The cultural impact of societal and organizational culture on ethnocentric Japanese leaders: A phenomenological collective case study

by Kleinsmith, Warren J., Jr., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2010, 157 pages; 3398318


Through the application of a multi-case study qualitative research design with a phenomenology element, the goal of this research study was to explore the individual experiences of senior Japanese leaders to understand how Western societal and organizational culture values influence their approach to leadership in a temporary ethnocentric cross-cultural staffing assignment within the U.S. consumer electronics industry. Study findings suggested a majority of senior Japanese leaders in temporary U.S. assignments experienced lifetime employment practices, indiscriminate career paths, mentoring, and job rotation. A majority of the Japanese leaders in such U.S. assignments exhibited an ethnocentric philosophy and the path-goal theory of leadership effectiveness. Through the concepts of implicit leadership theory, value-belief theory, integrated theory, and variform universals, study findings indicated the Japanese leaders had to develop, communicate, and gain support for their mutual goals to be effective in their U.S. assignments. The Japanese leaders also had to accept opposing viewpoints and operate effectively across the decentralized, autonomous, and specialized structure of Western cultural environments. This required the leaders to adjust their communication, motivation, and negotiation practices to support the Western cultural values of assertiveness and individualism. The study results suggested cross-cultural training and development programs should begin with an understanding of the unique Western communication, motivation, and negotiation practices, and should expand to discuss how the Western values of individualism and assertiveness influence Japanese leadership practices. Such knowledge and understanding will better prepare expatriate personnel for temporary assignments and help Western environments to better understand and support such a cross-cultural experience.

AdviserGregory Gull
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Ethnic studies
Publication Number3398318

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