In the 21st century there is an ever increasing need and move to other countries, particularly the Eastern countries for investment and business opportunities. The number of Americans migrating to Japan, Russia, Germany, India and even Korea keep increasing everyday. Apart from the physical migration, there has been a rising trading trend through the Information Technology (IT) which enables many Americans to transact business overseas without necessarily being there in person, for instance it has been the trend in motor vehicle business with exportations and importations majority being from Japan for their large motor vehicle industry. The international trade has put the West and the East in a competitive edge with the competition rising each and every day, making the prices to shrink to a slim margin. There is need therefore for an advantageous edge to stay ahead of the competition internationally and sustainability of the trade momentum in the global levels of trade (Muller N., 2004).
This paper looks at the East, an Japan in particular and the significance of being able to negotiate with Japan as a trade partner with the wider aim of establishing lasting relationships with japan as well as fortify the personal cultural horizons for the managers and regular business people. It has been proven that the success of an established business relationship does not only involve the potential future outcomes for the persons involved but also depends upon the effects of effective cross cultural management. This is the ability to manage various cultures, habits, attitudes and religious affiliations. This then indicates that there is absolute necessity to understand the different behavioral communication variations in gestures, languages and signs. This will enable the manager to work with people from Japan, bearing the differences as much as possible and identifying what is of significance to them in a bid to develop and foster priorities. Research has it that future of international trade and ability to maintain the competitive edge no longer depends upon the strategic plans nor the managerial structures, not even the improvement in the technology used and the products offered but on the capacity to keep in touch with the complex and multidimensional demands of the ever globalizing business.
Function of culture in international/cross-cultural management
Culture and organizational culture
Many organizations are known to have their cultures and it is important that these cultures are maintained as the values behind them are as important as the existence of the organization or business. There can be adaptation of the cultures of an organization to the needs of the community or across given cultures but it will be noted that the key core values that basically define the business rarely change but become adaptable to the various cultures.
Culture and employee recruitment
The culture of a given community will hugely affect, the manner in which the staffing is done and the postings at the various departments. It is important for any manager from the U.S. To be ware of the cultural difference between the American ways and Japan if they were to successfully conduct business there. The American society is much more liberal in terms of employment opportunities is concerned than other countries generally, in Japan, it is noted that there is way less opportunities for women to be employed into than men (Mochizuki T., and Ogihara S., 2011). The American manager would find this information on the gender and employment in another country if he is to successfully run the organization. Within the Japanese culture, some duties are specified for men and women such that to cross the boundary can even mean failure of the department. For instance driving folk lifts and other heavy machinery is a reserve of men and bringing in a woman can result in resignation of the male drivers. The manager must know such small details when intending to effectively manage in Japan.
Culture and conflicts
The American manager going to Japan must know how the difference in culture will mean a totally different perspective of the conflict and conflict resolution within the organization. In the American or British context, the mediator would encourage a face-to-face meeting and negotiation incase there is a major conflict or dispute, while that would be the last thing to do in Japan, it would appear rude and may complicate the negotiation process and delay the resolution even more, but rather the negotiation and exchange of ideas is done through a third party (David W. Augsburger, 1992). This is how different cultures can be hence the significance of understanding the cultures in the place of operation so as to be effective in management.
Culture and decision making
This is another crucial aspect in international management since the decisions that one will make will dictate the direction of the company as a whole. There are some aspects of business culture in a region that one has to study apart from the social culture lest he risks making wrong decisions which can cost the company, for instance, when it comes to employee intake and retention. Japanese companies highly regard their usual employees and above all uphold the employees' life-long superiority structure; this has always enjoyed the backing of the stable shareholders. This culture has been highly regarded traditionally in Japanese economic wonder and a good number of Japanese management regards it as a precious tradition for Japanese companies. This needs to be understood since the American perspective is different and the employee lifelong superiority is not as much valued as in Japan and the adherence to the contract counts more.
Culture and ethics
Even though the world is fast undergoing globalization and culture shift, it is essential for an American manager in Japan to realize that for an organization to thrive in any given areas there must be recognition of what the culture of those people consider ethical and what they consider unethical. Ethics is "the study of whatever is right and good for humans" (Donaldson & Werhane, 2011) though ethics will vary from one place to another and from community to another and it is upon the manager to study the system of the society and the business community around him and make appropriate management adjustments.
Cultural patterns and social norms
There are various challenges that come on the way of an average American manager who ventures into Japan for business management roles.
In the Japanese culture they have a highly masculine characteristic and preference, they are also known for high avoidance of uncertainty, they are a collectivist society and avoid risks as much as possible. They are also known to have little regard for personal freedom and as a complementary to this, Japanese have very little individualism (De'Edra W., 2008). This is almost the opposite of the American culture where personal space is very critical, everybody minds his own business and gender balance is highly regarded. Americans are also known to be risk takers. Moving from such an environment will post quite a number of challenges which will be looked into.
Obstacles to effective cross cultural experience
There are a number of challenges that can emerge from the difference in cultures that have been discussed above. The managers may come across some of the challenges below:
Language; is one factor that affects almost every individual who travels to a new region for business. One way of overcoming this is by training in that particular language. The other way is to get assistance from a translator.
Cognitive non-congruence; where the manager in a new land can have a difficult time recognizing the meaning of some symbols or gestures. One gesture could mean a totally different thing in America from the meaning in Japan, for instance, a handshake in America is often light and brief while in japan if the…