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Going Global

Going Global: Culture, Gender, and Authority in the Japanese Subsidiary of an American Corporation

Ellen V. Fuller
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Going Global
    Book Description:

    In this intriguing ethnography, Ellen Fuller investigates how issues of gender and identity as they relate to authority are addressed in a globalizing corporate culture.Going Globalgoes behind the office politics, turf wars and day-to-day workings of a transnational American company in Japan in the late 1990s as employees try to establish a comfortable place within the company.

    Fuller looks at how relationships among Asians and between Asians and Americans are tested as individuals are promoted to positions of power and authority. Is there pressure for the Japanese to be more "American" to get ahead in business? Do female employees have to subscribe to certain stereotypes to be promoted or respected? How these American and Japanese workers assess one another raises important questions about international business management and human resources.

    eISBN: 978-1-59213-690-2
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology, Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. 1 Culture, Gender, and Authority in Transnational Corporate Contexts
    (pp. 1-31)

    This study concerns itself with the men and women who work for the Japanese subsidiary of an American corporation that I call Transco. The pseudonym reflects the parent corporation’s move toward a transnational corporate culture rather than a multinational one as part of a new globalization strategy. One idea contained within this strategy is that a transnational corporation, by virtue of its more interconnected structure, can create a relatively seamless, global corporate culture that is readily understood and operant at each geographic point around the world.

    Originally I went to Japan in 1996 to research the nature of gender and...

  6. 2 Setting Transco within the Contexts of American and Japanese Corporations
    (pp. 32-54)

    The organizational mix of employees at Transco contains many categories. The top of the organization comprises mostly white males expatriated from the United States. In middle management Japanese of both genders predominate, but there are also a few expatriated female and male managers sent in for two- to four-year stints. Employees in R&D who focus mainly on research, clerks from all divisions, and secretaries who are not bilingual have the least contact with expatriated management.

    My research focuses on the four categories of employees who have the most cross-cultural interaction: (1) expatriated managers (EMs), (2) Japanese men in management, (3)...

  7. 3 Uncertainty, Trust, and Commitment: Defining the Self in Relation to Employment at Transco
    (pp. 55-79)

    There is little doubt that employees at Transco and elsewhere think about themselves in relation to their work organizations on a regular basis. Where choices are at least presumed to exist, employees analyze why one choice of a workplace is better than another, and corporations such as Transco spend considerable time and energy convincing both potential and existing employees why it is the best choice at different stages of their career trajectories.

    Over time employees learn to trust, or not to trust, their company, based on a variety of factors that become more important as one moves up the corporate...

  8. 4 Identity and Perception at Transco: Manifestations of Confusion
    (pp. 80-116)

    Given that organizations are collections of individuals, the uniqueness, as well as the fluidity, of a given organizational culture stems in part from its particular mix of people at various points in time. Individual employees affect both one another and the organization and, in turn, are affected by the organization as a whole. The dynamic of constant change creates a work environment in which employees must continually negotiate their sense of identity and belonging.The process of fitting in is obvious for new employees, but even longer-term employees have repeatedly to seek their individual fit with the organization. They make impressions...

  9. 5 Authority as Culture and Gender Dominance
    (pp. 117-150)

    Within any groupings of humans, definitions ofappropriatepresentation of self compete against one another. As was argued in Chapter 4, dispositions arise from culture and gender schemas rooted in one’s original culture as well as the hybrid culture represented by Transco. People’s definitions of themselves and others in their work environment differ, based on a variety of factors, and such differences have an impact on workplace relationships. Mixed messages are inherent to the corporate culture, and the potential for magnification of these mixed messages grows exponentially in a transnational corporate culture.

    This chapter explores the ways in which similarly...

  10. 6 Embracing Chaos: Toward a More Genuine Valuation of Difference
    (pp. 151-178)

    The corporation that includes Transco as a subsidiary increasingly sees itself as global, not just in Japan but every-where, because it equates giving a directive (“Let’s go global,” to use Nobu-san’s wording) with achieving a result. While such an equation may work for any number of directives, it does not and cannot work for a directive to go global. In the first place, senior managers cannot really describe what this means at the level of human resources even if they can describe it at the level of production and distribution. Senior managers themselves are not global employees in their perceptions...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 179-190)
  12. References
    (pp. 191-204)
  13. Index
    (pp. 205-210)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-211)