National Culture Reflective Exercise - NJIT/HRM301 - Essay

732 words - 3 pages

February 6, 2019
National Culture
Reflective Exercise 1
Starting an overseas job can be exciting but also very daunting at the same time. Being
assigned to work in a different country means that the usual environment that we are accustomed
to, will most likely not surround us in this new workplace. This is why it is very important for
me to learn accordingly and prepare myself as much as possible beforehand. Specifically, there
are a few factors that I will need to implement to become a valuable team member in my new
overseas jobs.
I need to start learning about the culture and the way of life in these locations. There will be
cultural and language barriers between me and the locals, so it is quite important to educate
myself as much as I can before I move there. I have a couple of friends who have lived in Japan
and worked there, so maybe I can learn some useful tips from them. There is a ton of useful
information on the internet which can help in learning about any country. Watching movies, tv
shows, books, articles, documentaries etc related to that country can help establish a good, basic
foundation on the lifestyle and culture there.
Also, knowing what kind of organizational structure my company follows overseas, is
essential to me being successful in my position. Is the company that I am working for, a
bureaucracy or more of a networked organization? Also, communication is vital and since I am
in a foreign country that speaks a different language than the one I am used to, it would be a
good idea to take some language courses to help me understand my coworkers and customers
Also, this is where Hofstede’s work can help to better understand the workplace
environment around me. I will need to understand the four dimensions, individualism-
collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity/femininity. In Japan, the
culture takes a collectivistic approach . This is when people define themselves as part of a group.
It is when a group membership forms one’s identity. Being different from a group or being too
individual is considered to be undesirable. Which is why working together, taking care of my
team, and group accomplishments are necessary in this work environment. But if I have a
leadership position and not a team member position, then the circumstances change (power
distance, more on that later). In France, the culture is shifted more towards individualism, where
I will solely be responsible for my own actions and making successful moves on my own will be
rewarded and praised in the workplace.
In Japan and France, high power distance is relatively acceptable. Japan’s culture derives
on higher leaders, managers, and bosses who run the place and make most of the big decisions
on everyone’s behalf. If I am given a leadership position and more power in the workplace, I
will not be seen as undesirable in these countries. In both these countries, uncertainty avoidance
is very high in the culture. No company wants to take gambles on the future and need to know
exactly what they are getting themselves into. I will need to make sure that I can back up my
decisions based off research and evidence, otherwise my voice in the workplace will be
disregarded. Last but not least, the masculinity-femininity ratio is a major factor to success in
either country. Japan is more on the masculine side, where gender roles are not equal, males get
paid higher than females, and the emphasis is more on getting things done by any means
It is more strict on employees, and me being a male, I would have some advantage over
female coworkers but that also means I will have tougher responsibilities. In France, femininity
is practiced more in the culture, where both gender roles are considered equal in their respective
positions, and the pay rate is more fair. Femininity based cultures also care about making
progress but they will make more accommodations and understand people better in the
workplace instead of seeing them as just workers who need do make money for the company. I
cannot take a masculine approach in France, as this will come off as highly offensive to people
around me. These four factors are very important to focus on in order to be successful in my
overseas job.

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