Tuesday, August 7, 2012

With Respect to the Japanese by John Condon and Tomoko Masumoto (2nd Edition)

Nicholas Brealey Publishing
Published 2010
160 pages
Buy here.

This is a brief, very basic guide to assist American and Canadian business-people better understand the work culture of corporate Japan.  Topics are presented in a general compare/contrast between Japan and America, and cover points such as group mentality vs. individualism, the importance of social hierarchies, everyday interactions with co-workers and bosses, and differences in giving feedback to employees between the two cultures.  Also included is a chapter on the calendar year that covers the more important events and holidays that go on each month.  Overall, the authors provide their own impressions and knowledge, but they also include "data" of sorts in the form of general interview responses from Americans, Canadians, and Japanese employees and employers who have worked with one another in Japan.  Parts of it read almost like a research study, which I felt gave the whole book a bit more weight.

As an ESL teacher who occasionally has Japanese students in my classes, I found this book extrememly relevant, as work culture is, of course, connected to the wider culture of the country.  The book is quite short, but it is an informative and useful guide that acts as a great jumping-off point for further research on all the topics introduced.  I certainly learned quite a few things from this book, and I have every intention of furthering my cultural knowledge of the country beyond a working context, using Condon and Masumoto as a road map of sorts.

Rating: 4/5

1 comment:

  1. This book looks fascinating. I would love to read it, so thanks for reviewing it. I've always found the Japanese culture fascinating, and personally I feel that as Americans we could do more by adopting some of their practices, especially in areas of business. I feel that because they do things for the good of many versus for the self, it seems like there is more cooperation.