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3) Hiroko taking Jack to her family's home -- Eliot realizes that he is the outsider, the one who is bumbling, even his long legs do not fit comfortably under the table. Hiroko is obviously fond of him, and in the simple ceremonies of dining, and the reactions of her grandparents, Eliot realizes that it is again his own "bumbling" that is causing the conflict, not Japanese culture. In addition, Eliot learns that "The Chief' is actually Hiroko's father, who is quite literate in English, but proves to Eliot that he is in Japan, it is up to him to learn some Japanese.
4) the team's reaction to his apology -- Realizing his set of faux-pas, Eliot admits his deficiencies to the team, and rather than his expectations of continued ostracizing, Eliot learns that there is a real camaraderie within the team, that they genuinely like him, and once he has proven his respect for their common goals, will be on his side so that the team, together, can become successful. This humbles Eliot into another realization that it is self-change that is necessary.
5) 5) Cross-cultural management, and international business, often functions as catalyst for change. What were some of the major, permanent changes on both sides (Selleck, as an individual, and the Japanese -- both individually and organizationally) due to this single job change of Sellecks to Japan?
Eliot as an individual -- From ugly American to unique and tolerably gaijin.
Becomes more cross-culturally aware
Patience and Politeness are improved
Learns that it is the team that wins the game, not the star
Respect for another way of viewing the world
Respect that others may have knowledge important to him
The individual is less important than the collective
"The Chief" -- From staunch and unemotional "boss" to wry and humorous change agent
Realizes that compromise is acceptable
Understands that there are weaknesses in the collective system
Grows to enjoy the more outward emotionalism of Eliot
Finds the voice to use humor to manage
Realizes that all traditions are not perfect
The Japanese Players -- From meek, but passionate players, to active and energetic teammates who learn to enjoy themselves, and improve in the process.
Sports can be fun, too
Wining is important, but team relationships are more important
They are not always defined by their performance
Americans can change
It is a combination of American arrogance and Japanese respect that help make them better players
Hiroko -- From inwardly quiet to inwardly wise
Sometimes teaching can be the best lesson
Everyone has their moments of glory
Tradition is important, but matters of the heart are inexplicable
Love conquers all
B. Cross-Cultural Management Recommendations
1. What do you recommend Agency X implement in the future to prepare American baseball players for working in Japanese culture, returning to the U.S.A., and bringing back a new expatriate spouse with them?
Cross Cultural Training -- Necessary on both sides to understand the basis of cultural differences; important to at least be exposed to the historical relationship between the two countries, and the demographics that lead to cultural differences. Once both sides understand the basis for behaviors, they do not seem as strange.
Basic Language Skills -- More Japanese speak rudimentary English than American speak even a few words of Japanese. Ensure that if an expatriate spouse issue is looming, extended language training be offered. Without adequate ability to communicate, the spouse of either gender will feel isolated and alone.
Viewing Japanese Films -- Most American films are released in Japan at about the same time as they are in America -- but most Americans have never seen a Japanese film, or experienced something cultural from Japan.
Counseling in individual and group differences -- Offer appropriate individualized counseling to help overcome the cultural expectations and issues that arise. Exposure to numerous cultural functions, intellectual understanding, but practice within real situations.
2. Using each of the model's five dimensions, what changes would you recommend as most functional to the owners and coaching staff of Japanese teams who hire your American clients -- the American set of values, the Japanese set of values, or a third set of combinations?
Figure 1 -- American and Japanese Value Scale (Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions: Source, geert-hofstede.com)
(2) -- Japan's IDV index is 1/2 that of the United States
(3) Japanese MAS, UAI, LTO are high stable; each declines rapidly for the United States, with U.S. LTO the lowest denomenenator of all.
Modern Americans have relatively little class distinction; learning to understand that titles of respect and different structures exist within Japanese culture, and acting appropriately.
Inequity and hierarchy are part of cultural norms; but likely that increased Westernization has eroded some of this in recent decades. With more experience, come to realize that all societies are unequal, some just more unequal than others.
Solution -- reduce hierarchical expectations on both sides; work to understand different levels of structure.
Lose bonds and highly individualized, would need training on team-building, working within a team, and understanding the importance of teamwork.
Largest difference with American culture; not eager to express one's individualism, also very dependent upon hierarchy. To work with Americans, need to understand that not all cultures perform collectively.
Focus on team efforts, continually emphasize the team approach; flatter individual contributions, but reward the team.
Medium, not understanding of the cultural roles of the female, esp. after the Feminist Revolution of the 1960s and 70s. Cross cultural training and attention to this cultural aspect of Japan needed.
Gap is narrowing between men's and women's values, but still a part of tradition in public. Helping Americans understand this cultural difference will enhance communications.
The narrowing gap, at least professionally, makes this a minor point; understanding for public persona necessary.
Fewer rules, more relaxed behavior, typically more tolerant of other ideas, thoughts and beliefs. This might be a positive aspect for Japanese-American relations.
Belief that there is one truth, a lot of rules, and the Japanese method is correct. Again, cross-culturally, important that the Japanese understand a more tolerant approach.
Cooperation and compromise while still retaining respect for authority.
Likely because of the conglomeration of cultures, there is really no "American" tradition. Learning Japanese traditions, and the reasons for them, would be necessary to foster open communications.
Partially a Confucian heritage, Japan takes the long-road, a non-hurried approach to the goal; understanding that happiness is found on the journey, not just the destination. This point of contention will be most relevant in training issues.
Slow down the Americans, Speed up the Japanese; a middle-point is the key.
Adler, N. International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior. Florence, KY:
Hofstede, G. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York:
McGraw Hill, 2005.
Kealey, D. And D. Protheroe. "The Effectiveness of Cross-Cultural Training for
Expatriates: An Assessment of the Literature on the Issue." International
Journal of Intercultural Relations 20 (1996): 141-65/
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