Gung Ho Case Study
In the movie Gung Ho (1986), the problem of cultural conflict between American and Japanese organizational practices is depicted. Several cultural dimensions could be identified as the primary areas of conflict escalation through the relevant episodes.
First, the dimension of collectivism in Japanese practice versus individualism in American one is portrayed. Valuing of one dimension over another could be observed in the scene where two workers, Soito and Buster, are arguing on alternative way to paint the car. When the first worker tries to show the second an alternative way to do the job, Buster resists asking why car painting couldn’t be done the way one already knows how. Soito responds that every man should learn every job while working in a team. Hunt steps in to resolve the problem saying to Soito that he should understand that while being in America, he should treat Americans from the perspective of them like being special. Returning back to his job, Soito firmly responds to Hunt that there is one way to run this factory, alluding on the dominance of individual decision-making in the facility.Another cultural dimension is in using of high and low context styles, which is observed through indirect communication style used by Japanese and direct communication used by Americans. An example of direct communication could be found in a scene where Hunt presents an idea of coming to Hadleyville to Assan managers, finding that his presentation does not get much of an attention. Hunt shifts to the straight talk, bluntly explaining that the city needs the Japanese and that hard work is the thing that Assan managers are guaranteed in exchange for their investments.
Japanese are being silent in response, which Hunt considered his failure as a result of cultural misunderstanding, where silence in low context is generally regarded negatively, but in high context is regarded as opposed. Finally, the cultural dimension of high and low power distance is broadly discussed through the movie. A low power distance style is evident for American workers, who believe that their words should be valued in working decisions around the factory, while a high power distance style is exhibited by Japanese workers, who accept the principle of obedience before authorized decision makers without questioning the logic behind. Consequently, in episodes where workers challenge the management (for instance, the labor union decision episode), Assan managers feel this as a sign of disrespect while Americans simply vote for their accepted rights. Several cross cultural management strategies of building teams and empowering others have been used in Gung Ho to create a team spirit. For instance, in morning exercise episode, Kazihiro hopes to build this by exercising together.
The workers resist until Hunt begins doing calisthenics acting as a leader they would likely to follow. Workers eventually join Hunt, but perform exercise in own style, thus clashing collectivism with individualism.The main problem both Kazihiro Download Full Essay Show full preview