Cultural Differences: Tom from Canada vs. Hoshi from Japan

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Culture affects every aspect of a human life. It is also very important while making a managerial decision. The case presented in chapter 5 proves that being born in the Western or Japanese culture determines a lot our attitude to decision-making with all its consequences.

According to the information included in the case, Tom is a Canadian manager, who makes decision on his own, without consulting in with his team. He presents very individualistic attitude. It is completely different as far as we consider Hoshi’s way of making decisions. He, on the other hand, spent a lot of time convincing people working with him to agree to the new inventory-control system. Hoshi is a collectivist-manager.

Another significant difference between the two managers is that Tom was task-oriented and counted for a quick and positive result of his decision, for an achievement and maybe a promotion, without taking into consideration implications that it might have on his employees. Unlike the Canadian manager, Hoshi paid more attention to the fact how his co-workers will get used to working with the new system. Joint decision making in the Japanese subsidiary had a severe implications for the performance. Unfortunately, it also turned out that just informing subordinates is not effective either.

Each of the managers driven by attitudes characteristic of their cultural scripts and they did what they thought was the best for their subsidiaries. However, what would work best is a mix of these two. Tom and Hoshi would get better results if their had found a middle solution before making the final decision and introducing the new system.

Tom should not have done the task rush. After being informed, employees were surprised and not really convinced about the idea. This fact should have already attract the manager’s attention so that he hires a coach just in the beginning. If the Tom’s behaviour was any more collectivist, perhaps he would not trust only his own...
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