A Perspective of Cross-Cultural Psychological Studies for Global Business

A Perspective of Cross-Cultural Psychological Studies for Global Business

Hiroshi Yama (Osaka City University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9806-2.ch010
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Some may still have a stereotypical image that Japanese employees work like a robot, and achieved the industrial development even though they are not logical thinkers. This chapter is against this based on the latest cross-cultural studies. The conclusions are as follows. (1) Even if Japanese appears to be illogical in the sense that they are less likely to do rule-based thinking, this does not means that they are less intelligent. (2) Easterners are more likely to do dialectical thinking. (3) Easterners' naïve dialecticism is strongly associated with cultural tradition, and it is plausible that it has been developed in a high-context culture. (4) Japanese people may have a collectivist culture, and it is not an undeveloped culture comparing with an individualist culture as shown in the case of ‘nemawashi'. Finally, it is proposed that the distinction between Westerners' low-context culture and Easterners' high-context culture provide important implications for globalizing business and that the notions of global mindset and ‘glocal' are important for international business.
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The Phantom In The 19Th Century

How has the stereotypical image of Japanese employees been shaped in people’s minds? As Said (1978) summarized as the term of “Orientalism”, Westerners stereotypical images have been shaped through the history of their hegemony over Eastern peoples. In the case of Japanese, two kinds of people’s belief above are as follows. The first is the folk belief that Japanese people can never be more intelligent or creative than Westerners. What are the rationales for this belief? The biggest one is the phantom of white supremacy and social Darwinism in the 19th century. The notion of natural selection proposed by Charles R. Darwin gave a scientific ground to the doctrine of white supremacy, although he did not intend to argue this. Social Darwinism is a general name given to various theories which apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to the social sciences. According to this approach, Western civilization and culture are the most developed through natural selection and survival of the fittest. This assertion was enforced by the historical facts that many Asian and African countries were colonies of Western powers in the 19th century. To make matters worse, social Darwinism was used to justify the imperialism and colonialism of Western powers, and engendered a belief that Westerners were the most intelligent and created the most advanced culture and civilization, although the original advocates did not intend to do so.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Naïve Dialecticism: Dialecticism is regarded as philosophical thinking to produce a synthesized conclusion from a contradiction. But, naïve dialecticism represents people’s belief that the world is always changing, everything is connected to each other, and the world is full of contradiction.

High-Context/Low-Context: Context is implicitly shared information like common sense by people when communicating. According to Hall, Westerners rely upon context less whereas Easterners use context more.

Nemawashi: It is an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for decision making by talking to the people concerned, gathering support and feedback. It is a strategy used in Japan to avoid conflicts and obtain a consensus at the formal meeting for decision making.

Rule-Based Thinking: It is human reasoning usually based on a single rule or a few rules. A rule usually takes the logical form of if p then q .

Reasoning: It is mental process in which a conclusion is inferred from premises.

Individualism/Collectivism: Individualism is defined as a social pattern that consists of loosely linked individuals who give priority to their personal goals over the goals of others. On the other hands, collectivism is defined as a social pattern that consists of closely linked individuals who give priority to the goals of these collectives over their own personal goals.

Culture: The complex whole which includes custom and pattern of behavior with belief, morals, and sense of values acquired by man as a member of society.

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