Culture in the context of the ‘Gung Ho’ movie

Culture in the context of the ‘Gung Ho’ movie

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INTRODUCTION

The theories and concepts in the Deresky text form the conceptual foundation for the study of multicultural management. These theories attempt to provide models of behavior dependant upon culture. This assignment will provide you with an opportunity to observe behavior and identify particular activities, communications, interactions, group and individual dynamics which have a cultural context. In addition, knowing how someone from a particular culture might behave allows managers to perform more effectively. This effectiveness can be as simple as motivation in day to day operations through to an activity as challenging as negotiating a complex agreement. Part of this assignment is determining, within the context of the theories, what behavior might have been possible with careful multicultural management. The movie ‘Gung Ho’ was produced in 1986 at a time when the establishment of manufacturing facilities in the US by Japanese companies was just beginning. This development is now very commonplace but 20 years ago, it presented challenges (and still does) for both the Japanese and the Americans. Notwithstanding the ‘datedness’ of the movie, it provides lots of opportunity to observe culturally biased behavior…all of which is still current and therefore, relevant. You should know also that the scenario depicted in the movie is not a total fiction. There were lots of places in the US in the 1980s where changes in manufacturing and global markets resulted in substantial dislocation of workers. The influx of Japanese manufacturers to the US, particularly in the automobile industry, was likely a bit more sophisticated than the movie portrays but the lessons to be learned are still current and valuable.

THE ASSIGNMENT

This assignment has 1 deliverable – a report of approximately 3,000 words which should:

1. identify as many examples in the movie of cross-cultural interaction as you can;

2. analyze that interaction within the context of the theories in course;

3. present your recommendations within the context of the theories, as to how these interactions could have been better managed by one or both parties;

4. include any additional information, issues or points you would like to make which you

consider relevant to this assignment.

For example, there is a scene in the movie where Michael Keaton has a meeting with the Japanese manager. Keaton makes the point that the Japanese company should allow the American workers to follow their traditional rules for work. The Japanese manager ponders the request and says something like “I understand”. Keaton interprets this response as a ‘yes’, which turns out not to be what the Japanese manager meant at all. If Keaton understood the Japanese aversion to saying ‘no’, he might have made a correct interpretation of the manager’s response or at the very least, pushed more specifically for an agreement. An understanding that the Japanese are a ‘high context’ culture would have also helped.

ASSESSMENT

This assignment is worth 20 final marks in the course. Your report will be assessed on both content (70%) and formatting (30%). With respect to any referencing you need to make in your report, use APA. In terms of report style and formatting, treat this as a business report and use whatever formatting you consider appropriate. Do not waste any of the report content on ‘rehashing’ the movie – you can assume that your reader (in this case, it’s me) knows the storyline. Where you refer to an incident in the movie, make sure you link it to a discussion of its relevance, implications and assistance in responding to the questions above.

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