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With respect to the behavior of Mr. Higashi in particular, it is clear that he has not been properly educated on how best to accommodate the needs of his foreign employees. According to the case history, "he did his best to treat the foreign assistants as he would any other kohai, or subordinate, by nurturing their careers and acting as a father to them, since he knew what was best for them." (Turek, 687) All evidence based on the collective distaste developed by the program ALTs for his personality and management style is to indicate that this is not an appropriate way to approach the foreign participants. It shows a lack of education and knowledge on the subject of the visiting culture, which certainly diminishes the credibility and appeal of his management style.
This is reinforced even further where gender is concerned, with the initiation of female employees this equation only serving to complicate matters for Mr. Higashi. According to our course research, there are inherent differences likely in the cultural outlooks of interacting nations in the global market, particularly in such areas as gender orientation. Here, the association which our theories will draw between masculine and feminine cultural roles translates directly into organizational goals. We argue that this dimension "indicates the degree to which a culture values such behaviors as assertiveness, achievement, acquisition of wealth or caring for others, social supports and the quality of life. This dimension tends to draw unwarranted criticism for its name alone. It basically refers to expected gender roles in a culture." (Hofstede, 2)
With Higashi, this conflict is consistently clear, and has the impact of alienating Kelly and the other women with whom she works. Indeed, her friend Suzanne, who is of British national origin, has developed a firm sense of resentment for Mr. Higashi that is unlikely to be reversed. For Kelly, the onset would be more gradual but would ultimately develop also into a sense of resentment. Higashi persisted on enticing Kelly to greater ascendance to Japanese culture by providing her voluntarily with pamphlets and information on tea-serving, flower-tending and the ballet. On the subject of the special attention, "At first Kelly found this rather amusing, but she soon tired of it and started to get fed up with this constant pressure to 'sign up' for Japanese culture. What she resented the most was that Mr. Higashi keep insisting she try activities that were traditionally considered a woman's domain." (Turek, 687) the patriarchy inherent to Japanese culture would be on display here to a problematic degree, reflecting an unwillingness again on the part of the host institution to properly accommodate the needs of the foreign employees.
Minimally Acceptable Settlement:
As to the minimally acceptable settlement for Kelly, we must at least consider that Kelly has also failed in a certain respect to properly prepare herself for the position in question. In the preparation for her exchange program, "Kelly received a lot of information about working and living in Japan from CLAIR. CLAIR also offered several predeparture training sessions and orientations about life in Japan and its potential problems, but she decided not to attend, because after four months in Japan she already knew what to expect." (Turek, 685) This would prove to be a false assumption, and perhaps an indication that Kelly in some ways lacked the fundamental attitude required to immerse successfully into her host culture. Indeed, she does admit, as it cited in the case history, that "although Kelly had lived in Japan before, this was the first time she had worked in a Japanese office. She had learned Japanese work habits in a cross-cultural management class at the university, yet she was still surprised at how committed the Japanese were at their jobs." (Turek, 685) and quite to the point, as we have noted above, there is a certain degree of resentment which the organization's domestic employees harbor toward the westerners, whom they view as lazy or undedicated.
With these points of concession aside, Kelly should see herself as entitled, at the very least, to have the terms of her contract honored. Namely, as she and her foreign colleagues are entitled to their sick days according to the conditions of the contract, she might consider this the minimum possible settlement of her case.
As a best-case alternative, however, it might be acceptable for Higashi to simply grant the foreign employees additional paid vacation days according the terms set forth in the contract. This way, he can at the very least, save face with respect to the issue of losing a conflict in Japan. As we have established, image and impression are very important in Japanese culture, especially where organizational leadership is concerned.
Targets and Openings:
Kelly's Targets and Openings:
Kelly's primary target in this scenario will be to see that her contract is honored where the sick days at issue are concerned. However, there is an additional target to ensure that in a larger sense, cultural proclivities are not allowed to override contractual entitlements or personal freedoms.
An opening which might be seen as especially powerful is that relating to the feelings of her fellow exchange employees, Mark and Suzanne.
Collectively, the group has rejected Higashi's management style and developed a sense of resentment that will most certainly become disruptive, counter-productive and counterintuitive to the spirit of the exchange program itself. Therefore, especially as she meditates on the possibility of contacting the program's administration, she is influenced by the fact that her position will be endorsed by those in a similar situation.
The first request on the issue will of course be the rectification of classification for sick leave and the return of all entitled paid vacation days. A second settlement condition should be the intervention by the administration impressing upon Higashi the need to behave with greater cultural sensitivity. A third settlement, which would reflect a best-case scenario for the program at large would be the channeling of Kelly's critique into the establishment of a training program for current and future exchange host institutions which could help to prepare all parties for acculturation. Likewise, given that the program in which Kelly is involved is an applicant-based program, orientation such as that which Kelly chose to bypass should be mandatory.
Opening Request Justification:
We justify the opening request by considering that the contract which Kelly signed is to be honored with no concession to cultural preference such as that which Higashi has unduly applied.
As stated here above, Kelly should be held equally responsible for a degree cultural sensitivity which might have at least prepared her for the organizational conditions which are commonplace in Japan. Preparation might have at least prevented her resentment, if not her disagreement.
Framing and Cross-Cultural Differences
Kelly's framed conflict concerns Mr. Higashi failure to accommodate her contractual entitlements as well his general insensitivity to her cultural needs and those of her fellow employees.
Higashi's framed conflict concerns his experiential qualifications within the Japanese culture as they differentiate from the demands of a multicultural working context.
The dimensions of the Japanese natural culture are directly at play here, as these seem to differentiate considerably in the workplace from that to which westerners are accustomed.
As a resolution to these dimensions of the conflict, we must resolve that Kelly is entitled both to an honoring of her contractual entitlements and that the program, its foreign employees and the personnel in host institutions would benefit quite considerably from training and preparation on the subject of cultural sensitivity and crosscultural organizational orientation.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture's consequences: International differences in work-related values. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Mitchell, R. (2006). Core Negotiation Concepts. www.csun.edu…[continue]
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