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Japanese Culture in Business

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The Japanese people are very old culture. It is a close-knit culture that is resistant to change and places high value on conforming to social norms. The fact that it is an island nation plays a big role in their daily lives. The limited amount of livable area has resulted in crowding that has put an emphasis on public harmony. This paper will cover the Japanese culture its collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, their career and home lives.


The Japanese culture is about the whole rather than the individual. In this culture being an individual or an outsider is looked down on. The needs of the group should be put ahead of the needs the individual. This mindset was developed in ancient Japan as noted in Collectivism in Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai by John Hardin

"The nail that sticks up will be hammered down." Japanese tradition has revolved for centuries around the concept that groups of people must work together to accomplish goals. Not only is a heightened sense of individualism considered an immature viewpoint on life, it is fundamentally dangerous to society

The feeling of collectivism was paramount in the days after a tsunami caused mass death and destruction. In the following the tsunami store owners opened there doors and charged nothing for the goods. While most nations would seek to profit off this incident the Japanese thought about helping those around them. When the mass exodus from costal area started people filled out in an orderly fashion and not the typical running over each that people in western culture would expect. The Japanese cultures collectivist mindset helped when there was little hope of outside assistance.

One news report focused on a tiny fishing hamlet in Japan that washed away nearby bridges, phone lines and cellphone services, leaving survivors shivering and cut off at a hilltop community center. Almost as soon as the waters receded, the survivors began dividing tasks and within days re-established a complex community, with a hierarchy and division of labor, even creating a committee that served as an impromptu governing body. (Tremmel, 2011)

Uncertainty avoidance

The Japanese lifestyle is highly structured and ritualized; because of this it is harder to make changes within the culture. According to Geert Hofstede "Japan is one of the most uncertainty avoiding countries on earth". He attributes this to the fact that "Japan is constantly threatened by natural disasters from earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons to volcano eruptions". These natural disasters have left many Japanese wary that at a moment's notice a catastrophic event may happen. In Japanese business and manufacturing risk is to be minimized. It is common for managers to do multiple studies to ensure that a new way of doing things will not hinder the business.



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