Kelly’s Assignment in Japan
Title: Solutions to Kelly’s Assignment in Japan Case Study Module Title and Number: Managing Across Borders MGT 3203
Date : January 28, 2013
Word Count : 1650
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Culture Shock Stages Reflection…………………………..………………………….………………..3
Assessment of Clashes
Successful International Assignments
Suggestions to Remedy the Situation
The American and Japanese cultures have been compared in a general context for their contrasting values. In addition, the two cultures have been described as ‘‘polar extremes’’ by Barnlund (1975) as stated by (Khan et al. 2009) , pointing to Japanese being reserved and formal whereas the American being self-assertive and informal. When accepting assignments in foreign countries as expatriates, cultural differences are important to consider. More importantly, cross-cultural management is a matter an expatriate should be prepared for and which the company should give importance to. In this case, Kelly an American employee, who is a programme manager working in the US accepted an assignment in Tokyo, Japan. She had little time to decide but she accepted the offer and the family moved to Tokyo. This report starts with explaining the stages of culture shock the family experienced. The report then summarizes the cultural clashes that took place in the case which were a result of cultural differences and lack of orientation, preparation and training. After that, the report highlights the factors Kelly should have considered before accepting the offer and gives recommendations on how the company should have offered this international assignment. Finally, suggestions of what can be done to remedy the situation are proposed.
CULTURE SHOCK STAGES REFLECTION
(Answer to Second Question)
Culture Shock as defined by the oxford dictionary is “the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes”. Culture Shock occurs in four main stages, which are clearly illustrated by Oberg’s U-Curve model (Refer to Appendix 1). Black and Mendenhall (1991) point out that it is the most commonly used model; therefore, it is utilized to analyze the culture shock stages Kelly and her family went through as follows: Stage One: The honeymoon stage is when individuals feel positive when being in a different culture. This took place when the family arrived and spent the weekend looking at the city. It was a holiday and positive feeling phase. This stage is also reflected on Kelly’s first day at work and her Husband’s first day setting up their new life in Japan. Their encouragement to become acquainted is a reflection of the honeymoon stage. According to Uwaje (2009) the person in this stage can be described as interested, curious and open-minded. Stage Two: The crises stage occurs “when cultural differences result in problems at work, home and in daily living” (Deresky, 2011). This stage started to take place at the second working day when Kelly felt irritated by the Japanese because she did not receive the presentations. Moreover, all family members were experiencing this stage as feelings of rejection to the life style in Japan arose. In this case, the associations linked to the crises stage can be divided into two kinds. The first is work and school related, seeing that all family members are experiencing problems related to their professional lives. Likewise, language was a difficulty since differences in language may present a huge barrier as noted by Uwaje (2009). Language was an obstacle to Kelly’s children adjusting at school, Joe getting a job and Kelly communication complications. The second was home and daily life related. This included entertainment facilities (TV,...
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