How Far Can Business Methods Developed In One Country Be Applied In Another

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The question states the transferability of business methods from one country to another, via Japanese techniques. However, in order to answer, we must define the term culture, as the term culture encompasses business methods, i.e. in order to adopt foreign business methods we must adopt its culture. In Needle's (1994) definition of culture he states, "A particular interest in business is the extent to which we can learn from the business experiences of other cultures and transplant ideas d eveloped by businesses in one culture and use then in a totally different setting." A major implication of the work of Hofstede (1980) and Trompenaars (1994) and other contributors to the knowledge about international culture and management is that "cultural interpretation and adaptation" are a necessary prerequisite to the comparative understanding of national and international management practice. Hofstede suggests that while 'hard - nosed' (short termist, task/result orientated) American or Anglo-Saxon approachs to business management may work well in Chicago, they may be counterproductive in Japan. More specifically, the procedure of international cultural adaptation may be applied to the three following areas: 1. Motivation theories, 2. Leadership concepts, 3. Management by Objectives (MBO) The three areas are described by Hofstede as symptomatic of the issue at hand. Hofstede states that "not only organisations are culture bound; theories about organisations are equally culture bound." Morden (1993) comments "There is no guarantee, therefore, that theories and concepts developed within the cultural context of one country can with good effect be applied in another. This implies that it is not possible for such theories to be 'universally valid'." In the UK, interest has been awakened by the considerable investment in the economy by major Japanese firms, who have entered certain key industries, such as motor manufacturing and electronics. Whilst taking advantage of investment incentives offered by the British Government, and the range of skills offered by British workers, these Japanese companies (e.g. Toyota, Honda, Panasonic, etc.) have also introduced several of their own personnel and production practices. These have been adapted to achieve the acceptance of the managers and workers concerned, especially in relation to production methods, quality control and management worker attitudes. A comparison between east and west industrial environments can simply illustrate culture differences., In particular, Britain versus Japan. Nevertheless, a number of Japanese management practices have been adopted very successfully in a British context (e.g. Nissan). One of the important general difference between Japanese and British companies lies in the way they are funded.

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