ motto, which means improvement. It is a quality control term, but they apply it broadly. They seek continuous improvement in every aspect of the organization, such s high capital rate, steady growth, and most noticeable on the high investment of R&D even in a bad economy. They not only plan and execute it, but also stop to review the results and see how they can do better. They live for generations to come. High Context Japanese employs an indirect, non-confrontational communication style.

Non-verbal language such as tone of voice and facial expressions are greatly expressed, and they won’t say “no” outright, leaving their respond to interpretations. Based on my research, I found several articles that describes intercultural interaction n Japanese business setting: A recent interview with Kenneth Killingly, A managing director at Sonoma Europe in Sweden, and an older article from John E. Reefed, who was a Vice President and General Manager of Toshiba America in 1989. I collected their comments and put them together here. Phases of Negotiation: 1.

Development of a Relationship Japanese spends more hours at work than elsewhere, hence they socialize with their colleagues to deepen the relationship and strengthen the group. There is great difference between people outside the group and within the group Like the Canal case study in Chapter 9, Japanese will take the time to get to know you. They will not talk about business during this phase but to build trust and relationship, to learn how to communicate during the negotiation process and to decide whether you are suitable to work with or not.

They will ask a lot of questions and look for a lot of information. This is necessary because they expect to do business with you on a long term basis, even when they decided not to work with you at this time, they may engage you for future possible business opportunities. A good impression from the beginning means everything when dealing with the Japanese. Japanese business attire is formal; it shows your seriousness when conducting business. Business card should be treated with respect, because it reflects the face of that particular Japanese businessman and shows how important he is.

Take the time to read it and put it in a business card holder. Never pocket, write on it, or forget about it because it shows disrespect. Once the formal meeting begins, it is deemed rude if you are late and the consequence is often harsh. Don’t take a seat before the Japanese does, y tit until they take their seats before taking yours. Sometime the Japans their eyes during the presentation or be silent for a long period after the presentation. This is normal and it is their way to concentrate and process information.

When Japanese breaks their silence it is often expressed as for the other party to reveal information. Often, westerners are uncommon the silence and started to talk around to break the silence. This is a wrong because the Japanese do not like to talk about nothing or small talk. They to keep your silence when you don’t have anything important to say. The meeting can be very formal and stiff, but once the meeting is done a hour ends, Japanese turn to their social persona; they drink, laugh, and d about business at all.

It is necessary for you to accept their invitation as to get to know each other on a different setting and on a personal level. It and makes communication much easier. If they trust you, they will trust t you are working for. 2. Task-Related Information Exchange Japanese is known for their meticulous research due to their high uncertain avoidance culture. Before conducting business negotiation, the Japanese extensive research on you, your company and the business you are offer do a lot of fact checking, planning, delivery, and many more before com project.

It is suggested that you do the same prior to the meeting. Patiently collecting information and tactical intelligence work are the key Japanese business. They are always very well prepared and learned very In the meeting, they will ask you a lot of “why’ questions and you are expo answer all of them with reasonable explanation. It is common for them to questions repeatedly, because they don’t live in a linear timeline like the do. In some cases, this process can take up to 2 years or longer. 3.

Persuasion Persuasion in the formal setting comes with your emphasis on how your benefit them, their return on investment, growth in market share and so persuasion mostly happened behind the scenes in informal settings whew no risk of loosing face for both parties. A successful persuasion with Japanese businessman is a complex blend reasoning and involvement from the other party. Even when your reasoning are correct and the facts are supportive, they will most likely refuse your suggestion in the formal setting because they cannot lose their face.

They will then take the time to discuss it within the group, to propose it to their manager and to convince the senior executives, which can take months or years. They want to own the idea, but once everyone is on board, the idea will be supported and the implementation will be quick and smooth. For example, according to Gibbous (2004), the Scandinavian Sonoma office had a direct telephone line with the Japanese headquarter. This costs them 40. 000 в? per year. When the Scandinavian Managing Director suggested changing the line for a cheaper one, the Japanese boss told him that that was impossible.

His reason is if hey sell more, than it will not be necessary to change the line. The Japanese solution was to sell more, instead of changing it for a cheaper one. After a year the Japanese suggested to change the line and they changed it. Another example, according to Reefed (1990), it was obvious that Toshiba America had to be IBM compatible. They had been living and breathing the U. S. Market, but they had two other groups to contend with-?the Japanese engineers in the Tokyo factory R&D and the Tokyo marketing group. They weren’t sure.

So Toshiba America formed a task force to go through the painstaking process of talking to distributors, lealer, and end users, gathering data, and deciding what we needed. They came to conclusion that they needed to be IBM compatible. The purpose of the task force was to get the others to buy in, which seemed to be a waste of time, but they learned that in the end, it wasn’t. When the other competitors bought in the idea, their commitment was made up by many slow decision-makings. When Toshiba finally settled on the idea of “being blue” (Vim’s color), all the players felt they owned the idea.

They were all equally determined to be “brighter blue. ” Toshiba was the first major company to come out with a successful full-featured, IBM- imputable laptop computer. They were slow in the beginning to get everybody focused, but things went quickly after that. Japanese always seeks to avoid conflicts. Their aim to politeness is often complicated and indirect. You will rarely get a “no” for rejection or refusal, instead you will hear “yes” which may mean “l hear you” and not “l accept your proposal”. The more familiar you are with the culture, the more you understand what they mean when they say “yes”.

Despite of their indirectness, Japanese masculine culture reflects on their persistence in getting what they want. They have aggressive goals, strong reasons to hold on to their position and fear of losing face when they don’t push hard enough. They don’t use aggressive tactics to achieve what they want; instead they use tactical questioning to convince everyone in the group on a direction they would like to take. Occasionally, they unexpectedly offer a counter proposal to your proposal, in which you cannot refuse if you want to get their business. . Concessions and Agreement In general, the Japanese are not accustomed with item-by-item contracts. Verbal contracts remain well accepted in Japan because Japanese men value their public petition as men of honor while written document only acts as a physical agreement between 2 parties rather than a precise tool that defines the relationship, as it is open to re-negotiation after signing, if the circumstances change. However, there are paradoxes in real business case studies. According to Mr..

Killingly (of Sonoma Europe), the development of relationship phase does not only happen in the beginning but also throughout the negotiation process. In other case, occasionally the Japanese will directly say “no” and communicate in low-context approach. When they say “no” the discussion is no longer open for debate. Lastly, the Japanese Mr.. Killingly works with emphasizes relationship with a contract to avoid any confusion. All contracts he signed are no longer re-negotiable by both parties, and were fixed for the duration of the contract.

Couple reasons that came to mind: Sonoma adopts western negotiation style. Secondly, since they work for the same company the meetings are carried out with such direct and low-context approach because relationship has been built. Conclusion One quote that speaks to me very much from Chapter 9 is “The successful negotiation between Japanese and Western businessmen usually ends up looking ere much like one between two Japanese. ” A lot of businesses arrive to a foreign market with arrogance due to their success in their home market, brand name, or other reasons.


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