Posted: February 15th, 2022
An Intercultural Communication Incident
The case is about Mr. C, a Japanese national who moves to the United States for work. He is assigned to globalize their company by pursuing expatriate assignments in the United States. Despite living in the United States for four years while pursuing his degree, he finds it hard to fit in the United States. This is mainly attributed to different cultures in the United States, resulting in value differences and communication mismatch. As a result, his performance and contribution to the organization are negatively impacted.
The root of the problem is the cultural difference. There is a significant difference between Japan’s workplace culture and that of the United States. This affects Mr. C’s performance in the company. For example, Mr. C is surprised to find women in the workplace since it contradicts his Japanese background. This makes it hard for him to report to his supervisor, a woman.
Another problem is salarymen’s culture. While most salarymen go drinking after work to discuss work-related issues in japan, Americans go home instead. This was a problem because MR. C found it challenging to understand the various problems affecting workers at the office. Based on this observation, the root problem was a cultural difference between work environments in the United States and Japan.
It is presumed that Mr. C’s performance will be as exemplary as in Japan. The organization’s management assumed that MR. C would adapt to the United States’ working environment without proper preparation. As a result, Mr. C lacked qualities such as multicultural adaptability, which prevented him from embracing United States’ culture.
Mr. C faced several challenges, including cultural differences, value differences, variations in relationship styles, and communication mismatches which made it difficult for him to improve his performance and productivity. The culture was different in that he was compelled to work with women, contrary to his expectation since women were considered less capable in Japan. Despite his position, he was given responsibility for crushingly huge workloads. This was contrary to his expectation since his leadership position in Japan had made him accustomed to fewer workloads.
Colleagues had a different relationship in the United States compared to Japan. While salarymen went drinking after work in Japan to discuss work issues, in the United States, they went home, which made it challenging for Mr. C to figure out what was happening at the office. These challenges or difficulties contributed to his declining performance at work.
The positive aspect that we can build on is that the supervisor assigned colleagues to support and assist Mr. C in completing various organizational tasks. This is a strategic way of ensuring that productivity is improved in the United States’ workplace environment. From the case study, this strategy is considered a popular pattern in American companies to preserve productivity.
We can also build on the fact that Mr. C is young. Being young allows Mr. C to learn more and acquire the necessary experience to help him lead the company through globalization. Compared to an older person, Mr. C has a higher chance of learning multicultural adaptability since he is young and has a flexible mentality.
The most effective remediation would be assigning more co-workers to help Mr. C out in his endeavors. Mr. C is struggling to fit in while he works, and as a result, the organization’s overall performance will be negatively impacted. To ensure productivity is instantly resolved, I suggest assigning more employees to help Mr. C complete his tasks. This remediation would help improve performance and productivity and allow Mr. C to learn from his colleagues and adapt to their workplace culture.
Organizations can avoid such incidences by enrolling personnel in coaching and training programs to prepare them for international roles. Mr. C did not have the necessary knowledge and skills to help him adapt to the global workplace environment. Enrolling in coaching and training programs will empower employees with intercultural communication and multicultural adaptation skills, which will allow them to maintain their productivity in international workplaces. Learning foreign cultures will enable employees to learn about other cultures, preparing them for placement in these societies. It will also prepare them emotionally, socially, and psychologically to fit in the international organizational environments.
In conclusion, Mr. C’s main problem was cultural differences in the United States. This problem contributed to his reduced productivity at work. By assigning colleagues, the supervisor was able to preserve productivity. This is considered a very effective remedy to the situation. In the future, the company should enroll personnel in coaching or training programs before assigning them expatriate assignments. This will prepare them by empowering them with multicultural adaptation mechanisms which allow them to work in international environments.
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