Kelly’s Assignment in Japan

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Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 07/22/2011 08:55 PM

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1. In this case study, Kelly experiences clashes in culture, customs and expectations all while trying to maintain her family’s sense of normality in her journey to a new life/career in Japan.

From the moment Kelly and her family stepped foot off the plane in Japan, their eyes were opened to a very different culture than what they were used to in the U.S. These differences conflicted heavily with the expectations that Kelly as well as her family had in mind. Kelly had two Americans, two Germans and the remainder of Japanese Mangers that directly reported to her. From the moment she greeted them, you can see that Kelly was ignorant to her new surrounding culture. She bows to the Japanese Managers which is followed by, to her, an uncomfortable silence and lowered eyes. She interprets this as a gap that she must fill in and attempts to utter some limited Japanese words that she studied on her journey over to Japan later being informed that they do speak English. She doesn’t realize that Japanese culture, silence is a powerful communicator. They use that time to study and gather their thoughts. They also like to get a consensus from the bottom levels all the way to the top before making a decision on something and presenting it also known as the ringi system. It is the failure of this knowledge in which Kelly becomes disappointed that the task assigned of having a presentation of their ideas for the new client completed by next business day was not fulfilled by the Japanese Managers. Even when the assignment was eventually completed by them, they did not make direct eye contact but rather addressed Peter during presentation. Kelly thought this was due to her being a woman when in fact they were taught humility since childhood and the lowering of eyes even when Kelly asked them why she wasn’t told about needing more time when assignment given should have been viewed as respectful. Kelly deepens the culture clash by talking about her family and then asking...