EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The case on Chiba International Inc. deals with the challenges faced by a Japanese company¶s manufacturing plant set up in rural Georgia to adapt the philosophy of the company to its American workforce and culture. Ken Morikawa, the general manager for administration and John Sinclair, the American personnel head of the company are determined to find out how Chiba International, another Japanese company based in California, has successfully translated its corporate philosophy into action that has led to considerably good profits for the company. Ken, having had extensive experience in the field of personnel management is perplexed about John¶s desire to translate the company¶s Japanese philosophy to suit the American culture and he wonders whether doing so would mar the very objective of the company to serve its employees in the best possible manner, which is a very Japanese way of management. John, on the other hand, having joined the company with a desire to be part of a Japanese organization so as to learn the best practices followed by the Japanese and to see them in action, realizes that it is important to truly understand how the Japanese management style works in the US, which results in the decision to visit Chiba International Inc. What they learn from their interaction with the management of Chiba International gives them an idea of the various Japanese principles and practices adopted by the company duly suited to the American culture. The case brings out the differences of both the Japanese and US cultures and describes those management practices that work well in the US and those that do not.
CHIBA INTERNATIONAL INC. Chiba International in San Jose, California is a subsidiary of Chiba Electronics Company, Japan. The Chiba Electronics company has been acclaimed as one of the foremost companies in Japan on the basis of its management practices much ahead of Sony, Matsushita and Toyota. Both Chiba Electronics Company and Chiba International have a 70% market share in the world market and the US market respectively. Although Chiba International started with a small sales office after acquiring a manufacturing plant from an American competitor, a Canadian born Japanese reared executive really turned around the company within two years, after terminating
the American management. In the present day 14 out of 24 top executives and 65 out of 70 salesmen are American. The way the company manages the different aspect of management of their business is an interesting study in the cross cultural context.
Management Practices in Chiba International Inc Meetings: The company is very particular about the regularity and schedule of its meetings, where even the lowest level employee speaks and this reflects the kind of open communication system that the company follows. The company¶s performance and plans are also shared openly, because all employees share the company¶s annual bonus at the same rate. Sales Force: The sharp contrast in the attitude of the sales force of the company between the Americans and Japanese can be ascribed to their high universalism and moderate particularism, respectively, according to Trompenaars¶ cultural dimensions. The Americans have a straight ³take it or leave it´ attitude in sales. Whereas the Japanese¶ practices have more room for customisation and modification to cater to the needs of individual customer needs which has been analogised to the service of a ³geisha girl´. When this basic philosophy is communicated to the sales force, they approve of it, because this kind of service oriented sales ensures less harassment from customers and more customer satisfaction. The company does not have any policy of sales based commission which makes is unfair for those who are selling in a less favorable sales territory. U.S Management: One of the major concerns for the Japanese managers is the individualistic nature of the Americans who join the company. Their basic...
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