Kelly ends up accepting the job offer and moves to Tokyo with her family. Once there, Kelly encounters a few difficulties with the Japanese at work. The Japanese delay getting Kelly their presentations, don’t look her in the eye, and often seem embarrassed around her. When the day of presenting her proposal to the client company’s CEO comes, Kelly has a misunderstanding of the Japanese way of presenting business cards, thus creating embarrassment all around. When she gives her presentation no one asks any questions but she is told that it was ‘ Very good. Later to her disappointment, the company reports that they are not going to pursue the interact. Kelly s husband Joe and children also experience some difficulties in Japan. Joe is unable to find a new job and is concerned about living in a high-cost city on only one salary. As for the children, they are left out at school by the Japanese kids and are disoriented by the different customs, food, and classes. Kelly is determined to not give up on the assignment without success and feels that the three months they have lived in Tokyo is not a fair trial.
With that being said, she is now dealing with making a decision on either sticking to the assignment and pop to work things out or to return to the United States and lose her promised promotion and maybe even her job. Issues/Problems Kelly and her family not knowing anything about Japan before going there to do business and make a living makes the problem with this case a cross-cultural one. Three popular cross-cultural studies: Egger Hypotheses, The Globe Study, and Tramper’s, all help identify issues and problems Kelly and her family faced.
Egger Hefted According to Hypotheses studies, Japan is significantly less of an individualistic country compared to the United States, making them more of a collectivist society. Therefore, the Japanese put harmony of group above individual opinions and people have a strong sense of shame for losing face. When Kelly was first introduced to the Japanese it was extremely awkward and the Japanese looked embarrassed. This is because they were surprised she was a woman and were expecting a man.
Again, the Japanese got embarrassed when Kelly asked them why they were delayed in getting their projects to her and when she did not look at their business cards. All of this embarrassment felt by the Japanese is a key problem, because they do not like losing face. Another problem is that Kelly told hem too individually work on the presentations, and as stated above Japanese are not very individualistic as they rather work on a project with their whole group. Another part to Hypotheses studies that reflect why Kelly had issues in Japan, is that she probably did not know that Japan is one of the most masculine societies in the world.
Therefore, that explains why the Japanese were shocked that Kelly was a woman, because in Japan it is very hard for women to climb up the corporate ladder. Also, the Japanese are highly competitive and drive for excellence and perfection in everything. Therefore, they probably thought Kelly’s proposal wasn’t up to their expectations and didn’t want to take a risk as they are one of the most uncertainty avoiding societies as well. The Globe Study One key part to the Globe Study is assertiveness. Japan is much lower than the United States on this scale, as they prefer warm and cooperative relations and harmony.
Kelly was very assertive with the Japanese, ordering them around and giving them only a day to make a presentation, which caused another problem with this case. Also, the United States is a little higher than Japan on the performance orientation scale. Thus, this means that the Japanese do not have a sense of urgency to get things done which is again seen when they delayed getting their presentations to Kelly. Tramper’s Value Dimensions Other key problems and issues with this case can be found when looking at Tramper’s studies.
First of all, Japan takes more of a particularistic approach while the United States takes a universalistic approach. In particularistic societies it is more common to pass on insider information to a friend, and this is done when the Japanese primarily address their presentations to Peter, making Kelly irritated. The Japanese are also rather high on the emotional orientation in relationships scale, meaning they do not openly express emotions and are hard to read. This is a problem Kelly faces quite often with the Japanese.
They never look her in the eye and are silent when she tries to casually chat with them. This is again seen as a problem when she is giving her presentation and no one asks any questions. It is common in the United States to be more open and direct, which Kelly does not realize that the Japanese are not. Going along with Hypotheses masculinity dimension, Tramper has a emission very similar called source of power and status. In the Japanese society they are more ascription-oriented, meaning people are more likely to be born into a position of influence.
Therefore, women, like Kelly, are again not seen as valuable in Japan as men when it comes to doing business. Other Problems The three studies mentioned above all help identify cultural differences that caused many problems for Kelly, but there are other ones as well. For example, another huge problem she and her family encountered was that they did not know the Japanese language. Therefore this causes Kelly to get lost in a taxi, her ids getting left out at school, and her husband unable to read directions when it comes to cooking dinner.
Her husband also faces a huge problem by not being able to find a new job. Kelly said she would help him out with this problem, but no one from the United States was keeping up with her situation as well or giving her support. This causes Kelly to feel rather discouraged and wants female friends from back home to whom she can confide her problems. Overall, Kelly and her family experienced many problems and issues mainly because of their lack of knowledge of Japan. What the U. S. Should Have Done Differently Prior to
Expatriation Cross-Cultural Training Before Kelly left, they should have made her do some cross-cultural training by studying the basic areas of Japan to learn more about their food, history, politics, and culture. Not only should she have studied that, but she should have also learned about their business etiquette and traditions. Some knowledge of the Japanese language and their nonverbal communication style would have also been good for Kelly to know prior to expatriation. Selection Another important factor the U. S. Should have taken into thought, was the selection of their expatriate.
Maybe there was a different employee who was ore motivated and had more experience than Kelly to do the assignment in Japan. Also, they should have made her family part of the selection process. With that being said, maybe they should have sent a different expatriate to Japan who has no immediate family or they should have guaranteed they would have found Keel’s husband a job. Adaptability Test/Visit After the U. S. Selected Kelly as their expatriate, they should have made her and her family take an adaptability test before leaving for Japan.
By doing this it would have made them experience less culture shock and they would have been utter prepared for certain encounters they faced. Another option similar to an adaptability test, is that the U. S. Could have sent Kelly and her family to Japan earlier to do a pre-assignment visit to see if it’s a good fit. Kelly’s Alternative Solutions Fly Back to the U. S One solution to this case is that Kelly and her family would fly home, which means Kelly would not complete the assignment. The U. S. Many would then have to send a more cross-cultural trained expatriate that meets all the requirements back to do the job in Japan. Stay in Japan Kelly’s other option is to stay in Japan and try and finish the assignment. If she goes with this solution, she needs to learn more about the Japanese culture and ways of doing business as soon as possible in order to become a successful international expatriate. My Recommendation and Justification Of the two alternative solutions Kelly has, I would tell her to stay in Japan.
There are many reasons why I think this. First of all she has a job, and is making a higher salary than she was in the U. S. Plus, they will eventually get to move back and when she returns she will get a promotion. Also, Kelly gained many benefits from her company when arriving in Japan: a rent free apartment, bonuses, and education allowance for her kids at a private school. When Kelly is feeling down and wants to talk to her American friends, there is nothing a phone call can’t fix.