Gung Ho_Rev.1 - Final

Gung Ho_Rev.1 - Final - 1 Gung Ho: A Fresh Look at a Video...

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Gung Ho : A Fresh Look at a Video Classic for Teaching Cross-Cultural Management Author’s Contact Information William R. Pendergast Professor of International Management Orfalea College of Business California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California 93407 Tel. 805-542-9192 Email: [email protected] 1
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Author’s Biographical Information William R. Pendergast is Professor of International Management at the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He came to Cal Poly from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, where he was Dean of the Fisher Graduate School of International Business, and from the Czech Management Center in Prague, where he was CEO and Founding Dean. His PhD and MA are from Columbia University and his BA is from the University of Notre Dame. 2
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Gung Ho: A Video Classic for Teaching Cross-Cultural Management Introduction Films that serve as “video cases” can be excellent pedagogical devices to teach cross-cultural management in international business. Films engage student interest and provide a reasonable facsimile of cross-cultural interactions that is often more vivid than written case studies and more realistic than simulations or role plays enacted by inexperienced students. At the same time, it is important to recognize that films are entertainment and while they provide a useful framework for instruction, they represent neither reality nor scientific documentation or research. The film Gung Ho appeared in 1986, starring Michael Keaton and directed by Ron Howard. This pedigree whets student appetites and the comedy retains their attention. The film runs 110 minutes, which fits exactly the time period for my class. I show the film in one class and debrief it during half of the next class. Alternative arrangements could be made for out-of-class viewing. In advance of the film, I distribute discussion questions for students to read as a guide. It is an amusing movie and although I absent myself from most screenings, I never tire watching it. While nearly 25 years old, the film appears reasonably contemporary (except for the dated Fiat vehicles in the factory, filmed in Argentina), largely avoids stereotypes, and touches themes of Japanese and American culture that are central to a cross-cultural management course. It can be used alone or in combination with a written case on a Japanese-American venture such as “Japanese-American Seating” (Miller & Geringer, 1992). This article outlines the principal cultural themes in the film. 3
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Gung Ho depicts a US automobile company in Pennsylvania experiencing closure at a time of economic crisis. The local auto-workers’ union leader Hunt Stephenson (Keaton) visits Assan Motors in Japan to propose a buyout. Assan acquires the company and sends Japanese managers to resuscitate it. The union agrees to reach the seemingly impossible output of 15,000 cars each month (a standard in Japanese factories) in return for a restoration of their wages. The film portrays interactions between the Americans
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This note was uploaded on 10/18/2011 for the course BUS BUS 302 taught by Professor Pendergast during the Winter '08 term at Cal Poly.

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Gung Ho_Rev.1 - Final - 1 Gung Ho: A Fresh Look at a Video...

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