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A comparison of U.S.

and Japanese management styles and unit effectiveness (Culpan and


Kucukemiroglu, 1993)
The findings indicate that U.S. and Japanese management style differ significantly both in
overall management styles and in each of the six dimensions. They also show that managerial
perception of departmental (unit) effectiveness in each country differs significantly.
> Model for Management Style and Unit Effectiveness
Six Principal Dimensions of Management Style:
(1) Supervision Style
(2) Decision Making
(3) Communication Pattern
(4) Control Mechanism
(5) Interdepartmental Relations
(6) Paternalistic Orientation
> Hypotheses
H1: Management style differs between the U.S. and Japan
H2: U.S. and Japan managers consider and place differing degrees of emphasis each dimension.
H3: U.S. perception of unit effectiveness differs from that of Japanese.
> Method
Sample: Top and middle managers from U.S. and Japanese manufacturing firms.
Questionnaire: Questions about manager characteristics, managements style, and unit
effectiveness.
> Results
Management styles and perception of managerial dimensions differ significantly. U.S. managers
emphasize supervisory style, decision making, and control mechanism. Japanese managers
emphasize communication pattern, interdepartmental relations and paternalistic orientation.
Further, Japanese managers consider their units more effective than U.S. managers do, and with
less variance. Management styles are opposite in each of the six dimensions.
American managers: Emphasize results, are less participative and focus on individual
responsibility and top-down decision making. Control mechanisms based on close supervision
and formal control are favored.
Japanese managers: Favor open, face-to-face communication which reduces barriers to
information flow. Interdepartmental communication is fostered . Paternalistic orientation is high
managers show concern for employees non-work situation.

The results suggest that U.S. managers should transform some of their managerial styles for
better performance. In particular: a more democratic supervisory style, consideration of both
decision results and process, more power to employees to identify causes of problems and fix
them that is, more employee involvement.
On the other hand, as Japanese firms come into more contact with Western companies some of
their management styles may change for example more individualism, merit-based rewards and
a reduction in the importance of the lifetime employment system.

Comparing and Contrasting US and


Japanese Management Styles
89). Graham and Lam (2003, p. 89) maintain that Western and
Asian managers also adopt radically different approaches to
information exchange, as shown in the table below:
Western v. Asian Information Exchange
Proposals First Explanations First
The above differences in management often lead to less than
optimal outcomes when American and Japanese managers must
negotiate or lead the other culture's employees in foreign-owned
subsidiaries abroad. The collectivist nature of the Japanese means
that they often rely on teams and close-knit groups to achieve
tasks and goals. Strong social bonds develop between superiors
and subordinates, which is typically not the orientation between
U.S. managers and subordinates. However, whereas the Japanese
are more adept and prefer working in teams, many U.S. companies
have adopted this approach in order to foster efficiency. However,
whereas American management often sees the need for relaxation
and taking breaks, Japanese managers are often reluctant to permit
time for such activities.

Tolich, Kenney, and Biggart (1999, p. 587) conducted a study on


three U.S. factories (subsidiaries of Japanese firms) that included
interviews with 19 U.S. and Japanese managers. Each of the three
companies represented a different form of management. One
company was characterized by Japanese management practices,
another was characterized by American practice, and the third
represented a mixture or hybrid of both management styles. The
researchers concluded that there were four factors that appeared to
represent critical determinants of management styles: the
nationality of the general manager; a stated preference (or lack
thereof) for bicultural management; control over the budgetsetting process; and the strength of the Japanese assignees,
(Tolich, Kenney, & Biggart, 1999, p. 587).
The Japanese often view American negotiating methods as direct,
aggressive and even rude. Japan's management is re...