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Japanese Companies in Germany, A Case Study in Cross-Cultural Management.

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From a series of qualitative interviews with Japanese managers and German managers and workers in thirty-one Japanese-owned companies in the Dusseldorf region of western Germany, this article discusses differences in cultural patterns and organizational styles between the German and Japanese employees and the problems these pose for communication, cooperation, and morale. First, we deal with cultural contrasts: language issues, interpersonal styles (personability and politeness), and norms regarding the taking of responsibility. Second, we examine the impact on cross-nationality relations of e...

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From a series of qualitative interviews with Japanese managers and German managers and workers in thirty-one Japanese-owned companies in the Dusseldorf region of western Germany, this article discusses differences in cultural patterns and organizational styles between the German and Japanese employees and the problems these pose for communication, cooperation, and morale. First, we deal with cultural contrasts: language issues, interpersonal styles (personability and politeness), and norms regarding the taking of responsibility. Second, we examine the impact on cross-nationality relations of established organizational practice: for example, German specialism vs. Japanese generalism; direct and vertical vs. indirect and incremental decision making. What do you understand by “direct and vertical decision-making vs. indirect and incremental decision-making”? (You may use any reference sources, but you must give citations and proper references) We also discuss efforts by these firms to find compromise systems that would meet the needs and interests of both sides. The third focus is the reactions of Japanese companies in North Rhine-Westphalia to German unions, works councils, and codetermination regulations. In the labor view, Japanese firms overall do no better or worse than comparable German firms. Japanese direct investment in Western economies is concentrated in North America and the United Kingdom. In consequence, a rich journalistic and scholarly literature examines the Japanese experience in the Anglo-American countries, the management styles and organization structures of the subsidiaries, and the relations between the Japanese management and the local workforce (see, e.g., Milkman, 1991; Lincoln, Olson, and Hanada, 1978; Pucik, Hanada, and Fifield, 1989; Florida and Kenney, 1992; Oliver and Wilkinson, 1990). There is far less writing, particularly in English, on the activities of Japanese companies elsewhere in the West. Yet the Japanese corporate presence in continental Europe is already substantial and will almost certainly grow as the European Union and the GAlT erode regulatory and other national barriers to foreign investment and trade. The topic of this paper is Japanese firms in Germany: primarily, the contrasts in culture and management style that German and Japanese employees of such firms encounter daily in their experiences on the job. Our observations come from a set of interviews conducted in 1992- 93 with Japanese and German managers in the Diisseldorf area, the region of Germany with the highest concentration of Japanese business, and, after London, the leading center of Japanese corporate activity in Europe. Moreover, while our Diisseldorf informants no doubt have their biases, they expressed confidence that, owing to its central location in continental Western Europe and easy access to the East, Dusseldorf would someday overtake London as the premier locus of Japanese business activity in Europe. Moreover, Germany-North Rhine-Westphalia, in particular-presents a valuable opportunity for research on such questions because of its substantial Japanese business activity. In 1990, Japan, at 5 billion DM, was second only to the United States and the Netherlands in direct investment in the region, this accounting for half the total Japanese investment. Germany was second only to the United Kingdom in the number of resident Japanese in Europe. Forty-five percent of the German-resident Japanese population lives in North Rhine-Westphalia, with almost 8,000 in Diisseldorf alone. A 1991 survey by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Diisseldorf found 75,000 Germans employed by 1,099 Japanese corporations in Germany, with more than 100 billion DM in profits in Germany. As a set, then, Japanese corporations have the same weight in the German economy as does Daimler-Benz. Our information on Japanese-owned companies in Germany comes from a series of qualitative interviews with Japanese managers, German managers, works council members, and labor leaders in the Dusseldorf area. We surveyed thirty-one Japanese-owned firms in a diverse mix of industries. The interviews were open-ended: we posed a series of broad questions regarding the management and industrial relations and how they were viewed by both German and Japanese employees (see Kerbo, Wittenhagen, and Nakao, 1994a, 1994b). Additional interviews were conducted with all works council members in six of the companies. In all such interviews, we solicited impressions and details on the relations between Japanese company officials and their German employees. We asked the Germans to contrast their Japanese employer with German companies they had worked for in the past. In a number of firms, the Japanese managers we interviewed had experience in the United States and elsewhere in Europe. Finally, we interviewed labor union officials regarding union and works council activities among the Japanese companies of Dusseldorf. The list of corporations from which we selected was provided by the Japanische Industrie-und Handelskammer zu Diisseldorf, which identified all the Japanese corporations and their top management personnel for the year 1992. The thirty-one companies included three financial services firms, seven large trading companies, one engineering firm, two heavy manufacturing firms doing marketing research in Germany, and eighteen other manufacturing corporations. Of the eighteen manufacturers, only seven had production facilities in Germany, the activities of the remainder being limited to sales, service, and R & D. We attempted in every organization to interview the highest level Japanese and German managers, either together or separately. However, in a relatively small number of firms, our contacts were exclusively from one group or the other. The works council interviews were conducted exclusively with Germans and with no managers of either nationality present. The article is broadly exploratory and somewhat normative in tone, What do you understand by ‘normative’ as contrasted with ‘positive’ statements? Give an example to show that you understand the words. not hypothesis testing in the conventional sense. Our concerns are with how sociocultural differences combine with organizational styles to complicate the working relationships between Japanese and German employees. Some contrasts in how the Japanese and Germans approach organizational life are deep-rooted in societal values and customs; others reflect the institutionalized practices of the Japanese or German firm. Both complicate cross-nationality relations in the workplace but the institutional contrasts are, in a sense, less fundamental and more amenable to adjustments that allow for common ground. In the case study, institutional contrasts are seen as less fundamental and more amenable to adjustments that allow for common ground, than deep-rooted societal values and customs. Explain why this might be true. You may refer to your readings of Hofstede and others on the meaning or meanings of ‘culture’. German economic organization, corporate structure, and management practice bear strong resemblance to patterns in Japan. Yet in other respects, the Germans and the Japanese seem poles apart. How these similarities and differences shape the relations between German and Japanese employees within the Japanese-owned company and, consequently, its success and viability are the subject of our inquiry. Social and Cultural Barriers The Japanese of Diisseldorf The Diisseldorf community of Japanese residents is the oldest in Europe. Its origins trace to the business ties which Japanese steel and trading companies forged with German heavy industry in the Ruhr region. The tight-knit Japanese Dusseldorf enclave, like that of Scarsdale, New York, and other Western residential concentrations of Japanese expatriate families, provides all the services, facilities, and social supports that Japanese managers and their families require to maintain a Japanese life-style during a German tour of duty. Stores and restaurants offer Japanese foodstuffs, clothing, and home furnishings; enclave schools enable expatriate children to pursue a Japanese education undisrupted by an overseas stay; cultural activities (music, art, classes in flower arranging, tea ceremony) preserve Japanese cultural ambience and provide outlets for the interests of Japanese managers’ wives; clubs, associations, and neighbors offer a supportive network of acquaintances and friends. This self-contained expatriate society offers real benefits to the rotating Japanese managers in the North Rhine subsidiaries of Japanese firms. It permits assignment to the region with less shock to family life than the typical Japanese corporate transfer occasions. Yet the negatives are prominent as well. Insulated from real exposure to German society beyond their encounters in the firm, the average expatriate Japanese learns far less from his German tour of duty than he otherwise might, even though the benefits of a globalizing experience were probably a factor in the parent company’s decision to dispatch him abroad in the first place.1 Moreover, the size and isolation of the Dusseldorf enclave feed suspicions on the German side that the Japanese are by nature clannish and reclusive. By the same token and combined with the recent epidemic of antiforeigner sentiment in Germany, the lack of real exposure to German society and culture exacerbates Japanese anxieties over German racial prejudice, although the Diisseldorf Japanese have by and large escaped harassment by German right-wing groups. Nothing written that is it .but same like next one i reconed like India and china one but not so vast i think..it’s all about cross culture management Write a report of 2000 words – that must be university standard level cause they both are Doctors and they need high standard report please. This one must be in 5th dimension re-designated and pragmatic verses normative

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Cross cultural management is a concept deals with the management of various people at work in the organization belonging to various corners of the world and having different cultures. There are various differences in the culture of the organizational people in respect of a particular task be proper or against the ethics of a particular culture. There should be a proper control of such type of cross cultural impacts in the organization so that proper working environment is maintained and there might be proper workflow and no communication gap prevails in the organization.

One of the aspects that could be looked is the decision making process on which major part of the control and working of the organization depends upon. As the decision making process is different for different type of organizations as witnessed by the people of various cultures.

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