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Gung Ho - Movie Review

Essay by fsdfadsfasds  •  May 7, 2017  •  Book/Movie Report  •  634 Words (3 Pages)  •  595 Views

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In the movie Gung Ho, a Japanese corporation reopens an American car factory; however, working side-by-side is harder than expected due to differences in culture. Differences in the workers levels of collectivism and individualism negatively influence the working relationships by creating conflict, lowering employee performance and satisfaction, and lowering organizational commitment. The Japanese workers expected American workers to conform to their ways and value the corporation over themselves. However, American workers expected their daily routines to be the same as they were before the factory closed.  At first, there was slight tension when American workers hesitated to perform team-building exercises before starting work. Conflict rose as American workers were told to do their jobs differently, not to listen to music, and not to smoke cigars.

Employee performance, satisfaction, and organizational commitment are usually lower when individual and organizational values do not align.  This is certainly depicted in the movie when an American worker receives a demotion due to a defect in the car he made.  The worker says that every car cannot be perfect and it is the dealer’s problem.  The Japanese disagree with him and explain that a Japanese worker will work all night, without pay, in order to fix a problem because he is loyal to the company.  This concept is foreign to individualistic American workers because working for the good of the company is a collectivist value.  One American worker suggests implementing an incentive program.  This is more likely to motivate an individualistic American worker because the reward will benefit him personally.

        Neutral vs. emotional is one of the dimensions included in Trompenaars’ model that influences the working relationships between the Japanese and American workers. In Japanese culture, emotions are not openly expressed and do not play a large role in communication. On the other hand, American culture is emotional. It is important to understand differences in culture when conducting business in order to interpret behavior correctly.  For example, when Hunt Stevenson traveled to Japan in hopes of persuading them to reopen the factory, his lack of cultural awareness lead him to conclude they were not interested because they showed little emotion. America is a low-context culture and relies on spoken and written words to convey meaning while Japan is a high-context culture.  This explains why Hunt was disappointed that the Japanese were silent after his business proposal.  

The difference between high and low context styles is also illustrated when Hunt and his wife Audrey join the Japanese executives and their wives for dinner. The Japanese women excuse themselves from the table when the men want to discuss business, even though they are not directly asked to leave.  Audrey is unaware that the men wanted her to leave and asked if anyone minded if she stayed.  Since there was no response to her question, she assumed that they did not mind.  This misunderstanding reveals how low-context communication styles differ from high-context styles.

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