Introduction to Cross-cultural Management

In today's globalized world companies are facing various cultural issues due to which they are adopting best leadership and management styles. With the help of adopting effective leadership style they can easily manage all their business operations in an more effective manner.  It also defines the principal contrasts between the styles of management adopted in Japanese and Danish companies (Mintzberg and Lampel, 1999). There are various challenges faced in the intercultural management between corporate headquarters in Denmark and their alliance partners in Japan. The present study clearly represent that how management practices in the intercultural workplace can results in better management in order to manage the cultural differences. In this study, leadership and management styles of Danish and Japanese companies have been compared in order to gain more effective results. It also helps in identifying best suitable leadership and management styles adopted by both of them in order to gain sound results. At the times of international collaboration one of the major problem faced by companies is related to the cultural differences (Sackmann and Phillips, 2004). The article given by Clausen clearly represents that how managers employ stereotypes to cope in bi-cultural environment.

The main research question which have been studied in the given article is related to the concept of cultural stereotypes. It clearly represents that how do managers precieve and address cultural problems between Danish headquarters and Japanese subsidiaries. They are try to adopting some of the best management and leadership practices through which they can easily cope up with the cross-cultural problems (Thomas and Inkson, 2004). Further, both the companies have their own goals and aims that influence management practices. The overall study gives brief description about cross-cultural management between Denmark and Japan.

Principal Contrasts Between The Styles Of Management Adopted In Japanese And Danish Companies

The Japanese market is facing huge challenges including complex system of business networking as well as hierarchical and family oriented management practices. On the other hand, Danish companies face major challenges at the time of dealing with Japanese managers due to various cross-cultural issues (Hall, 1959). Due to this issue, Japanese managers are trying to equally connect with the Danish managers. From the given article it has been clearly identified that both the countries are opposite ends of the bipolar continuum. Under this, Danish have feminine values whether Japanese have masculine values.

Case 1: Graphic design: Ongoing cultural clash

This case is based on the small Danish enterprise. This company is having very limited experience and they do not follow any type of intercultural strategies. Graphic designer of this company saw Japan as a land of opportunities with a million of customers. He is very positive about expanding this business in Japan. At the time of going through this, it is essential to build better relationship with Japanese. It is considered to be the most important priority for him. It is quite easy for Danish manager to enter into business. Japanese mainly emphasize on building better customer relationship. According to (Osland and Bird, 2000) at the management of Japanese several people are involved in the business meetings of product marketing of company whether graphic designer only travel to Japan alone in order to attend these meetings. One of the major issue faced by both the companies is physical distance. Danish manager found very inflexible and gives best presentation about the development of designs and products (Osland and Bird, 2000). Further, it has been identified from this particular case there is an ongoing cultural clashes has been noticed at the time of maintaining partnership between both the designer and Japanese manager. However, it is being identified that there is a huge difference between the management of both the companies. Danish  designer always win the discussion as he is very straight forward and he want to protect his brand. He is only focused with their expenses as well as their revenues rather than focusing on group goals. This comes across as a major issue due to which he can hurt the feelings of Japanese employees as they are very emotional and having high fear of rejection in their mind. However, due to the increasing sales both the parties can continue their partnership. But due to several cross-cultural differences as well as management differences resultant into high frustration.

Case 2: Interior design: Challenging cultural stereotypes

This case is based on the medium size enterprises of Japan. This case represent that a medium size enterprise wants to enter into the Japanese market. For this purpose, it is essential for the management team of company to have in-depth knowledge about Japanese business practices (Holden, 2002). Due to this company started the hiring of an Asia manager. He is a Danish male but having all the information about the Japanese. He can spoke Japanese as was formally educated in Japanese

culture and business practices. On the other hand, one more portfolio manager has been hired with similar educational background. Both of them have completed their studies and master’s degree in cross-cultural management and business administration with a focus on Japan. This is considered to be a best way through which they can easily do all the things in Japanese but need to implement their strategies in Danish ways. As per the Asia manager, interior design company can strategically form more stronger by establishing relationship with their customers (TajfeI, 1982). They can further establish better relationship with carefully selected group of companies on the basis of their distinctive strengths, motivation and networks within particular segments of the market. Due to this, they are facing various issues such as: engaging a direct contact with Japanese retailer partners went against the conventional means of doing business of Japanese importers. It has been identified as biggest problems occurred due to the differences in management practices as well as principles of different leadership styles. Glisby and Holden,  (2005) stated that all the western firms find themselves being slowly and helplessly sucked into the complexities of the Japanese market. But due to having combination of prior knowledge about Japan was refereed as a biggest cultural trap (Glisby and Holden,  2005). Further, both the Japanese manager carry out different perceptions in which one of them is highly concern about the quality whether another one also consider the time delivery and high quality is the biggest asset. From the above case, it has been identified that by hiring the Danish manager with having strong Japanese knowledge interior company was able to negotiate with the Japanese on their language. Due to having good knowledge of Japanese business system  and the ability to form business relationships enabled co-creation of goals (Said,  1978).

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Case 3: Tourism office creating a mix of Scandinavian 1 and Japanese management

As per the given case, it has been identified that Tourism promotion in Japan is is different from all around the globe. It is all because of having higher differences in Japanese culture. This case clearly shows that how an organization can easily capitalize their cultural diversity with the help of proper implementation of Scandinavian and Japanese management practices. The overall development of tourism products depends of the sharing of different ideas as well as all the valuable knowledge (Ragin, 1992). For this purpose, better integration between both the management practices are required. Due to this, a dual management system was established with a Danish director and a Japanese deputy director. The major issues faced by tourism office in Tokyo is related to the attitude of employees towards the work as well as sense of responsibilities and ability to express the opinion. It was one of the most important task due to the cultural differences. According to Ferraro, (2002) most of the Scandinavian and Japanese employees stated that Scandinavian management style if highly focused with the competencies of individual. Further, this case clearly represent that successful management of diverse culture  requires an ongoing efforts (Ferraro, 2002).  Scandinavian management style is one of the most effective style under which better decision making practices can be entailed. With the help of this, Tokyo office can capitalizes on cultural diversity by implementing the best of Scandinavian and Japanese management practices.

Case 4: Audio-visual company infusing corporate values across cultures

This case is highly focused with the efforts that company made to diminish the cultural conflicts by infusing the corporate culture into local subsidiaries. It has been identified that Asia managing director in Japan is having all the information about the Japanese culture. He belongs to Danish and speaks fluently in Japanese (Samovar and Porter,  1997). One of the main concern of the manager is to create a subsidiary team in Tokyo. All the team members should have to give proper information about the company’s vision, core values and employee roles. Further, this case clearly represent that how a company can made better efforts on the basis to move beyond national stereotyping through a global hiring and training process (Golden-Biddle and Locke,  1997). It has been considered as a most important management practice under which better training should be provided to all their employees as per their cultural values, beliefs and norms.

Case 5: The shoe company–developing cultural insiders

This case is based on the Danish shoe conglomerate who is traditionally bounded conglomerate partner in Japan. However, both the companies try to made different efforts in order to bridge all the cultural gap. In order to gain better Japanese business practices one initiative was taken to send young managers from Denmark to Japan (Clausen, 2006). The main purpose of sending that guy was to learn the languages and gain better insights from Japanese practices. It is the best way through which companies in both countries can develop closer  relationships with the Japanese partner and its intermediaries. The same concept have been repeated under which Japanese have sent employees to Denmark in order to learn their business practices. According to (Geertz, 1973) it is considered to be a most important process through which better human resources development efforts can be accompanied. It helps in reducing all the cultural barriers and developing better insights about the management and leadership practices of both the Danish and Japanese nationals (Geertz, 1973).

Implications For Establishing An Effective Leadership Style When Managing A Workforce Danish And Japanese Nationals

From all the above case it has been identified that there are various implications faced by the companies  for establishing an effective leadership style. Major problem faced by them when  managing a workforce comprising both Danish and Japanese nationals. Both the countries follows different culture as well as different values and beliefs (Thomas, 2006). Due to this factor companies are facing several challenges in managing a workforce belongs to different cultural values.

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According to Clausen, (2007) there are various differences in the values and culture of both the countries. It has been identified that Japanese are collectivistic whether Danes are individualistic. In the individualistic culture Danes mainly emphasize on personal achievement regardless of the expense of group goals (Clausen, 2007). People are highly concern about their own performance and they need to achieve different objectives of company due to their personal benefits. It resultant into a string sense of competition. On the other hand, collectivistic culture followed by Japanese under which people are highly emphasize on the family and work group goals above the needs of individuals as well as their desires.  Both type of cultures are having different followings such as: people who falls under the category of individualistic are sensitized to loneliness but they are very independent people whether people in collectivist culture are having strong fear of rejection in their mind. Further, it can be stated that both the countries follows different culture due to which people lives under different culture cannot easily cope up with each other. Due to this cultural difference managers in different organizations of Denmark shows high emotions while in Japan they do not. Adler, (2002) stated that Danish managers are very straight forward due to which they can easily hurt the feelings of any emotional person. From the overall article all the differences can be clearly analyzed. Under all such differences Japanese are considered implicit communicator whether Danes are considered explicit communicator (Adler, 2002). Managers working with both the companies need to adopt some of the best management practices as well as leadership styles for effective management of their workforce. It is one of the best way through both types of organizations can easily manage their business operations and gain proper results.

From the above discussion it has been identified that cultural differences are the major concern which resultant into the ongoing clashes that hindered the overall progress of company (Hofstede, 1980). With the help of following best management practices both the parties easily continue their partnership. Due to this, it has been identified that it is more difficult to manage the effective leadership between Danish and Japanese nationals.

CONCLUSION

From all the above given case it has been clearly concluded that there are various ways through which managers can precieve cultural differences between Danish headquarters and Japanese alliance partner. It clearly shows the various ideas which represents that how to deal with cultural issues. The overall study clearly determine that how perception of individuals can be altered and updated in the presence of new information world.  It has been concluded that due to the cultural differences various issues are faced by companies. In order to overcome with such issues better leadership styles and management practices should be adopted by them. Under this, they can give better training to all their employees and manage all the cultural differences in an more effective manner.

REFERENCES

  • Adler, N. J., 2002. The international dimension of organizational behavior. Canada: North-Western.
  • Clausen, L., 2006. Intercultural organizational communication: Five corporate cases in Japan. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press.
  • Clausen, L., 2007. Corporate communication: A ‘negotiated’ culture perspective. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management. 8(7).
  • Cultural sense making in context. Academy of Management Executive. 14(1).pp. 65—79.
  • Ferraro, G. P., 2002. The cultural dimension of international business. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • Geertz, C., 1973. The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books Inc.
  • Glisby, M. and Holden, N. J., 2005. Applying knowledge management concepts to the supply chain: How a Danish firm achieved a remarkable breakthrough in Japan. The Academy of Management Executive. 19(2)
  • Golden-Biddle, K. and Locke, K. D. 1997. Composing qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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