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新视野大学英语 读写教程第三册 unit3-b

2011-07-29    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Cultural Differences in Western and Japanese Decision-making

To talk about problem-solving or decision-making within a national environment means examiningmany complex cultural forces. It means trying to measure the impact of these forces on contemporarylife, and also coming to grips with changes now taking place.

In Japan, the most important thing is what organization you work for. This is of extreme importancewhen trying to analyze the direction-taking or decision-making process. At the least, it explains thegreater job stability in Japan, in contrast to the great job mobility in America.

While we differ in many ways, such differences are neither superior nor inferior to each other. Aparticular pattern of management behavior develops from a complex mixture of unique cultural factors— and will only work within a given culture.

Let me try to describe three or four characteristics of the Japanese environment that in some wayaffect decision-making or direction-taking and problem-solving. These characteristics are related toeach other.

First, in any approach to a problem and in any negotiations in Japan, there is the "you to you"approach, as distinguished from the Western "I to you" approach. The difference is this: in "I to you",both sides present their arguments openly from their own point of view — they state what they wantand what they expect to get. A confrontation situation is thereby set up, and Westerners are veryskillful in dealing with this.

The "you to you" approach practiced in Japan is based on each side — automatically and oftenunconsciously — trying to understand the other person's point of view. Thus, the direction of themeeting is a mutual attempt to reduce confrontation and achieve harmony.

A second characteristic is based on "consensus opinion" and "bottom-up direction". In Japan greatconsideration is given to the thoughts and opinions of everyone at all levels. This is true of both privateenterprises and government ministries. In Japan there is a drive for unity within the group — whetherit is family, company, or Parliament.

The difference is that Western style decision-making proceeds mostly from top management andoften does not consult middle management or the worker while in Japan, ideas can be created at thelowest levels, travel upward through an organization and have an impact on the eventual decision. Thisis "bottom up".

There is also a characteristic style of communication in Japan that is different from the Western way.

The Japanese business person works to achieve harmony, even if the deal falls through, and willspend whatever time is necessary to determine a "you to you" approach, communicating personalviews only indirectly and delicately.

This places time in a different perspective. In Japan the Western deadline approach is secondary to athorough job. Owing to this difference in emphasis, the Japanese are thorough in their meetings as wellas in their production. Thus Americans are often frustrated by the many successive meetings in manyJapanese businesses. But where the American is pressing for a specific decision, the Japanese is tryingto devise a rather broad direction.

On the other hand, once a given agreement is made, it is the Japanese who sometimes wonder at theslow pace in which Westerners implement the decision. The Japanese are eager to move forward andWesterners, perhaps, lag behind as they take the time for in-depth planning.

Now, while Japan's industry and technology are highly developed, they have not replaced thefundamental force of human energy and motivation. By that I mean that the Japanese take great pridein doing a job well and getting it done no matter how much time is required. There is a commitment andsense of responsibility which have not yet been discarded in this age of machines.

In my field — finance and securities — I am often asked by Westerners how Nomura Securities hasmanaged to escape the paper traffic jam that American firms have faced. We, too, have had thatproblem. The Tokyo Stock Exchange often has between 200 and 300 million transactions a day. Thisvolume is many times more than that of the New York Stock Exchange. How can it be feasible to handlethis load?

First, we have very sophisticated computers. Second, and most important, the operational personnelresponsible for processing all these transactions stay and stay until the job is done. Perhaps in 20 years— or sooner — they will be more Westernized and insist on going home at five o'clock. But today, still,most insist on staying until the job is done. There is a sincere concern for quality.

This willingness to help in a pinch is an important aspect of Japanese problem-solving, and you find itat every level. Some years ago, the Matsushita company was having a very bad time. Among the manymeasures taken, Mr. Matsushita, the founder and then chairman, became the manager of the salesdepartment.

Also, when we at Nomura converted to computers about five years ago, the new system eliminatedthe jobs of 700 people. We did not dismiss these people; rather, we converted them to securities salespeople and some of these are now our leading sales people. Provided there is intelligence and awillingness to exert yourself, there is a place within the company to try and to succeed. In Japan, aperson's capabilities are not forced into an inflexible area. And we feel the company owes a workersomething for loyalty and commitment. Words: 900

New Words

complex a. 1.复合的,复杂的 2.难以理解的,复杂的

grip n. 1.控制,支配 2.紧握,抓牢 vt 1.握紧,抓牢 2.吸引……的注意力或想像力等

extreme a. 1.最高限度的,极度的 2.尽可能远的;遥远的 n. 极端,过分

analyze vt. 分析,细查

stability n. 稳定,稳固

mobile a. 活动的,易于移动的,流动的

mobility n. 流动性,移动性,易变性

differ vi. 1.不同,有异 2.(在意见方面)发生分歧

superior a. 1.优于,强于 2.优良的,卓越的 3.(在职位、地位方面)较高的 n. 上级,上司

inferior a. 级别低的,社会地位低的;次要的,次等的 n. 下级,下属

negotiate v. 谈判,磋商

negotiation n. 商议,谈判,洽谈

thereby ad. 因此,从而

harmony n. 和谐,融洽,和睦,一致

consensus n. 共同看法,(意见等的)一致

consideration n. 1.考虑,思考 2.体谅,照顾

enterprise n. 1.企业单位,商业公司 2.(艰巨的)事业,计划

ministry n. (政府的)部

unity n. 和睦,协调,团结,统一

parliament n. 议会,国会

consult vt. 1.请教,咨询,找……商量 2.查阅,查看 vi. 交换意见,商议

delicate a. 1.巧妙的,需技巧的,敏感的 2.易损的,娇嫩的

delicately ad. 巧妙地,细致地

owing a. 应付的,未付的

successive a. 继续的,连续的

lag vi. 走得慢,落后 n. 时间间隔;滞后

fundamental a. 基本的,基础的,主要的 n. 基本原则,基本法则

discard vt. 丢弃,抛弃

transaction n. 交易,业务

volume n. 1.量,份量,额 2.(书的)卷,册 3.音量,响度 4.体积,容积,容量

feasible a. 可行的,可能的,行得通的

sophisticated a. 1.复杂的,尖端的 2.世故的,老练的,精通的

operational a. 1.操作(上)的;经营的 2.即可使用的,即可行动的

sincere a. 真诚的,诚实的

pinch n. 1.捏,掐,拧 2.一撮,微量 v. 捏,掐,拧

aspect n. 部分,方面

dismiss vt. 1.解雇,开除 2.放弃(想法、感情等),不再考虑 3.解散,遣散

provided conj. 如果,假若

exert vt. 1.努力,用力,尽力 2.运用(能力或技巧),发挥

flexible a. 1.灵活的,可变通的,可适应的 2.易弯曲的,柔韧的

inflexible a. 不可改变的,不受影响的,不屈服的

loyalty n. 忠诚,忠心

Phrases and Expressions

come to grips with 着手解决(问题)或对付(挑战)

work for 为... ...工作,受雇于... ...

in contrast to 对比,比照

in some way 在某种意义上;有一点,有些

be related to 与... ...相关,与... ...有联系

distinguish from 与... ...相区别

set up 造成,产生

fall through 失败,成为泡影

owing to 因为,由于

press for 反复请求,紧急要求

wonder at 对... ...感到惊讶,惊叹

lag behind 走得慢,落后

in a pinch 必要时

exert oneself 努力

Proper Names

Nomura Securities 野村证券

Tokyo Stock Exchange 东京证券交易所

New York Stock Exchange 纽约证券交易所

Matsushita (company) 松下(公司)

Matsushita 松下幸之助(松下公司创始人)

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