The movie Gung Ho portrays the takeover of an American car plant by a Japanese company. The Japanese management team comes to the small town of Hadleyville to manage this American company, and cultural crash becomes the main issue when the cultural background differs entirely between the Japanese management and the American workers. The most critical communication problem presented in the film is intercultural collaboration and the misunderstanding which results from changes in the company. The Japanese company takes advantage of the desperate work force and institutes many changes.
The manager insists on calisthenics exercises every morning, whilst trying to teach the workers that it is the company benefit takes precedence over that of the individual worker. They attempt to change the workplace environment and even neglect rights which American workers have learned to expect. They are denied the right to a union, their wages are reduced and they are moved between various tasks so as to learn every job, and are held to seemingly impossible standards of efficiency and quality. The film also presents the poor work ethic and lackadaisical attitude towards quality control that characterizes American factories of the time.
In contrast, the Japanese staff display a completely different attitude: They have high standards of efficiency and quality control, maintain a highly serious demeanor towards all things even ‘playful’ activities like baseball, forbid entertainment in the work place, consume instant food to save time, establish strong boundaries between working relationships and informal ones and (to the puzzlement of the Americans) bathe together in the river. Simply put, the Americans and Japanese find that their cultural differences lie in working attitude, life attitude and social attitude.
This essay will demonstrate 3 sections to clearly identify the issue about intercultural collaboration & misunderstanding when the corporation changes about this movie. ORGANIZATIONAL THEORIES In the movie, the Japanese management team uses the scientific management theory to manage the American auto plant. They take Henri Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management and apply them towards achieving effective organization. Therefore, their focus is on the division of work, authority, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, and subordination of individual interests to the general interest, scalar chain and stability of tenure of personal.
Factory operations are based on the five basic activities which are planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. However, they lack flexibility in work and never smile in the workplace. The film reflects the reality that bureaucracy is a crucial expression of Japanese culture. As for the American workers, they are more accustomed to human behavior management methods. The human behavior perspective assumes that excellence in work is accomplished through harnessing the energies of people and as a result, its emphasis is on cooperation, participation, satisfaction and interpersonal skills.
However, the American workers have become lax and think personal life is more important than their jobs and place greater value on comfort in the work environment, etc. Thus conflict in the film ensues from the Japanese managers use of scientific management being inappropriate to the context of the human behavior management tradition of the American work force. This conflict puts the management team at odds with the workers, and they become increasingly hostile. At the appropriate consideration of the firm, I would suggest the manager use integrative management methods.
The scientific management theory concentrates on organizational structure and work design but with little attention to people and organizational environment. The human behavior theory is concerned with people but also ignore influences that lie beyond organizational boundaries. The manager should seriously to regulate the product chain but give the worker a comfortable working environment. The manager needs to find a more flexible style of management and friendly expression to lead the American worker and attempt to reconcile the differing styles they are accustomed to.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION AND THEORIES OF ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE The film shows that American organizational behaviors are hard to change precisely because cultural conventions have significant staying power resulting inn inertia. The change of this factory included all dimensions. The failure of cooperation at the beginning is mainly because the manager team and workers failed to make the appropriate communications regarding organizational change. The Japanese managers communicate in a one way fashion, insisting on the Japanese routine, and when met with resistance choose to force the workers.
At one point, they even stop talking when the American staff comes into the meeting room. In this case, taking the dialogical approach is better for implementing changes in the factory. This allows everyone to discuss the internal problems and strengths of the factory, and reduce the barrier between the Japanese management and American workers. This is made evident throughout the movie where at the start lack of understanding and communication makes it difficult for management and workers to work together, but improvements in this regard towards the end of the film result in a greater ability to work for common goals.
Also this movie shows how important it is to consider the perspective of the employees when instituting organizational changes. The Japanese managers arrive at the factory but make no attempt to appraise the perspectives of the local work force; they simply believe that any decisions made towards improving productivity need little scrutiny regarding their appropriateness to the context. By ignoring the American workers’ perspectives of job and personal life, the workers develop a hostile attitude towards the manager, and even the manager’s family. THE GLOBALIZING ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION
This movie portrays the biggest issue facing the relationship between intercultural management and globalizing organizational communication. The Japanese manager did not practice intercultural management and refused to consider the different cultural context, choosing to use one person to relay decisions to the workers. For example, notions of gender best reflect the differences between the two cultures. The American women can talk about business and have greater freedom to do what they want. By contrast, the input of Japanese women is not appreciated in business matters and they are expected to concentrate on the family.
The Japanese manager cannot accept this difference and is unhappy when an American girl stays to listen during business discussions. A second difference is the workplace attitude. On the product line, the Japanese manager oversees quality intensely but the American worker does not think a small error is a big deal and thinks that the manager is merely looking for problems. Thirdly, in the baseball game, the Japanese enjoyment is predicated on observance of the rules but the Americans prefer to overlook some rules in favor of an emphasis of enjoyment.
Considering the characteristics of globalizing organizational communication and cultural variability, the divergence approach is useful for the purposes of understanding issues of cultural difference that result from managing a business from a different culture. Culture shapes behavior and influences communication because it structures one’s perceptions and ideas of the world. Of central interest are systematic differences in cognitive frames and the strong association between cognition and value.
Before we take the intercultural communication approach within business, we can conduct the dimension of cultural variability and study the typology of culture with related organizational communication methods. In closing, after analyzing the problems presented by this movie, the evidence shows that understanding obtained from good organizational communication within a cross-culture company is crucial to success. To use the appropriated management theory and to develop the right communication way based on the specific company situation is very important to doing good business.