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International Business Etiquette and Manners. The Key Differences in Practice between the USA and Japan and their Effects upon Communication and Working Relationships

Wissenschaftlicher Aufsatz 2008 16 Seiten

Tourismus - Sonstiges


Table of Contents

List of Appendices


1. Introduction

2. Overview of Form of State, Economy and Culture in Japan

3. Hofstede’s Dimensions: USA vs. Japan
3.1 Individualism
3.2 Masculinity
3.3 Power Distance
3.4 Uncertainty Avoidance
3.5 Long-term Orientation

4. Considerations before, during and after an American- Japanese Business Meeting
4.1 Pre-departure
4.2 The First Personal Contact
4.3 During the Meeting
4.4 After the Meeting

5. Conclusion

6. Recommendations

7. Appendices

8. Bibliography

List of Appendices

Appendix 1: Hofstede’s Dimensions (without Long-
term Orientation)

Appendix 2: Hofstede Indices (without Long-term


This paper deals with the cultural differences between the USA and Japan. It gives an overview of Japan’s form of state, economy and culture, illustrates the most important things to consider in business meetings between these nationalities and provides recommendations for correct behaviour in a US-Japanese business environment.

1. Introduction

In this fast moving world, the borders of countries are no obstacle any more. Especially in doing business, globalization is progressing and contracts are being closed across borders. The only real obstacles on the way to successful international business negotiations are of cultural nature. Therefore, good preparation is necessary before doing business with people from another culture.

This report investigates the cultural differences between the USA and Japan and shows how they can influence business relationships and negotiations between these two cultures. Since the business culture of the USA is the dominant role-model in most of the literature, it is assumed to be known and will not be treated in detail.

2. Overview of Form of State, Economy and Culture in Japan

Before Japan had a constitution, the emperor was equipped with full political and military power, which he lost with its introduction after World War II. The modern Japan is a parliamentary democracy. The emperor acts as functional head of state, although his official status under the constitution is the “symbol” of the Japanese nation and its people. The current emperor is Akihito is Japan’s 125th emperor ( 2008).

Nowadays, in the unitary state of Japan, the authority of the central government is superior to that of the country’s prefectural governments. Japan’s executive power is represented by a cabinet headed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (Encarta Encyclopaedia 2007). The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is the dominant political party. Their political program traditionally emphasizes economic development and close ties with the United States (Encarta Encyclopaedia 2007).

The Japanese economy is one of the strongest in the world, and Japan has the second highest GNP in the world after the United States (Communicaid Ltd. 2007). The Japanese currency is the Yen and the official language is Japanese. Japan’s main industries are manufacturing, construction, distribution, real estate, services, and communication and its most important trade partner is the USA which imports more than one quarter of all Japanese exports. ( 2008).

The Japanese culture has a long tradition that is divided into eras which have all been characterized by the reign of an emperor. With the current emperor Akihito ascending the throne in 1989 the Heisei (Achieving Peace) era had begun, including an economic upswing that still persists (Whitehill 1992). The two main religions in Japan are Buddhism and Shinto which is reflected in the whole culture. It unifies tradition and modernization and a distinct model of hierarchy, honour and etiquette is still reflected in many social and business practices today. The key concepts of the Japanese culture are “Wa”, the preservation of social harmony that is reflected in the avoidance of self-assertion and individualism and the preservation of good relationships despite differences in opinion, “Kao”, the notion of 'face' which is the basis of an individual's reputation and social status, and “Omoiyari”, that relates to the sense of empathy and loyalty encouraged in the Japanese society and practiced in Japanese business culture (Communicaid Ltd. 2007).



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
484 KB
Institution / Hochschule
University of Brighton – School of Service Management
International Business Etiquette Manners Investigation Differences Practice United States America Japan Effects Communication Working Relationships



Titel: International Business Etiquette and Manners. The Key Differences in Practice between the USA and Japan and their Effects upon Communication and Working Relationships