A qualitative instrumental case study methodology was utilized to explore how social networks are established between the high and low context cultures within the U.S.-based subsidiary location of a Japanese-owned MNC. The research also explored the role of managers in establishing these social networks. The research was conducted at a U.S.-based subsidiary location of a Japanese-owned organization located in the state of Washington, with 27 participants using a guided interview protocol. The research showed that while there are cultural differences within the low and high context cultures, both the managers and non-managers are committed to sharing the tacit knowledge or "tribal knowledge" as was termed by the organization. However, unless the employees worked in the same area or on a cross-functional team together, the opportunity to share tacit knowledge was limited. The research also discovered that the language barrier created the most problems for effectively communicating between the cultures, yet the employees did not feel that the cultural differences made it more difficult to establish social networks. Moreover, the research also discovered that the high context cultures would shift their communication style to a low context culture in order to more effectively communicate with the low context cultures. The research discovered a gap in the literature, providing more opportunity for future research in several different areas, and the hope that the research has provided value to foreign-owned MNCs with U.S.-based subsidiary locations in how to effectively manage low and high context cultures.
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