「働き方の達人」エピソード 21: 文化に上も下もない！ 職場の外国人と「うまくやる」には？
「働き方の達人」エピソード 21: 文化に上も下もない！ 職場の外国人と「うまくやる」には？
Identity politics, Cosmopolitanism and Business:
Journey of a Japanese Company in Hong Kong
The major aim of the presentation is to analyze the discourse of identity politics and cosmopolitan values in the process of translating and reinterpreting Japaneseness in Hong Kong. It is based on a long-term participant observation at a Japanese multinational retailer, here called it Ichi in Hong Kong. Numerous scholars have positively evaluated the influence of Japanese companies on Hong Kong consumers and their behaviors. In comparison to these studies, groups of scholars criticized Japanese management system to be overtly traditional and to be left behind the global standards. However, few have explored how these two different perceptions on Japan or Japaneseness could exist without conflicting with each other. This presentation examines, specifically, how local employees constructed these two attitudes in a context of postcolonial Hong Kong. Ichi markets itself as a global company while the management system was backward which largely echoes with previous management literatures. Local employees, who interpret Japanese cultures as advanced and unique before joining Ichi, were disappointed at the Japanese management system yet reconfirmed their passive perception were not wrong. These two feelings surprisingly did not conflict with each other nor reduced their positive feelings towards Japan because it resemblances to the local identity, which was mixed by Western ideology and Chineseness, and also the cosmopolitan values allow them to choose what is suitable to the occasion. This presentation implies that the translation or reinterpretation process of one culture to another is not a singular phenomenon, but a plural and dynamic process, and it has to be understood in relation to the formation of the local Hong Kong identity and the influence of Japanese culture in Hong Kong.
Keywords: identity, politics, cosmopolitanism, business, postcolonial
Rites and Symbol in Corporate Management
This presentation aims to anthropologically examine the ways in which a corporate entity’s rites and symbols in management help construct a unique corporate identity, and the ways in which community members can cultivate a strong sense of belonging. Numerous management scientists believed that corporate identity was a fixed concept that could be measured scientifically. This perspective overlooks its fluidity and the impacts of routines and symbolic figures on identity building. This study will use the case of a Japanese ramen shop in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), to examine one of the unique aspects of Japanese management, which is to use daily routines and symbols to enhance collectivism. This paper uses the anthropological notion of identity building to offer a new perspective on management studies and to deepen the understanding of management in the Japanese context.
Keywords: identity, rites, symbol, management, Japan
Eat, Share and Serve:
Founder Philosophy and Community Building in Business
This presentation aims to examine how the founder philosophy influences the formation of a community in the workplace and to explore its possible implications. Few studies on business examined carefully how locally formed philosophy could be accepted and spread by the global audience without loosing its authenticity. This presentation is based on a fieldwork at a Japanese ramen shop, here called it Sakura in Cambridge (U.S.) in 2017, and aims to show how the founder philosophy that was represented along with the characteristic of Japaneseness, such as ramen and shop atmosphere, attract people across cultures to join the Sakura community. Founder philosophy states that everyone is entitled to dream, to share them and expected to eventually give back to society claiming that the shop was just a platform for people to realize their dreams rather than simply a ramen shop. Transforming founder philosophy to ideology was facilitated and controlled by series of informal rules, and members at Sakura seemed to have shared this philosophy voluntarily and believed they can dream and realize them only by joining Sakura community. This case shows that simple and positive message of the philosophy, its benefits to the members’ desires and creation of image as non-profit organization attracted people from different cultural backgrounds to create a community strongly bounded by founder ideology. It also shows how a company creates and recreates an eco system where members would voluntarily spread this spirit to outsiders to include more members as well as customers.
Keywords: community, business, philosophy, ideology, Japan
Language, Ideology, and Cross-cultural management:
Cases of Japanese managers in Hong Kong and the United States
With the increasing presence of Japanese companies overseas, many of them nowadays invest a great deal in English education, aiming to improve their English language abilities. However, is English the main and only challenge that Japanese companies face when managing local employees? Do people with better English abilities have a stronger advantage when attempting to achieve their goals than those who do not? This presentation aims to answer these questions based on fieldwork conducted in two Japanese companies, an apparel retailer in Hong Kong and a ramen chain in the United States. Despite their differences, the top managements in both companies believe in the potential of Japanese culture and aim to spread Japan-centered ideology across cultures through their products and management that is considered to be superior to that in other companies. Stories from these two companies show that one of the major factors that determine their relationship with local employees is not the language ability, but rather, the extent to which they attempt to impose Japan-centered ideology on the locals or, in another words, the extent to which they expect the local employees to “Japanize” their behaviors. This implies that language is a tool to express deeply rooted ideas, such as how employees interpret Japan-centered ideology and take action based on it. The findings of this study suggest that companies should invest more in educating employees to improve their ways of thinking and highlights the necessity of respecting and learning from local people rather than simply focusing on language education.