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Japan and the United States are both well-recognized nations in the business world. And both have been trade partners for several decades. However, there are many differences in business and social practices between these countries. Both countries do focus on excellence and competition in business. And social status and education also have a strong affect on probable success in the work world. But, there are a few differences in philosophy, cultural actions, and business practices.
Japan and the U.S. both have a structure in society. Japan has an order based on the principles of Confucius, an ancient Chinese philosopher (Anderson School UCLA, http, 1999). These principles give the Japanese resolute values on society. Since the teachings of Confucius stressed total respect and kindness throughout relationships, it is normal that the Japanese use them in most practices. The Japanese are very family oriented. Devotion to the crowd is first and foremost in their actions. Also, that brings a little discipline into the equation. Japanese people are more inclined to do well for the sake of family. Because if oversight occurs, the family is seen as responsible not the person who acted (Anderson School UCLA, http, 1999).
But U.S. society is based on principles of individualism. U.S. people have self-seeding values in society. Individualism lends itself to the ideas of one being more important than the many. And in the U.S. the family is looked upon as an addition to the person. Success for self is the main reason for activities of the average U.S. citizen. And if there is accountability then the person who acted bears it not a group. So, the societal values of both countries gave a large amount to do with the activities in the business world.
As stated before Japan has a strong team value system. And also they have a professional order in their businesses. Corporate position is a very strong aspect of Japanese organization also. Executives are spoken to by title and not name (Anderson School UCLA, http, 1999). Primary to Japanese business is the concept of actual status in society (Anderson School UCLA, http, 1999). Several aspects of status can be a hinder or help to progressing in Japan. Persons in Japanese corporations who are lower on the scale respect higher officers based on exact position within the company (Anderson School UCLA, http, 1999).
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Team effort and company allegiance is the vain directives of organizations in Japan. Only the team leader is allowed to speak during a business meeting. Also, it is polite to only have one speaker at a time in negotiations with the Japanese. All concerns of existence are usually put second to an employee obligating themselves to an occupation (Anderson School UCLA, http, 1999). And one of the largest rewards for employee loyalty is a lifetime job. Japanese employers attempt to keep their employees for a lifetime, knowing that stability breeds devotion. Lastly, the Japanese take a while to get acquainted with employees or business partners before actually working. They think of this bonding as essential to a good functional relationship. Japanese usually only consider business with someone if the formalities of friendship and the family information are given beforehand. And it gives them more ease in dealing with people.
Lastly, the Japanese refrain from saying no. They would rather end with a small polite phrase. Also, they would rather a business partner feel that there is a chance for more discussion rather than a cutoff point. They feel that no is too negative to be used in relationships.
U.S. businesses have individual values. But, the professional order is not so rigid as in Japan. As quoted in the small business exchange It is common in the U.S. to be put on a first name basis very quickly, regardless of a persons status (Hinch and Madnick, http, 1999). This allows all employees to be rather on equal footing. Social status has some bearing on U.S. business success. But, a lower class has many chances for advancement. And, U.S. business is more competitive and has much less respect than Japanese business. One must be ambitious and perceptive to succeed.
Success for the self is the goal of the U.S. business. During a meeting with U.S. business people, it is allowable for any in attendance to speak. This contrasts with the Japanese way. An employee puts their own interests above that of the company. Also, employees are much more likely to change jobs several times throughout life. Which leads to lower loyalty and employers not putting as much into employee retention as Japan. And in the U. S. there is no bonding, just straight business. The U.S. organizations will make the negotiations and trades. Next, if they have time they will possibly get to know colleagues on a deeper level. This is to promote future business dealings. The reason for this attitude is quotes Hinch and Madnick the common phrase time is money (Hinch and Madnick, http, 1998).
Lastly, unlike Japan, U.S. businesses will communicate the word no. The reason for this is states Hinch and Madnick, http, 1998). U.S. organizations will accept an end to negotiations as long as it is final.
The following chart will yet show another difference between Japan and the U.S. And that difference is unemployment statistics.
The above chart shows the unemployment statistics of Japan (Naomi Maruo) and the U.S. (David Wardle) from 1990 to 1996 (Maruo and Wardle, http, 1999). The Japanese unemployment figures are lower through the entire six-year period than the ones of the U.S. And the trends are different also. The U.S. unemployment tended to rise from 1990 to 1992 and then decline steadily towards 1996. But, the Japanese unemployment was steady at first and gradually increased towards 1996. It appears as if the lines will be approaching the same point in the next few years. Because unemployment went down the U.S. economy obviously had a boom starting around 1996. But, the chart also reflects Japans slight recession in recent years. Which illustrates another difference between U.S. and Japanese Business.
Japan and the U.S. do have some similarities like social status, educational level and work performance, which affect business. But the ideology, etiquette and personal issues differ. Also the employment stability factor has an effect on why employee attitudes and loyalty differ in each country. And of course the unemployment statistics show that the economic prosperity of both nations is getting closer to the same point. Lastly, the differences may be strong but the variety of methods allows for sharing of knowledge. And that sharing is very important in the global society of the present.