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I delivered a class on Japanese business culture to a group of international students studying marketing in a course lead by Professor Masahito Toriyama at Graduate School of Management, Ritsumeikan University.
In the class, I introduced a method of case exercise based in a real issue. This was a trouble between a Japanese client and an Indian information technology system developer.
Though the Japanese business culture was not a major theme of the students, they did good discussion on the questions associated with the case and reached excellent solutions; such as “I’ll put myself in the Japanese customer’s shoes”, “I’ll make it a habit to talk to my subordinates much more frequently so that our communication will go well.”, etc.
The students deepened their own thoughts through discussion. What a wonderful ability they have!
The real business is full of questions without one correct answer. This even is the case when people having different cultures work together, i.e. the international business. I found that the case exercise was useful to develop a mind-set to look into these questions and find creative solutions that will allow 1 + 1 = 3, 4, 5 … This is the power of discussion, or collective thinking. This attitude is essential for us to benefit from society where a large variety of people live and work together, or diversity in society.
Note: The case used here is cited from “Case exercises for business communication, collection os the cases” by Kondoh,Kim et al. (Koko Publishing, 2013).