Cross-cultural Communication and Power Distance

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Executive Summary

This assignment is to analyze the U.S. culture and Japanese culture by using Hofstede’s 5 cultural dimensions and Trompenaars’s cultural dimensions. According to the Wal-Mart’s Japanese strategy case to distinguish the difference culture in Japan compare with U.S. There are some problems that Wal-Mart may encounter which are Japan's current distribution system, people’s traditional thinking of low price equate low quality and people would not going big shopping. The inherent risks of Wal-Mart’s entry strategies include trust, communication, and power problems. Further more, the advantages of crossing culture diversity that are more creativity, more and better ideas, better decision making can strengthen an organization’s culture.

A. Analyze the Japanese culture and its impact on American MNC’s organizational culture and management?

According to Hofstede’s 5 cultural dimensions U.S. is a small power distance, individualism, weak uncertainty, masculine country. Basing on Trompenaars’s cultural dimensions, U.S. is Universalism, Individualism, specific, achievement, and low scores emotional but high score neutral. The small power distance and achievement make American MNC become a guided missile organizational culture. In U.S. firms the distance between employees and managers are so small, group and work together is paramount in society and people are rewarded according to their achievements. Guide missile culture is characterized by strong emphasis on equality in the workplace and orientation to the task. It is oriented to work, which typically is undertaken by teams or project groups.

B. Analyze the Japanese culture and its impact on the Japanese MNC’s organizational culture and management

Using Hofstede’s 5culture dimensions to analysis Japanese culture, it is a large power distance, collectivist, strong uncertainty avoidance, masculine country. Using Trompenaars’s cultural dimensions, Japan is low score particularism refer to high score universalism, communitarianism, neutral, low score diffuse, and low score ascription. The large power distance and ascription of Japan make Japanese MNC become the family organizational culture. Family culture is characterized by a strong emphasis on hierarchy and orientation to the person. The result is a family type environment that is power-oriented and headed by a leader who is regarded as a caring parent and one who knows what is best for the personnel. High power distance influence the Japanese companies abide by hierarchy. The employees have big distance with the Boss or managers, they must obey the dictation from uppers.


1. Do you believe Wal-Mart can be successful by circumventing the current Japanese distribution system? What are some of the problems you foresee?

I don’t believe that Wal-Mart can be successful by circumventing the current Japanese distribution system.

Japan's current distribution system impedes the Wal-Mart’s traditional way of doing business. The Japanese distribution system has two distinct characteristics: too many small retailers and multiple layers of wholesalers. Japan’s multilayered distribution network made selling merchandise more expensive for retailers, including Wal-Mart. I forecast that several reasons that will impede Wal-Mart entry Japan marketing. Many retailer in Japan react Wal-Mart’s entry. Ito-Yokado, Japan’s leading supermarket retailer who convinced that quality is the most important things to Japanese consumers and he insist to doing high quality but not low price good. Japanese consumers equate bad quality with low prices. However, Wal-Mart convinces that he is able to change this traditional view in Japan. If the culture could be changed or forgot, the Japanese market will be easy to entry, but so many outsiders like Archrival Carrefour which is failed at last. And, Wal-Mar thinks that low price is good for the consumers there will have more and more cash...
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