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HRMN 367 | Assignment 2 | GLOBE Paper

Intercultural competence is a range of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills that lead to effective and appropriate communication with people of other cultures. It is also the knowledge, skills, and dispositional attributes necessary to effectively and appropriately communicate with individuals from other cultures. It was once said by Nelson Mandela, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that goes to his heart. (Worne, 2013)” Understanding various cultures is imperative, especially when conducting business. The United States of America is a melting pot for various cultures, in contrast to Japan. Though both countries differ in culture, they share some similarities as well. This paper examines the similarities and differences of the USA and Japan, using the Globe project’s nine cultural dimensions.

To begin with, performance orientation can be identified as the extent to which an organization or society encourages and rewards group members for performance improvement and excellence (Lumens, n.d.). In this dimension, Japan scored 4.22 and USA scored 4.49. The results are almost similar within this dimension because both companies hold some form of value for performance orientation. For instance, in contemporary Japan a low ranking individual can become a manager if his or her performance is good (, n.d.). Some organizations within the USA provide incentives/bonuses for their workers, when performances and or production have improved. When employees are recognized for superior performance and production, this increases morale and job satisfaction within the organization.

The Uncertainty Avoidance trait is the extent to which members of an organization or society strive to avoid uncertainty by reliance on social norms, rituals, and bureaucratic practices to alleviate the unpredictability of future events (Lumens, n.d.). USA scored 4.15 in uncertainty avoidance, which was an average globe score. In contrast, Japan is one of the highest uncertainty avoidance countries in the world. Japanese take their traditions very seriously and very seldom result to change. They plan meticulously and try to foresee the future. Risk avoidance, usually considered a negative feature for countries wanting to grow economically, has proven to be a good strategy for those seeking economic success (, n.d.). On the other hand, the USA is less structured, takes greater business risk and has fewer traditions. For example, there are a great amount of entrepreneurs in the USA. Starting a business is a huge risk that many Americans take at one point in their lifetime.

Power Distance is the degree to which members of an organization or society expect and agree that power should be unequally shared (Lumens, n.d.). Both countries scored intermediately, Japan at 5.1 and USA scoring 4.88. Although the US is known for being diverse and its individualism, the office hierarchy within US companies is important, so it is advised to learn the rank and titles of all members of the organization (, n.d.). Japan’s business hierarchies play a significant role in their organizations. states, “Japanese people strongly feel that the trend of delegation of authority and decision making power from top to bottom typifies the western understanding of hierarchy”.

Human orientation is the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies encourage and reward individuals for being fair, altruistic, friendly, generous, caring, and kind to others (Lumens, n.d.). In this dimension Japan scored 4.3 and the US scored 4.17. Both cultures are relatively interested in the well being of others, rather themselves. For example, countries that have low human orientation may find child labor as a low issue of importance. However in the USA and Japan child labor is frowned upon and extremely limited.

Assertiveness orientation is the degree to which individuals in organizations or societies are assertive, confrontational, and aggressive in social relationships (Lumens, n.d.). Perceptions of assertiveness can be contributed by culture, gender and the situational context. The USA scored 3.59 in this dimension, while Japan scored 4.55. Some characteristics of high assertiveness include the value of competition, success and progress. In contrast, low assertiveness values cooperation, warm relationships and build trust on basis of predictably. Since Japan scored high in uncertainty avoidance it makes sense that they are high in assertiveness as well. Formality and control is crucial in the Japanese culture, as opposed to the use of informality in the US.

Future orientation is the degree to which a collectivity encourages and rewards futureoriented behaviors such as planning and delaying gratification (Lumens, n.d.). Future orientation can be compared to performance orientation. The results are relatively similar with Japan at 4.29 and the USA at 4.15. The Japanese culture understands the importance of saving for the future.

The USA has the propensity to spend now, rather than save, seeking gratification from others.

Gender egalitarianism is the extent to which an organization or a society minimizes gender role differences and gender discrimination (Lumens, n.d.). Gender roles in the States are moderately equal within the American society and law. On the other hand, states, “Historically, women in Japan were expected to be subordinate to men and were confined to domestic matters only. They were excluded from certain sacred areas and were expected to show deference to hierarchal authority in both speech and behavior”. Women have always fought for the right to be treated equal and some cultures have improved their gender inequalities, while others turn a blind eye to it.

The final two cultural dimensions are institutional collectivism and in-group collectivism. Institutional collectivism is the degree to which organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and collective action (Lumens, n.d.). In this dimension Japan scored 5.19 and the USA scored 4.2. In-group collectivism is the degree to which individuals express pride, loyalty, and cohesiveness in their organizations or families (Lumens, n.d.). Japan scoring 4.63 and the USA scoring 4.25, there is slight difference within this dimension. For one, Japan puts great emphasis on relatedness with groups. The USA slightly differs, carrying more emphasis on an individual’s behavior. Dr. Kazuo Inamori once stated, “people have no greater calling than to serve the greater good of humankind and society (, 2014)”. Japanese take great pride in working collectively and staying loyal to organizations and families. However, the USA is brought up differently from birth, “from the moment we learn to talk, we are encouraged to speak our minds, share our successes and make independent choices for ourselves (, 2014)”.

In closing, Japan and the USA’s similarities and differences in business cultures vary within dimension. Because the USA is consisted of so many nationalities they think highly differently than most countries. In Japan everyone thinks the same and shares common interest and understanding in regards to business culture. Some can attribute a few of their similarities to their long running history of regular trade. It is important to understand the history and customs of various cultures when conducting business. Appreciating the history and customs of various cultures can be the determining factor of if that potential business is successful or not. (n.d) Japanese Business Heirarchy. Retrieved September 15, 2017 from (August 19, 2017). Japanese Collectivism vs. Western Individualism. Retrieved September 16, 2017 from

Worne, J. (December 6, 2013). Languages- Getting to the Hearts. Retrieved September 14, 2017 from (n.d.). Country Japan. Retrieved September 15, 2017 from (n.d.). Country United States of America. Retrieved September 15, 2017 from (n.d.). Trait Approach. Retrieved September 15, 2017 from

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