Thursday, January 31, 2013

Japan and Globalization

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to meet with representatives from DTT’s Osaka office. Three partners and one senior manager shared their perspectives on the impacts of globalization on Japanese corporations. All four of our hosts had experience working in foreign countries including the U.S. and Indonesia.

They candidly shared with us how Japanese history, social and business culture is impacting Japanese globalization efforts. Historically Japan has been geographically isolated and this isolation has a long historical significance within Japan. Japan's corporate history allowed individuals to be employed for life with one company, especially during times of significant economic growth as in the 1980s. The human resource model used contained specialization areas or tracks which each individual stayed in for the course of his or her career. After the economic downturn, employment for life became less feasible and the nimbleness required to modify human resource models that could better respond to global business environments has been slow to change. 

The two-hour session also provide us with some practical ideas on how to work in U.S. and Japanese projects teams. One of the partners we met with was born in Hawaii and has been living in Japan for 20 years. From his “American” perspective he advised us that as American’s we “don’t know what we don’t know, and the Japanese won’t necessarily tell you.” Developing your ability to “read the air in the room,” and developing a long-term relationship are some strategies that will help.

Written by Joe

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