Cultural framework of business
Cultural differences are often source of conflict or dispute, but it brings diversity and variety into our life. Contrast in cultures has been developed in the past and it’s based on our believes, traditions, religious and the way of thinking. The western culture has been influenced by Aristotelian way of thinking and in Eastern countries it has been more “a broad conceptual field”.
Is American culture dominating in other cultures? Yes and no. Is does dominate in some like Australian, but does not have to necessary dominate in others like Japanese, but it can influence it in some ways. In fact all cultures are influencing each other all the time.
Both Japan and America are very strong dominating countries in today ‘s world and both achieved great economic and political success. Both have a different leadership, management and objectives, and different way to reach they goals.
After WWII Japan had become one of the foremost traders in global market, kept all the trade barriers to minimize imports and allocated less than 1% of GNP for defense. Japan mainly exports food products, row material and high technology products. This is why Japanese market can be very hard to penetrate but once you in can be very profitable.
America went very different way and has got a big influence on whole world if someone does like it or not, they are an economic super power and globalization in some way influence every one of us. Even thought it is very multicultural they have got it’s own culture that has been developed over last few decades.
Both countries have got clear illusions have to do business, but the problem rises when they start dealing together and try to come to some agreements. Because there is no such a formula that works to managing cultures, both parties will need lot of effort and empathy to achieve what they mean to. Sometimes they may even not achieve it only because a cultural misunderstanding. Before you start dealing with Japanese you should acknowledge that Westerns and Japanese do not share the same way of thinking and communication and the hidden meaning of body language and silence is almost always lost in translation
This is why we should study these cultures; understand them and this way avoid all possible problems. To many Western people Japanese behavior and way of thinking may seem to be uncertain, indirect and relative but what do Japanese think of behavior of Americans? Probably ruth and to direct. We are going to try to understand better both of these two countries their rituals traditions as well as communication style and business etiquette.
Japanese business etiquette is very formal, They never call each other by theirs first names and they never talk about the business on the first meeting, usually swap their business card, drink eat and trying to find out more about the person they going to have business with. Status plays a big role, senior managers usually sit near windows and you move to the center. Facial expression and unwillingness to be specific would be an indication that what we saying is not what they want to hear. In communication silence does not mean disagreement, but showing interest in the subject. Also Japan is still very male orientated country even thought that this trend is slowly changing. They also believe that that good companies have following formula for operting: Good management techniques, encourage employs to come forward with their ides, regular meeting that everyone know what the other people are doing and how is business going, and total quality management to improve the product.
For an Americans that are not aware of this situation could be doing business with Japanese absolute waste of time, in America you want to be very punctual and talk business straight away. The first can be quite informal, handshake and eyes contact are standard greeting. In fact shaking hands in America might mean, “agreement is reached” in most Middle East countries in means “serious negotiations are just beginning”. The status is not very important and informal usually means equal. America is known for its free speech, meeting is open for all participants to contribute and disagreements are quite common. You should always ask for permission to smoke.