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Compare The Business Culture Of The Uk With That Of Japan

3217 words - 13 pages

Compare the business culture of the UK

with that of Japan.

How would business negotiations

between delegations from the two countries be affected,

and how would you advise a UK team

to prepare for the negotiations?



From Eve to Izanami -

How learning
the Truth and the Way
can help Westerners understand Japanese culture,
as well as their own


“Nihonjinron”, literally “the Theory of the Japanese”, has been of fascination for both Japanese and foreigners alike, and the industrialised world seems acutely aware that the Japanese are very different to Westerners, in ideology, religion, and business strategies. There are ...view middle of the document...

With regards to UK culture, Hofstede’s and Tromenaars’ findings can be discussed with reference to the Holy Bible, providing clues as to why the British behave the way they do. For Japan, Buruma (1995) and Cleary (1991), examine religious history to help explain the particulars of Japanese behaviour in business.
The second section will compare UK and Japanese business cultures using Hofstede and Trompenaars’ findings, to explain how negotiations between delegations would be affected. The third part of the essay will utilise this information, along with stories about cultural origins, to give advice to a UK team preparing for negotiations. It will be strongly suggested that they learn about both themselves and the Japanese, and from this understanding to draw out similarities as well as identify differences, as this will help dissolve the alienating concept of the “foreigner”.


Morrison, Conaway, and Borden (1994) summarise specific behaviours of people in 60 different nations, including the UK and Japan. They briefly look at each history and government structure, but focus mainly on particular actions in various situations, from everyday life to business negotiations. Although they do not explicitly analyse the data, the authors organise the information into similar formats for each country, enabling the reader to draw comparisons between the nations. From their studies, it is clear that there are many differences between the UK and Japan in the way they conduct business. Moreover, there is a clear link between business and everyday behaviours, strongly suggesting that business culture is closely tied to national culture.
Following the concept of the interdependence between business and national culture, Hofstede (1993) made a study of 64 nations, from which he created a set of cultural dimensions arranged along bipolar scales, which he argues broadly encapsulates national preferences. They include: Power Distance, Individualism, Masculinity, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Long-term versus Short-term orientation.
Trompenaars (1993) looks at cultural differences in a similar manner to Hofstede, applying bipolar scales, but he adds extra dimensions, including Universalist/Particularist and Specific/Diffuse. These preferences, although useful in gaining a general overview of a country’s culture, do not explain why cultures have certain preferences and how they affect behaviour.
Hofstede and Bond (1988) touch on the influence of historical and religious factors when observing the increasing economic growth of the “Five Dragons”, including Japan. They apply Hofstede’s (1993) first four dimensions to their research, but replace Orientation with Confucian Dynamism, from their conclusions relating to Confucian principles aiding the Five Dragons’ rise in the global economy.
Again, however, Hofstede and Bond do not venture far into the roots of national culture. In order to more fully understand UK and Japanese behaviour...

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