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Difference between American and Japanese business styles

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  • Difference between American and Japanese business styles

    Here's my question--when interviewing for a job in Japan (not teaching! We're talking business/finance here) it's likely they will ask "What do you think is the difference between American and Japanese business styles?"

    I was once asked this and I'd like to know what they are fishing for. What's a good answer? I wouldn't want to give the typical gaijin response of "Japanese don't question their superiors," "It's a strictly heirarchal structure," "Japanese work till 11pm every day."

  • #2
    Originally posted by Wonky
    Here's my question--when interviewing for a job in Japan (not teaching! We're talking business/finance here) it's likely they will ask "What do you think is the difference between American and Japanese business styles?"

    I was once asked this and I'd like to know what they are fishing for. What's a good answer? I wouldn't want to give the typical gaijin response of "Japanese don't question their superiors," "It's a strictly heirarchal structure," "Japanese work till 11pm every day."

    Tell them American business is performance-based, while Japanese business is based on the uniqueness of the Japanese people derived from their country having 4 unique seasons.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Wonky
      Here's my question--when interviewing for a job in Japan (not teaching! We're talking business/finance here) it's likely they will ask "What do you think is the difference between American and Japanese business styles?"
      I work in IT, and I have to say that I haven't been asked this question, but if I did, I think I would respond by saying that, while it is hard to genralise in an ever-changing global economy, the American system emphasizes entreprenurship, risk and individual achievement while the Japanese business model places more importance on group loyalty and expects total commitment from its employees. While the American model allows for greater flexibility and dynamism, it is also more precarious and less secure for both businesses and employees.
      It is also ultimately repsonsible for a greater level of economic inequality, which is maybe not relevant for the interview, but a point I thought worth mentioning.

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      • #4
        The American way is the best.

        Comment


        • #5
          Kaizen

          The Kaizen management theory (adopted by the Japanese after the 2nd world war) derived from the U.S ...

          This was passed to the Japanese by an American (McGregor???)...

          Hope this helps.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hijinx
            Tell them American business is performance-based, while Japanese business is based on the uniqueness of the Japanese people derived from their country having 4 unique seasons.
            That's awesome! I gotta remember that one! They would just smile and say, "Ahh...soo desuka".

            I can just see myself doing a "Seinfeld" and screwing it all up..."Yes sir, that is a great question! While the American business is performance-based, the Japanese have seasonal performance based on the 4 seasons."

            Thanks for the laugh!

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            • #7
              The American system is performance based, a person moves up by being competent. The Japanese system embodies the spirit of konjou, and taking so much ____ until you're a fixture in the company and can just sit around hankou'ing documents and smoking cigarettes all day. At night you're encouraged to go out and visit hostesses and hookers on expense accounts because you've paid your dues.

              Howz that?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Superman2
                That's awesome! I gotta remember that one! They would just smile and say, "Ahh...soo desuka".

                I can just see myself doing a "Seinfeld" and screwing it all up..."Yes sir, that is a great question! While the American business is performance-based, the Japanese have seasonal performance based on the 4 seasons."

                Thanks for the laugh!
                Thank you thebob for your intelligent answer.

                The rest of you guys, if you hate Nova and Japan so much, why don't you just go back home to your USA inaka suburb?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Whatever answer you give (not based on sarcasm or humor), I would caution portraying your knowledge as being so sure.

                  1. American business is based on performance. Japanese business is based on a hierarchal structure.

                  or

                  2. Most American business is based on performance standards, but there are exceptions and flaws in the system. From what I know, Japanese system is mostly based on the hierarchal system, but I hear that this is changing a little in recent years. And, I would like to know how the system works in this company, if you wouldn't mind...?

                  In other words, don't answer with stereotypes, or you will be pegged as a stereotype yourself. At least give an indication that you don't know everything and are willing to learn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Kaizen

                    Well the Kaizen theory is centred around `devolving` (or passing down) responsibliity to the junior staffs...

                    Basically encouraging them to take a proactive approach and think to themselves...

                    As I stated above, this theory came from the US after the 2nd world war...and is the thory around which most Japanese business models operate.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      misunderstood

                      Originally posted by Wonky
                      The rest of you guys, if you hate Nova and Japan so much, why don't you just go back home to your USA inaka suburb?
                      What are you talking about? Speaking just for myself, I love Japan and I don't hate NOVA. I don't think anybody meant what you thought.

                      Here's a beer...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Superman2
                        What are you talking about? Speaking just for myself, I love Japan and I don't hate NOVA. I don't think anybody meant what you thought.

                        Here's a beer...
                        I'll take that, thanks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I love people who work for NOVA. What's not to love about that?

                          And of course, I'm grateful to the Americans who are here teaching the Japanese and others why we are number one in the world in every positive category.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wonky
                            Thank you thebob for your intelligent answer.

                            The rest of you guys, if you hate Nova and Japan so much, why don't you just go back home to your USA inaka suburb?
                            Nah, who would there be to snipe at your Japan experience ?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Superman2
                              What are you talking about? Speaking just for myself, I love Japan and I don't hate NOVA. I don't think anybody meant what you thought.

                              Here's a beer...
                              Thanks!

                              It just seems to me that a lot of gaijin do nothing but complain about Japan.

                              Last year the Mrs and I went back to Japan to visit friends and family. One of her friends is now married to a gaijin--they live with her parents and all he does is teach privates and sit around playing "World of Warcraft" the rest of the time. And he was constantly ripping on Japan.

                              Later on another friend (Japanese) asked us (after the guy was gone) why he even bothered to stay in Japan if he hated everything so much. The only things in Japan he apparently likes are tempura and sumo. We had a good time ripping him to shreds.

                              To be fair, I did my share of ripping on the Japanese during my time at Nova. It wasn't until maybe a year or so after I came back to the US that I was able to put things in perspective.

                              Examples: Japanese are xenophobes. Well my wife (Japanese) is always getting ____ and getting asked where Chinatown is. I think we feel the "xenophobia" in Japan since we are, for the first time, minorities.

                              Another one: All Japanese businessmen dress the same. True, but so do the American ones. It's just that they were blue button-down shirts and khakis instead of polyester suits.

                              One of my favorites: Japanese are crazy for riding a packed subway to work. Well, how is this any better than driving in traffic an hour or more?

                              In the end, both places have positive and negative points, and both are far from perfect.

                              [/rant]
                              Last edited by Wonky; 2006-09-21, 07:37 AM.

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