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Cultural Differences Between The United States And Japan

602 words - 3 pages

Cultural Differences between the United States and Japan
Dena Lassley
Saint Leo University

There are many differences between the cultures of the United States and Japan. Some of these include religion, the food they eat, the clothes they wear and the way they view their people. According to Ivancevich and Konopaske, Hofstede believes that cultural differences are not changing, but work related norms and values may be. He also feels that those cultural views continue to have strong influences on the way organizations practice business.
The differences between Japan and the United States as seen through Hofstede’s model can be seen in the chart below.

As seen in this chart, Japan and the United States are only close in one of the six dimensions, Power Distance, Both countries are less likely to push for the symbols of authority and power in comparison to a culture with a higher ...view middle of the document...

In Japanese culture, they tend to restrain themselves by putting less emphasis on leisure time and more control over the gratification of their desires.
In the last three dimensions, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and pragmatism, Japan scored considerably higher than the United States. In cultures like Japan, a high score on masculinity defines their culture as being one who is less likely to allow women to be in leadership roles. Countries that score lower in this dimension, like the United States, have a culture in which women in upper management is supported. Uncertainty avoidance is a dimension that scores a culture’s need to control future events that may affect the business. Japan scored high in this area. They put more emphasis on their prediction tools, control and influence over future events. The United States culture is one that is more willing to tackle events on a day to day basis. The last dimension, pragmatism, represents level a culture chooses to maintain its link to its past when taking on the challenges of its future. Cultures that score high, like Japan, prefer to maintain time-honored traditions and suspiciously view changes in society. Other cultures, like the United States, who score low, encourage efforts in modern education and changes in society.
The Hofstede model can be helpful when taking a business international. If a company based in the United States should decide to expand into Japan, they will need to look at the cultural differences between both countries and choose employees who can adapt. They will also need to make some changes to their approaches in Human Resource management to handle decisions and promotions in a manner that will not go against the cultural beliefs of Japanese businesses.

Ivancevich, J. & Konopaske, R. (2013). Human Resource Management (12th ed.). Columbus, Ohio: Irwin/McGraw-Hill
What about Japan? (n.d.). Retrieved September 5, 2014, from
What about the USA? (n.d.). Retrieved September 5, 2014, from

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