Japanese culture - including the corporate one - is in many ways unique. Speaking of the ways businesses in Japan and America are organized, there are several distinctive features that might seem awkward or surprising for a westerner, but are common in Japan. Here are just some of them: - The decision-making process in Japanese companies is rather slow, because before any important decision is made, a number of meetings, discussions, and negotiations is held on all levels of a company’s hierarchy. All the stages of the process are being thoroughly documented and recorded. Although being slow, such an approach eliminates the possibility of mistakes almost completely. In American companies, in its turn, all the decisions are made “on top,” by people who stand higher in the corporate hierarchy. Decisions are made quickly, but the chance to make a mistake (sometimes fatal for a company) is also rather high. - In Japanese companies, the role of an individual’s contribution is valued, but only in the case if the whole company (or group of people working on the same project) succeeds. On the contrary, in the American companies the constructive contribution of each worker is recognized and valued regardless to whether the group/company in general benefits from it. - Japanese companies always assess the possible risks and chances extremely carefully, as well as their ability to accomplish a certain task or project. In contrast, American companies often undertake projects even without being completely sure of their ability to finish it successfully. Each of the approaches has its strong sides: Japanese companies move to success through careful planning and time-consuming analysis, and American companies - through “doing the impossible,” as the saying goes, but faster. - One of the interesting differences between Japanese and American companies is the way of maintaining communication with clients. In American companies, a client is informed or consulted on different issues mostly via phone or email; in their turn, the Japanese value personal meetings, so a client meeting with a representative of a company in person to solve a problem is not uncommon. - In Japanese companies, employees are motivated to stay in their company as long as possible - often for a lifetime - due to a curious monetary policy. The longer a person works in a Japanese company, the higher salary they receive, regardless of their position. Sometimes it may happen that a janitor, for example, who has worked in a company for 10 years, and receives a salary equal to a young top manager. In America, people are more likely to change companies they work in.