Tom from Canada vs Hoshi from Japan
Culture affects every aspect of a human life. It is also very important while making a managerial decision. The case presented in chapter 5 proves that being born in the Western or Japanese culture determines a lot our attitude to decision-making with all its consequences.
According to the information included in the case, Tom is a Canadian manager, who makes decision on his own, without consulting in with his team. He presents very individualistic attitude. It is completely different as far as we consider Hoshi’s way of making decisions.
He, on the other hand, spent a lot of time convincing people working with him to agree to the new inventory-control system. Hoshi is a collectivist-manager. Another significant difference between the two managers is that Tom was task-oriented and counted for a quick and positive result of his decision, for an achievement and maybe a promotion, without taking into consideration implications that it might have on his employees. Unlike the Canadian manager, Hoshi paid more attention to the fact how his co-workers will get used to working with the new system.
Joint decision making in the Japanese subsidiary had a severe implications for the performance. Unfortunately, it also turned out that just informing subordinates is not effective either. Each of the managers driven by attitudes characteristic of their cultural scripts and they did what they thought was the best for their subsidiaries. However, what would work best is a mix of these two. Tom and Hoshi would get better results if their had found a middle solution before making the final decision and introducing the new system.
Tom should not have done the task rush. After being informed, employees were surprised and not really convinced about the idea. This fact should have already attract the manager’s attention so that he hires a coach just in the beginning. If the Tom’s behaviour was any more collectivist, perhaps he would not trust only his own knowledge but would also ask other competent people of his subsidiary on their opinion. Furthermore, Tom did not care enough about his team, he did not really notice the moment just before key employees handed in their resignations.
As a result, as being too sure of the fact that what he does is right, he could not react properly while it was essential. Rational decision-making cannot be successful as long as we do not include the indispensable human factor. In my opinion, Hoshi’s biggest mistake was waiting for the consensus. It is obvious that the Japanese culture is much more collectivist that the Western one, nevertheless the role of the manager should always be the same – taking care of his/her subordinates on one hand and making final decisions in the right time on the other.
Having consensus as a priority, Hoshi forgot about the task to do and he did not realize when the change was really important for the further operating of the subsidiary. He should have been the person, who despite discussion and egalitarism, regarding people’s and company’s needs do his job. Moreover, he should have also met Mr. Bortolo expectations, it means introducing the system in the reasonable time. The CEO of the company understood characteristics and culture differences and gave the managers choice.
But it seems to me that Hoshi overstrained the possibility given and it led him to a failure. To sum up, both managers made some mistakes caused by their cultural scripts. Rush decision making as well as really slow decision making resulted in huge losses for the subsidiaries and for the company as a whole. If Tom and Hoshi exchanged their views, attitudes before and mix them, learnt something from each other, they could be both successful and satisfied with the results they could present.