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Business Expansion Efforts of Mary in Japan

BUS709 COMMUNICATION IN BUSINESS T119

Assessment Type: Individual Assessment – Essay

Purpose: This assessment builds your oral and written communication skills, and gives you real life
understanding of the challenges and rewards of running a business. It directly relates to Learning Outcome
A and B. The essay is designed to develop your research and analysis skills.

Topic: Business Culture Essay

Full task details: Mary, from Dubbo, always knew that she would have a career with food, her parents are
chefs and continuously experiment with new recipes for sauces and condiments and bottling them as gifts.
Growing up in this food loving environment led Mary to start a small business manufacturing a variety of
condiments; chilli sauces, pastes, chutneys and jams. Today she owns ‘The Aroma Shop’ and an attached
small factory. Her products use organic ingredients, no preservatives and are very popular. Mary wishes to
expand her business to Japan as she is certain that her products will sell well there! Mary intends to fly to
Tokyo to meet the manager of a popular store, 55-year-old Mr. Moro. Mary isn’t certain how to correctly
conduct business in the Japanese culture and with an older man. She is concerned about their first
meeting.

Assessment requirement: You are required to provide a 1500-word formal analytical essay. Using a
minimum of five scholarly references that have been written in the last five years and are credible and
reliable, you are to discuss the following in detail with references:
1. Japanese business etiquette and the steps that Mary can take to make a favourable first impression
when she visits Japan and meets Mr. Moro.
2. A section on areas of potential cross-cultural miscommunication, using either Hofstede or the GLOBE
Models of Culture.
3. Suggest suitable things that Mary can do to increase the success of the meeting and future business
arrangements.

Answer

BUSINESS CULTURE ESSAY

The current essay has focused on Business Culture, the concerned background of which involves business expansion efforts of Mary (an individual lady from Dubbo, Australia) in Japan. Mary, being born and brought up in a food-loving environment, is definite to make a successful career in food and condiments. She owns the Aroma Shop in the city but desires to expand this in Japan and thus, the current essay is mainly focused on Japanese business etiquettes and the possible steps to be adopted by Mary for making her meeting with Mr Moro, the manager of a food store in Tokyo. 

The business etiquette in Japan is an effective combination of traditional cultural norms and values between the Japanese. The rigid customer and tradition of Japanese society have left impacts on the development of business etiquettes in effective ways. According to Witt and Redding (2009), the business culture in Japan is quite formal and in any sorts of business meetings or conversation, addressing others with strict formality (Mr and Mrs) is vital. Ralston et al. (2008) has stated that personal behaviour has greater significance in the case of the business etiquettes and formalities in Japan. Specifically this is applied in case of first meeting with senior Japanese executives. One of the most implicative parts is played by the business cards that is very important to be exchanged at the very beginning of the business meetings. Globalnegotiator.com (2019) has argued that failing in exchanging the cards before the commencement of the meeting is considered to be a sign of impoliteness in Japan. Thus, throughout the meeting, the card is required to be on the table.

Apart from this, one very significant part is that during the business conversation and practical behaviour emphasise must be lied on the group, rather than asserting on the importance of individual profits and gains. Besides this, according to the highly formal business etiquettes in Japan, there is the higher implication of business gifts, which is considered the symbol of effective cooperation, trust and mutual respect (Globalnegotiator.com, 2019). Thus, after the establishment of the relationship up to a certain level, this is almost compulsory to have an exchange of gifts twice per years, according to the tradition of business relations in Japan. Moreover, the formality of dresses has higher significance in the case of business meetings and relationship establishment (Schaede, 2012).

Therefore, considering the real importance of strict formality and traditional values in Japan, for making the first impression effective in Japan, Mary has to ensure the maintenance of highly typical behaviour. First of all on reaching Japan and specifically when meeting Mr Moro for the first time, Mary would have to soon develop a well understanding of the courtesies and fundamental formalities in Japan (Xu, 2017). Mary must consider the gesture of bowing to Mr Moro along with making application of respectful languages. Therefore, for making the first impression effective, she must make an effective application of respectful and humble languages. However, for creating a favourable first impression, she must be careful regarding talking less and only talk when she is supposed to do so. This particular factor is of higher importance in case of making a successful impression while meeting Japanese people (Smith, Singal and Lamb, 2008). However, Mary must be relied on reflecting simplicity and common sense of humbleness and respectfulness. 

Before commencement of the meeting with Mr Moro in Japan, Mary is required to make the exchange of the business card with him (the business of condiments, the Aroma Shop), preceded by giving a respectful bow to Mr Moro (Walker, 2017). This will be followed by small self-introduction of Mary. Therefore, for the generation of a good impression, being completely punctual and simple would be the most important start for the business meeting. However, the first impression will be dependent very much on conduction of pre-meeting research on the food store of Mr Moro, as respecting other’s business and company history is a strong part of business etiquettes in Japan (Xu, 2017).Thus, after the meeting is completed, Mary must express her gratitude to Mr Moro either directly or by emails.

As Mary wishes to expand her food business to Japan, this is very much important for her to take effective notice of the intercultural differences going to be associated with this regard. As Mary is from Dubbo city in Australia, her thoughts, values and behaviour are completely affected by Australian culture and ethics. However, she would need a detailed understanding of the cultural dimensions in Japan as business etiquettes in Japan is largely influenced by cultural values and norms based on Japanese traditions (Okoro, 2012). However, for avoiding potential cross-cultural miscommunication, application of Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimension would be sufficiently implicative here. 

Considering power distance perspectives, in Japan (score 54), society is mainly hierarchical and the organizational setting is less democratic with wage differences (Hofstede Insights, 2019b). Therefore, this is important to note that communication in Japanese society is highly formal and indirect, which is opposite to that of Australia (score 36) (Chopik and Kitayama, 2018; Hamamura, 2018). Thus, Mary should be aware of the greater power distance in Japanese society. Thus her perceived values and attitude is required to reflect this particular cultural dimension in Japan. Japan has the individualism score 46, reflecting a higher emphasis on group harmony instead of individual benefits. Thus, in Japanese society, there is collectivism, where people belong to groups for being taken care of them in exchange for loyalty (Hofstede Insights, 2019b). As Mary belongs to the Individualist society, she has to orient her values towards Collectivism based opinions and attitudes. High score of Japan in this area (95) represents that the society is driven by success, achievement and competition. There is considerable competition among groups that are considered the drive for excellence (Walker, 2017). This is one of the most significant cultural differences in Japan, where extreme competition and rivalry for success is valued (Takano and Osaka, 2018). On the hand, in Australia (score 61), quality of life, compromise and involvement is much valued in the society. Thus, while doing business in Japan, Mary must be acquainted with the highly Masculine culture there. 

With the high score in this field, Japan (92) is one of the most uncertainty avoiding nations, where the uncertain situation in society or corporate is of higher uncomfortable (Hofstede Insights, 2019b). There have a strong aversion towards uncertainty and ambiguity and strict formulation of codes and structures is maintained. In the case of corporate and business organizations, the managers are interested in detail facts and data (Globalnegotiator.com, 2019). Many efforts are put for feasibility studies for identifying and elimination of the risk factors associated. Therefore, while Mary is habituated in being comfortable in change, she has to be oriented towards strict efforts of uncertainty avoidance in Japan. Japan is strongly the long-term oriented society (80), where looking at the bigger perspectives of views is mainly the tradition. Therefore, Japan is deeply future-oriented society and in business, there is a higher focus on long-term achievements and success (Kimura and Nishikawa, 2018). This is exactly opposite to the culture of Australia, where the focus is more towards short-term orientation (Hofstede Insights, 2019a). Therefore, while the expansion of her business in Japan, Mary must have to be focused on ensuring long-term achievement and her behaviour and opinions would reflect this value. This would help her in ensuring avoidance of cross-cultural; miscommunication while trying her business success in Japan. 

For making the business meeting with Mr Moro a success, Mary can simply follow the cultural norms and business etiquettes since the commencement of the meeting to the end. She would have to be well aware of the importance of different small and simple norms and values that are of specific importance for Japanese. Mostly, being time-specific, honourable, humble, simple and respectful towards the business history of Mr Moro can bring a higher level of success to Mary in the meeting (Xu, 2017). During the meeting, the main agenda must not be individual profits or advantages of the businesses but Mary can rather be focused on developing a respectful and responsible business partnership with Mr Moro aiming the group benefits and competitive advantage in the market. This collectivism-associated focus might be a great success factor for Mary. On proposing group based future business in the Japanese food market might be a great step in the meeting. Moreover, the behaviour and values of Mary must reflect emphasise on long-standing achievement and success of the group business of her and Mr Moro. Thus, Mary can be specifically careful of effectively addressing the areas of cultural differences in Japan both in social and business areas, which would ensure the future success of business arrangements for Mary in Japan.

From the above discussion, this is clear that Mary has to be specifically aware of maintaining typical cultural values and business etiquettes while employing efforts to making successful future arrangement for her business in Japan. This is reflected that Mary has to be largely focused on maintaining cultural differences in the Japanese society and this will be the key success factor for her meeting with Mr Moro.

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