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Global Business Cultural Analysis: Japan
Culture is the result of human mental development, social groups, societies, civilizations and humankind. In human existence, culture is defining feature in human existence and it influences the economy, politics, ideology, science, art, religion. Business culture comprises of organization and cooperation, business communication skills, business etiquette rules, and business art.
The business culture phenomenon plays an important role in the sections devoted to organizational and corporate culture, organizational behavior, business ethics, and business communication. Business etiquette is the norm and rules of behavior that contribute to success in business relationships. You can define business culture as a characteristic of economic activity, profit-oriented process of interaction with other participants of economic relations.
Differences between High Context and Low Context cultures begin with the origin of the nation, customs and traditions. Western countries, oriented at modern and globalized goals, such as the USA, are comparatively young Low Context Cultures (Scarborough, 1998).
On the contrary, the Japanese culture that is very traditional is considered High Context Culture. One of the main characteristics of High Context Cultures is the formal style of communication and indirect context of verbal communication, as well as nonverbal messages, to convey the entire meaning.
According to the hierarchy between High Context and Low Context cultures, Low Context cultures should subordinate High Context cultures norms of communication during a cross-cultural partnership. Therefore, American representatives are advised to adapt their style of communication to High Context Cultures style, but not vise versa (Jackson, 1993).
The current stage of behavior in human society could be characterized by the development of more lingual and cultural communication. Humanity has faced the need in sustainable development of methods and learning strategies of ethno cultural communication about members from different cultures.
Each nation has its own unique sphere of the concept, cultural and linguistic prospective of the structure of consciousness acts in which values ??of society are displayed. Comparing, on the one side, Japan and its cultural heritage, and on the other, the U.S. (a society with a modern globalized system), Japan perceives the image of American culture not only as surprising and delightful, but also shocking.
Differences in socio-economic development of the two countries are caused primarily by their ethnic and cultural identity. The compared nations are the leaders in the world of scientific and technical progress, needed to solve their relationship as economic partners and competitors. There are many extra linguistic and objective factors contributing to the modern scientific and technical equipment of the two countries (Fatehi, 1995).
Business meetings and relationships begin with a greeting so it is necessary to consider how to implement the concept of greeting in these ethno cultures. In the American English, this concept is realized by verbal phrases that correspond to certain lexical items in Japanese. In addition, in both cultures, body language (a nod and a handshake) and eye contact are essential.
A nod is extremely important in Japanese nonverbal communication, while American representatives could be limited to a verbal greeting. Sometimes it is accompanied by a slight nod of the head.
A handshake is an important part of trustful partnership relations both for the Japanese and Americans, but only with a slight difference that the Japanese prefer polite attitude and the Americans preset strong handshakes. The American style handshake is perceived by the Japanese as a sign of aggression (Coates, 2000).
Eye contact is an element of partnership and contact maintenance in the communication process. Americans usually try to instigate immediate eye contact with the Japanese addressee at the time of establishing contact, and then remove the gaze. In the process of communication, the American person seeks short, few-second contact with the eyes of the oriental interlocutor, and when it comes closer to the end, he/she tries to establish longer lasting contact. Americans used to keep eye contact until the proponent averts the gaze. The Japanese prefer to orient their gaze downward, their eyes being half-closed followed by a typical bow. As well as in the first case, American behavior is evaluated by the Japanese as aggressive.
Fundamental values of a certain cultural surrounding may seem immoral in another culture. Japanese and American people have built their lives on the principles that are best reflected in their sphere of concepts, such as home, family, personal life, priority, or representativeness.
The members of the American ethnic culture, which can be characterized by a team spirit and competition within this team, with the development of personal self-orientation, are often not condemned successful. In the American ethnic culture, such concepts as home and family take a dominant position.
The second important concept in American ethnic culture is freedom. Freedom can be a broadly interpreted in various forms in the USA, including Constitutional representations of freedom guaranteed to U.S. citizens, the necessity to achieve the American dream, which is comparatively close to material wealth achievement. Material wealth goals are conceptually based on private business prospective provided by the Constitution.
Private entrepreneurship, as a tool for achieving the American dream, makes possible its implementation only including personal life success. The personal life includes an activity that does not bring profit, however, is also needed as an integral attribute, named hobby. Parties and family picnics with friends and business partners represent the informal sphere of personal life. The concept of a team spirit was modified by such historical facts as confrontation with other nations as tribes, which formed a unique concept of a competitive spirit. This concept comprises not only of the ability to work as a team in order to achieve a common result, but also the desire to compete working collectively for personal goals.
One of the most important language differences between the two cultures is concentrated in diametrically opposed relation to the concepts of family and collective work. Japan’s unique ethnic culture was formed during millennia. Goals for the Japanese mentality are formed as a set of cultural traditions and moral values, as expressed in a certain way of thinking and behavior. Community spirit permeated all the pores of Japanese society.
Men in Japan usually identify themselves with the group family, neighbors, the local community since childhood and the rest of their days they cannot imagine life beyond these limits. Therefore, the most severe punishment of Japanese is to become an outcast in their community. English suggests “individual” as a meaning of the concept I, personality. In Japanese, the word “dzibun”, the equivalent of the English “I”, means “my destiny”, “part of me”.
The Japanese identify themselves in the midst of society, understanding oneself as a part of any community. The sense of belonging to a particular community makes law-abiding and honest Japanese protect enterprise, which he/she works in. Inside different social spheres, as well as in the whole nation, the Japanese use a specific set of concepts that make up the core of their world perception.
Harmony, “wa”, is one of the basic concepts. Harmony is understood as necessary conditions for the elimination of controversies and tensions among members of the community. Therefore, the Japanese try not to show the person that they are less aware on any question. It is not appropriate in business communication to contest within a certain partnership. The Japanese usually help their opponent to look properly in the controversy, step aside, which is the best example of the principle of harmony.
On the one hand, the language reflects the mentality of the people, and the other forms a carrier. Each national language not only reflects, but also shapes the national character. In other words, if a language shapes world perception of a certain nation, a native speaker is formed as a person in the process of perceiving cultural heritage, which plays a constructive role in shaping the national character.
The contradiction between the principles of competition and solidarity in Japanese and American cultures is a question frequently raised in the economic, social and educational development. Excessive absolutisation of competition sometimes leads to the neglect of the principle of equal opportunities due to the fact that a sense of collective ethnic culture in the Japanese is exaggerated. Therefore, balancing collective negotiations usually replaces competitiveness among modest Japanese representatives.
Concepts of prosperity and happiness for each Japanese are traditional Japanese values ??perceiving personal success as a success for the whole community. In Japanese society, people perceive everything foreign carefully. Diplomas of people graduated from foreign universities, even the most prestigious ones, are underestimated. Furthermore, graduating from a Japanese University, one should continue working in Japan. Thus, the concept of native and original is respected.
Traditions, customs and cultural heritage are important concepts for the Japanese as for the High Context culture, which is based on already established immutable rules and principles of communication and building relationships. In Western countries, these concepts have transformed into folklore.
The unique Japanese word and concept “nenko seido” refers to the payment by seniority. This concept means that the salaries increase in coordination with spent time and with changes in the marital status of the young worker. Salary increases stepwise after the wedding, the birth of children, and their growth, which highly depends on the social status. Payment increases with age, and experience influences the employee confidence in the stability of the financial position.
Concepts, which play an important role in American world perception, are reflected in Japanese having a minimum value for its members, giving a mirror image of their hierarchy of values. Therefore, prosperity and well-being in two cultures are associated with different types of society. In the United States, it is reflected as individual well-being, or as family well-being, while in Japan the global perception of a nation and society in a unit that deserves to be the main aim.
In addition, the Japanese sphere of concepts does not involve such concepts as freedom, national dream, privacy, fair game and competitive spirit. Therefore, analyzing this set of concepts it is possible to indicate the priority of individual rights and freedoms and the individual in US society, whereas collective consciousness will be primarily important in Japan.
First of all, the representation should be done properly. The majority of visitors from the West immediately begin to look straight into the partners eyes, which is regarded as a great threat to the Japanese. They represent their group and therefore cannot comment on any issues immediately without prior consultation. Exchange business cards is a customary ceremony in Japan, although the information contained therein is insufficient if there is no prior knowledge.
Japanese businessmen unlike Western representatives do not like meeting new people. In their own society, Japanese workers know exactly how to address superiors, subordinates or equal Americans, who are ambitious and self-assured people, pulling hands for handshake when greeting (Heinrich, 2005).
Western people are individualists, whereas the Japanese represent their company as the achievement of the whole team. Therefore, it is impossible for the Japanese to negotiate face-to-face. After this test, Western businessmen often insist on a quick decision. If they try to set a time limit, the Japanese will definitely refuse in a polite form.
Between American and Japanese business languages, there is a certain affinity. Despite the fact that in comparison to the fundamental and unchanging evasiveness of the Japanese style, the Americans seem extraverted and strict, and yet they have something in common an aversion to misbalance in the information exchange.
Discreet criticism of American managers, their humor at criticism, clear judgment, which they always express all these measures are predisposed to maintaining harmonious relations in their team. In Japan, the search for harmony is so strong that it is achieved despite clarity and even truth.
Japanese managers do not pronounce orders, they only hint at what is to be done. Language is specially adapted for this purpose. Its structure, in which the subordinate offers usually precede the main, consistently setting out the grounds of the decision before it is formulated.
The language of business in Japan comprises of internal mechanisms that deeply affect the listener. Universal mandatory politeness creates a climate in which it seems that subordinates quietly and peacefully receive advice in the most respectful manner. This underlined politeness stimulates their desire to please and abide.
In fact, their communicative hierarchy has already been installed in accordance with the status of the worker determined by their university degree and work experience at the firm. Hierarchical relationships are reinforced, moreover, respectful forms of treatment underline them verbally naming them. There is a certain regular norm of answers to the requirements of managers for orient workers to fix mistakes immediately, recognizing the information and performing perfect submission.
Other means of verbal expression presented by the Japanese resorted to managers for training and orientation of employees are passive forms, which provide ultimate politeness formalization. Impersonal verbs, which help to avoid direct critics, but in some cases, silence indicates clear disapproving attitude of chief figures towards subordinate personnel.
Reported speech in Japan is not popular because the Japanese proclaim the belief that all personal conversations are confidential and their content shall not be transmitted to others and, indeed, their language has no form of indirect speech.
In Japanese, the sphere of concepts visitor, client and guest is expressed by the same words, and the meanings of these words are close. If the service does not match the announced level, the client has the right to express their displeasure.
A visitor will never be forced to consume in rush. Reliability and consistency are very important. Quality control in Japan differs from others in incredible care. Clients must be fully satisfied. Any error or defect in the product will cause inevitable anger of the client, and the company will take immediate measures to solve the problem. Even obliquely, stamp of the manufacturer can be considered defect.
Understanding the basis of these lingual and cultural differences begins with the analysis of the religious background of the Japanese national spirit. Shinto is a unique confession movement of philosophical or religious nature, which would have a strict national focus. Shinto is primarily a profound expression of the ancient culture of the Japanese. Shinto means way of the gods ? a religion that arose in Japan and is extremely common in Japan. An essential aspect of Shinto worship is the beauty of nature (Rohlen, 1979).
The supreme god in Shinto system is goddess Amaterasu, considered the goddess of the sun, the head of the pantheon of Shinto gods, which marked the beginning of the divine imperial dynasty. The flag of Japan and the name of the country (Nihon) are tightly connected with a symbol of Shinto, and partially represent the concept of sunrise. However, the sun plays a central role among the Shinto hierarchy: each deity is independent and has their own place.
Shinto, as a pagan religion, comprises of a polytheistic system. The doctrine of Shinto combined the will of all divine beings, which is the only defining force of human destiny. Shinto religion worships the forces of nature, animals and famous people. This belief formed equity of essential elements and destiny as the unity. Due to this tendency, all partners opinions are equally important for the general decision regardless of the status of each representative.
The Japanese are extremely tolerant in the religious issues. Thus, almost all Japanese representatives confession is Shinto, but Buddhism and Confucianism play an important role in the religious system of Japan.
After the spread of Buddhism, many people often have combined their traditional religion and philosophies of Buddhism, the same thing happened in Japan. Existing besides Shinto, Confucianism represents four noble truths: life is suffering, suffering has its cause, a way to end suffering is the path taught by Buddha. Buddhism penetrated into Japan from China. Japanese Buddhism is a synthesis of Buddhist ideas, Shinto mythology and Japanese culture.
The Japanese combined Shinto tradition with Buddhists philosophy. Social life is rather influenced by Shinto religion than their personal lives. All national cultural heritage of Japan is closely related to Shinto. Fighting sumo influenced by Shinto rituals, theater evokes respect of ancestors, ikebana shows unity and harmony with nature
Nowadays, Shinto does not require any particular belief. Modern Japanese do not seek a rational explanation of rituals. However, Shinto is an expression of their unity with a national community, and they participate in the ceremonies performed in the temple of their village or neighborhood, expressing their desire to maintain the harmony of life of the nation. The Japanese Shinto ritual used to celebrate significant events in people’s lives, communities and nations.
The majority of Japanese weddings are performed by the Shinto ritual. However, the traditional banquet, to which family and colleagues are always invited, happens according to customs and rituals.
The world perception concluded by Shinto conception of the universe is very behind on the technical evolution of Japan. Agriculture and social structure of Japan reached a high level, whereas Shinto represents a minimal scope of development.
Nevertheless, the Japanese prefer to maintain an archaic system and to protect their identities. It is also characteristic of Shinto. Moreover, Shinto thinking easily adapts to modern society, helping to model and develop it: the love to nature promotes environmental movements, the need for constant updates promotes consumer society and natural aesthetics affect the design and beauty of Japanese products. Shinto religion in general faces the whole of earthly life and the world perception has little interest. Its essence is the historically religious perception of socio-political system in Japan.
Nevertheless, religious concepts influenced ethical and aesthetic spheres. Therefore, business etiquette based on lingual and religious traditions and customs. There are generally accepted standards of behavior in society. However, these rules vary across countries under the unique influence of cultural specific. First of all, it should be noted that the Japanese praise permanent politeness as the norm of behavior. Language and culture of Japan practically exclude the possibility of being impolite (Heinrich, 2005).
Since profit tends to be perceived as the most valuable goal in business relations, profit is the basis of existence, reproduction and development of the enterprise. Therefore, the culture of a country is an important part of the economic environment. The culture of entrepreneurship helps to correlate business strategies with aims and goals of a foreign partner, their organizational and managerial demands (Nishiyama, 1994).
Japanese business culture is extremely strict in the sphere of disputation. According to this tradition, a person should not demonstrate his or her personal attitude, unless the partnership is about to be finished by this statement. Even if the Japanese do not fully agree with the speaker, typically they first listen with an approving view, then argue in a very uncertain form. In Japan, this behavior is considered to be polite (Norbury, 2006).
However, since the representatives of Western culture prefer honest expressions and suggestions, they tend to express their views more openly. Even if a dispute arises, it does not affect personal human relations. Unlike Western tendencies, oriental people sever relationships in case conflicts appear (Goldman, 1994).
The sphere of cross-cultural business etiquette appeals to the coordination of business areas of interest, overcoming differences of religion, social status or national character. A successful meeting of the potential partners must follow the rules of etiquette based on respect of traditions and social features, providing optimistic realization of negotiations and a successful cooperation (Elashmawi, 2001).
The Japanese law system pays great attention to the ethical behavior of politicians and civil servants in the performance of their duties. A Japanese officer taught on the basis of Japanese collective values, perceives well-being of the nation as ones personal happiness. Therefore, the Japanese are not motivated to take bribes. However, their mentality might encourage them to keep a chiefs corruption activities in secret.
Japan’s experience highlights the importance of a more emerging democratic system of the government to take measures to prevent corruption among politicians and officials to create a reliable barrier, based on common operating across the country and supported by national laws and control the education of public intolerance to violations of moral and ethical standards.
Subordination and the principle of seniority are basic for the Japanese business culture. A person’s status is determined by their age and rank. In interpersonal relations in the Japanese business culture, they adhere to the principle of the hierarchy of age, which is caused by a status and age factors; a person a year older automatically receives a higher status. Business communication culture in Japan provides many restrictions, including punctuality; respectful businessmen in Japan do not tolerate late arrival.
The Japanese culture is considered to be non-verbal, however. Japanese culture dictates serious restrictions about tactile contact. Japanese practice of handshake is a representation of intercultural influence and influence of modernity. Therefore, any private space entering process should not involve contacts and familiarity (Goldman, 1994).
Since childhood, Japanese are taught to restrain their emotions and ambitions. Extremely polite Japanese consider simultaneous speech of several individuals to be an irrespective behavior; moreover, the Japanese keep pauses before and after speeches.
The communication culture in Japan demands apology for every mistake. Usually, a Japanese interlocutor listens approvingly demonstrating their agreement. However, this compliance is the representation of understanding.
Since the Japanese perception of politeness is hyperbolized in comparison to western understandings, verbal expression of respect towards other individuals might appear self-minimizing. However, this behavior reflects oriental modesty (Goldman, 1994).
Business cards exchange is an important part of business communication. A greeting as the part of respectful behavior that includes handshake provides the necessity of a respectful nod. The etiquette of negotiations requires transparency and respectful clarity. By parsing products or a company, a businessman risks to be misperceived. Accurate and provable store of data is the best compliment that an individual is about to do to their company (Fukuyama, 2000).
Another specific characteristic of Japanese business etiquette is the exchange of gifts. The first meeting in Japan usually involves presents donation. Furthermore, this tradition is rather more important for guests who arrive in Japan than the Japanese. In addition, it is important to verbally minimize its importance, which would be perceived as a modest behavior praised among Japanese. Entering a building or a restaurant, it is important to take off ones shoes, since to dispense this rule means to offend Japanese partners.
Location is an important external factor of a meeting. Therefore, it is important to choose an informal atmosphere and harmonic surrounding, since the Japanese prefer a casual, relaxing atmosphere and they would appreciate a possibility to be located as distant from the entrance as possible.
Japan’s ancient culture has influenced the modern society with its unique values, traditions and customs. Therefore, representatives of western culture face difficulties in adapting the style of communication (Takada, 1996).
Altruism, teamwork and coordination of work are constantly cultivated in Japanese society. Individuality is determined by membership in a social group. So, in business, the Japanese attach great importance to readiness to make concessions and self-discipline.
Hierarchies, influenced by Confucianism, always determine a person’s position in the group and/or society. Status depends on such factors as age, occupation, and material status, professional status in the company and family status (Brown, 2006).
The preservation of harmony in society, maintenance of the hierarchical structure clarity, and the expression of respect for others are the most important components of communication. Respect is transmitted through words, behavior, etiquette, body language and other nuances of nonverbal communication.
The Japanese pay special attention to higher requirements for formalities. Proponents ability to be polite during business communication would be determined during the first meeting, depending on the spirit of professionalism.
The bow is an integral part of the non-verbal communication and behavior in Japanese society. It is used at a meeting to attract attention, for the manifestation of gratitude, as an expression of sympathy or apology.
Business ethics in Japan is based on sincerity, compatibility and credibility. Sincerity means that partners should be ready to accept a compromise and understand the desire to conduct business on a personal level. Compatibility is performed in the desire of partners to show that they care about the reputation of the company, establishing personal relationships that are not focused exclusively on the financial sphere (Takada, 1996).
At meetings, partners communicate with the group of specialists, not in the form of individual representatives meeting. At the beginning of meetings, the Japanese introduce the main employee of the company, then the next representative, which is one-step lower on the status, strictly observing the hierarchy. The chief representative worker communicates as a ceremonial representative of employees that are lower the rank, these workers are engaged in negotiations. Solutions are rarely taken directly at a meeting. Meetings are perceived as an introduction for personal contact, detailed discussions of previously confirmed agreements.
One of the main features of the corporate culture of Japan is a lifetime employment. It encourages the development of skills that are specific to a company and forms highly professional specialists. That is why workers in Japanese companies are rarely fired. Therefore, after leaving the company and beginning a career in another corporation, a person loses their status, bonuses and achievements, starting their career from the very beginning (Takada, 1996).
Furthermore, special education has almost no value. Departments and faculties prepare universal workers who are ready to work in the company where it is required. Therefore, when applying for a job, HRs do not look at the specialization, and which university the candidate graduated from. Japanese companies are oriented at special skills, intellectual potential, and quick mind people.
Harmony is the background for all the HR trainings and practices, key principles of the Japanese personality development. Moreover, this process helps to establish contacts, important in future for the employee in their future career.
Business in Japan provides no strict control of the Chief Officers. The personnel receive a scope of goals to be achieved, and the team members decide how to distribute the tasks. Therefore, workers are supervised and controlled only at middle stages.
A decision making process comprises of big time periods in Japanese companies, which leads to a long-term partnership establishment process. This process is accompanied by the signature of each employee, which can affect the decision to agree or disagree with the proposed changes.
It is acceptable for Japanese business relations to criticize subordinate officers in public or during corporate meetings. Western representatives might misperceive this procedure, but Japanese have a different culture, customs and education. Oriental people perceive criticism normally because it helps to become better.
In Japan, unlike the majority of countries, where decision-making is based on the choice of the majority, special attention is paid to the position of the minority, according to the fact that all the participants should come to the same point of view. A consensus-built prospective requires both time and tolerance to different points of view (Takada, 1996).
In the Japanese corporate culture, an employee is considered to be the greatest value for the company, the relationship in the team based on mutual trust, cooperation and support in solving problems. Japanese employees are devoted to their companies. Each employee is convinced that their actions influence the success of the company. The Japanese have a high efficiency, low exclusion rate. These factors lead to high statistics on nervous breakdowns. However, the rate of total responsibility is high as well.
Japanese are always polite. This culture is considered to be non-verbal, therefore, many issues are not spoken out loud, but when it comes to automatic politeness, have a lot to announce before proceeding to action.
Internship is an important pact of business ethics education for young Japanese representatives. Therefore, it is very important for each company. A worker should be able to welcome visitors and carry on a business meeting properly. Become a white collar in large corporations is a long-term ambitious dream of every graduate.
Oriental etiquette is a rather complicated system that contains the complex hierarchy of relations and historically established rules. The basis of relations in Japanese business etiquette is a code of honor and loyalty. The system of Japanese society preserves values of morality in the family and school education and is supported by a rigid system of hierarchy in society.
Despite significant changes in politics and ideology in the 20th century, the rules of behavior in society have not changed a lot, although at the international level, the Japanese accept European standards of etiquette and try to take into account national traditions and etiquette of the country where they plan to support the commercial and investment projects.
In order to understand the Japanese etiquette, one needs to know some of the features of Japanese management. A fundamental principle is the level and quality of education since elementary school. Graduates of prestigious schools enter a prestigious University, but only graduates of a Japanese University can find a job in a large company.
Moreover, a unique practice of lifetime employment comprises probation of officers in the company from which they would be dismissed only in case of a serious breach of ethics. Another aspect that affects the culture of business communication is the ceremonies and a philosophical attitude towards life. The Japanese are very polite, thrive on smooth companionship, try not to refuse, and maintain a positive attitude. Western representatives perceive this feature of Japanese mentality as a mystery.
The Japanese prefer to refuse in a polite, ambiguous form. However, in order to avoid the denial from Japanese businesspersons, it is important to know about issues forbidden in their ethical perception.
It will be misperceived if a businessperson comes to a meeting without business cards, which symbolizes documentary representation of the company. On the one hand, business cards serve as an identity card. On the other hand, a business card is a part of the ceremony, which is perceived as a contact establishment.
For the Japanese, it is important to have clear and comprehensive review of potential partners in many business and corporate issues. Therefore, the primary negotiations without an extensive dossier on the company or holding of a company is absolutely unacceptable.
It should comprise of a short review of the company or at least a description, a detailed presentation of the proposed project or transaction analysis of the industry, its tactical purposes. One should avoid preparation of specific proposals on the amount of the transaction or project the first meeting. It is more appropriate to suggest information about issues necessary for those establishing contact.
The Japanese dress code tends to support a simple business style, universal costumes and simple forms, the desire not to attract attention and the characteristic of the national character and tradition of corporate ethics. A style of a costume and appearance in the Japanese business world is very conservative. Likely to comply with certain rules of dress is recognized as belonging to the same business community, trustworthy partner.
Another significant aspect of successful business communication in contact establishment is written announcement of any proposal to inform about an intention of cooperation, aimed to spread awareness about prospective of western company to enter into business relations with which was suggested previously. Japanese businesspersons prefer direct contact with a potential partner.
Moreover, aiming to establish business relations with the Japanese enterprise, it is appropriate to utilize the widespread practice of Japan business culture: engagement of intermediaries. Person acting as an intermediary, would outline the information about companies to each of sides and aware about suggestions, talk about how the company foresee the development and business strategies. Obviously, the mediator should be well known to the both sides. This practice helps to ensure that the Japanese partner will not treat partner as a completely unfamiliar representative.
Meeting with western representative is an important preoperational part of cooperation planning with the potential partner in an informal atmosphere before meeting in a formal atmosphere without proposals and strict intention.
Accuracy is the most important rule. It would be better to arrive 5 minutes early than to be late. The Japanese are adherents of a corporate spirit and group solidarity, learn to suppress ambition, but the whole practice of business communication is built on accuracy and compliance with the rules.
In Japanese culture, partners prefer the nod, rather than handshake. However, globalization of business sphere and multicultural policy helped the Japanese to accept the handshakes. Nevertheless, it is better to wait for a Japanese partner, let them act first, whether they decide to nod or shake hands, it would be better to respond in the same form.
Negotiation style inherent among Americans is difficult enough for Japanese representatives as negotiators may express their views clearly, whereas the Japanese negotiations are friendly conversation with clarification of all details and controversial attitude. Negotiation style in Japan is predisposed to additional contact establishment before making a decision.
At a preliminary meeting, all partners and representatives present at the meeting should express their views on all responsible aspects, perform important materials about company, representing sufficient information. However, when the final decision is made and the head comes to negotiate, it means that all members come to the single point of view. The Japanese negotiate in a friendly atmosphere, listen carefully to the interlocutor and nod. However, it is not a signal of agreement, but as a sign that everything is clear, a communicator understands what it is about and encourages continuing the conversation.
One of the main differences between the American and Japanese corporate cultures is that Japanese employees core value is the success and prosperity of the company, whereas most of the Americans in pay primer attention to the material rewards and career growth (Fernandez, 1993).
Japanese highly appreciate the politeness and self-control. The main features of their nation character in contrary to American, is the importance of hard work, solidarity with the group norms, adherence to tradition, developed aesthetic sense and discipline. Sometimes American businesspersons oriented on financial marketing are shocked and surprised by strict Japanese rejections to their proposals (Bochner, 2001)
The Japanese are very private people. Extroverted nations assume that the listener is not aware of the prerequisites, the source data and related issues discussed in topic, so tells them himself. In contrary, Japanese by default assume that the listener knows everything that the speaker would like to invest in a phrase, and therefore report a minimum of information (Morton, 2004).
Unlike the western society, where timeframes are extremely limited, Japanese express tranquility, patience and regularity. Being perceived as the place of peace and harmony, Japan has continued to evolve, brilliantly combining unity of modernization and tradition. Under the influence of treasures customs, history and elaborated culture, Japanese society has become a perfect example of honor, moral values, etiquette which is the foundation of business practices (Bucknall, 2006).
Humor for Japanese is an ambiguous issue, which is very controversial, fragile psychological process that needs a delicate balance in its perception and representation. Japanese laughter begins with empathy. They feel convenient in laughing only during supportive informal communication only when they are surrounded by friendly environment. Japanese expect their partners to support their jokes by laughter.
In general, the Japanese avoid joking leaving this sphere to professionals. When Japanese decides to joke, it is an extremely rare phenomenon. A prospective to be in a risky situation keeps Japanese from irony, frivolity and jokes (Bramble, 2005).
Japanese business behavior can be explained by historical and geographical limitations, as well as determining thinking language that is very different from any other language in the world. For Japanese people, competition is about earning a better reputation rather than earning more. That is because entrepreneurs are brutally fighting for the understanding of the tastes and desires of the target customers and providing their customers satisfaction. Japanese have the passion to produce modern and developed production (Yoshimura, 2001).
Hierarchical system requires correspondingly high status relations. Therefore, try to specify the status of the person, with whom you do business and adapt behavior. However, you do not need to bow. As Western businessperson, you will likely be greeted with a handshake and a slight nod of the head. Introduce your company and your full name, and specify the name of your company. God forbid you confuse title interlocutor is accessed, so be sure to verify its position (Phillips, 2002).
Business cards exchange is perceived as a ceremony in Japan. It is believed that the card represents a person, so you need to treat it with respect. At first make business cards with personal data, information about working status and make sure that card comprises information translated into Japanese.
During the business cards exchange, try to pass your card with the right hand. The text written in Japanese should be guided upwards. Make sure that there are no barriers, such as table, chair or plants between you. Barring things by both hands is the representation of the highest level of respect in contrary to the left hand, which signals about disrespectful attitude.
During business communication in Japan, one should always specify the value of what has been said and ask for more information. It is assumed that the listener can understand everything that has been said or mentioned, unless he or she asks to explain.
Everyone who visited the meeting will be an expert in his sphere, so it is important to take co-workers. On the one hand, you will have an information source in spheres that are not in your duties. On the other hand, you will show the same attitude to your co-workers. Since each worker is a main element of a companys wellbeing, you respect and trust each of them as well as oriental nations do (Phillips, 2002).
Meetings are the main possibility for the contact establishment. It is important to build relationships not only with the main figures of the company, but also with all employees regardless of their rank. The final decision will be concluded by the whole group of workers, who will express their cons and pros about your company.
The Japanese are focused on a detailed discussion. Therefore, representatives will be asked by various professionals, questioning in different spheres and demanding specialized statements and data. The questions might be repeated in different paraphrased forms. If you are not able to answer these questions, it would cause doubts and suspicions to be unprofessional. Bring as much information about your company as it is possible.
Japanese prefer to do business with introverted, ready to compromise, sincere people. Extroverts are seen as arrogant and insolent individuals who are not suitable for business relations. It is important to act modest in the beginning of the meeting. You should not rush to disagree with the statements of partners, or confront with their opinion strictly after it was expressed. Always remember about diplomacy. However, at the same time leave the concessions and discounts till the end of the meeting. If you talk about it too early, you will be suspected in telling lies (Phillips, 2002).
Silence is a virtue. Western representatives fail to perceive intelligent silence as an awkward pause. Silence is an oriental reflecting on important words being said, realization of the received information. Keeping silence might be supported by covering an individuals eyes, it is a gesture of thoughtful reaction. Therefore, the final and one of the most important implications for western businesspersons is to avoid interrupting silence whenever and however it takes place during negotiations.
To summarize, it should be mentioned that the basic business rules of the Japanese culture are the hard work, respect to tradition, disciplined, polite and careful behavior. Since childhood, the Japanese evoke a group solidarity spirit, they are taught how to overcome their individualistic feelings, to constrain their ambitions, or allow their strengths. Japanese morality considers the basis of relations between people.
Therefore, Japanese entrepreneurs are accustomed to judging the partner primarily for their membership in a particular group or society. Nevertheless, one should not forget about the modern views of the Japanese, with their progressive vision of life and property. In this sphere the usage new technologies, made ??bold steps into the future is welcome.
Japans traditional greeting involves the bow, and, the lower it is, the more respectful expressed person is considered to be. Recently Japanese adapted using handshakes when dealing with their foreign colleagues. Generally, it must be mentioned that the culture of Japan does not suggest direct contact; misperceiving pats on the back, open embrace are regarded as inappropriate behavior. In business life meeting must be campaigned by business cards, important as a ritual. It is unacceptable for the Japanese to name a colleague with familiarity.
One of the main characteristics of Japanese businessmen is punctuality. They are extremely meticulous and very responsible in the attitude towards work and obligations. Preliminary negotiations are treated as a necessary step and are not inclined to cooperate with other businesspersons without negotiating with a partner who offers accurate data.
Patience is one of Japan’s main virtues so a discussion of business often begins with minor details, and it goes very slowly. One of the central characteristics of the Japanese negotiating style is accuracy in negotiations, no matter whether it is the beginning or end of the negotiations, or the fulfillment of commitments, promises.
Tradition of Japanese business people involves obligatory to listen carefully to the views of a partner, be attentive until the end of his speech, without interrupting him, and without making any comments. As a result, in the early stages of negotiation is often impossible to predict what is your opinion will adhere to Japanese businesspersons in subsequent discussions.
The representative of Japan during a conversation can nod head a few times, but this does not mean that he agrees with opponent, but only indicates that he understood the meaning of what was said. The Japanese tend not to engage in open confrontation with opponents. If they want to refuse, then most likely, they will suggest that it was difficult to perceive. That would not upset partner as unambiguous negative answer.
When the Japanese notice an apparent concession, made by the partners, they often perform the same. Their actions are not divided into moral good and bad, but as performed in time or inappropriately. Therefore, Japanese believe that it is self-evident that the agreement with the partner has the power only as long as the conditions in which it was reached are supported.
The Japanese prefer not to risk, the desire not to be in nowhere may be stronger than the desire to win. During the meeting with Japanese businesspersons, the conversation would be accompanied by pauses and silence. This situation is absolutely normal, since after silence conversation usually becomes more meaningful and rewarding.
The mechanism of decision-making in Japan implies a complicated process and acceptance of some provisions, which can take a long time. Dealing with the Japanese, it is necessary to take into account that most of the existing national market of small and medium business enterprises representatives negotiate only in their native language, so contact with them requires an interpreter.
The Japanese prefer informal atmosphere. Business meetings occasionally can be preceded by an entertainment program: excursions, restaurants, etc. Western representatives should not avoid it because it is the opportunity for the Japanese to establish personal contacts.