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Unformatted text preview: The li may appear overly formalistic to Westerners at first glance. Upon closer inspection, it is apparent that the rules of etiquette play a very important role in regu— lating interpersonal relations. Some basic rules of behav— ior are as follows: 0 A host should always escort a guest out to his car or other mode of transportation and watch until the guest is out of sight. 0 Physical expression is minimal by Western stan- dards. A handshake is polite, but backslapping and other enthusiastic grasping is a source of embar~ rassment. 0 At culture functions and other performances, audi- ence approval of performers is often subdued by American standards. Although the accepted man- ner of expressing approval varies between functions and age groups, applause is often polite rather than roaring and bravo-like cheers. 0 A person should keep control over his temper at all times. 0 One should avoid blunt, direct, or abrupt discus— sion, particularly when the subject is awkward; deli- cate hints are often used to broach such a topic. 0 It is a sign of respect to allow another to take the seat of henor (left of host) or to be asked to pro- ceed through a door first. 0 The serving of tea often signals the end of an in— terview or meeting. However, it is also served CASE 8 Moto: Coming to America during extended meetings to quench the thirst of the negotiators. SMILING AND LAUGHTER Laughter and smiling in Chinese culture represent the universal reaction to pleasure and humor. They are also a common response to negative occurrences, such as death and other misfortunes. When embarrassed or in the wrong, the Chinese frequently respond with laughter or smiling, which will persist if another person continues to speak of an embarrassing topic or does not ignore the wrong. Westerners are often confused and shocked by this behavior, which is alien to them. It is important to re- member that smiling and laughter in the previously dis— cussed situations are not exhibitions of glee, but rather are a part of the concept of face when used in respouse to a negative or unpleasant situation. (L. Pye, Chinese Nego- tiating Style (Cambridge, MA: Oelgeschlager, Gunn and Hain, 1982), 101. SOURCE: This case was prepared by John Stanbury, Assistant Profes- sor of International Business Studies at Indian University, Kokomo, with the considerable assistance of Carole Pelteson and Duwayne Cox, MBA students. The views represented here are those of the case authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. Authors’ views are based on their own professional judgments. The names of the organization and individuals’ names and the events described in this case have been disguised to preserve anonymity. Presented to and accepted by the Soaiety for Case Research. All rights reserved to the authors and SCR. Copyright 1996. Cane (5’ Moto: Coming to America Moto arrived in Chicago in the middle of winter, unpre— pared for the raw wind that swept off the lake. The first day he bought a new coat and fur-lined boots. He was cheered by a helpful salesgirl who smiled as she packed his lined raincoat into a box. Americans were nice, Moto decided. He was not worried about his assign- ment in America. The land had been purchased, and Moto’s responsibility was to hire a contracting compa- ny and check on the pricing details. The job seemed straightforward. Moto’s firm, KKD, an auto parts supplier, had spent .a year and a half researching U.S. building contractors. Alimack had the best record in terms of timely delivery and liaisons with good architects and the best suppliers of raw materials. That night Moto called Mr. Crowell of Alimack, who confirmed the appointment for the next morning. His tone was amiable. Moto arrived at the Alimack office at nine sharp. He had brought a set of kokeshz' dolls for Crowell. The dolls, which his wife had spent a good part of a day pick— mg Out, were made from a special maple in the moun- t"iills near his family home in Niigata. He would explain that to Crowell later, when they knew each other. Crow- ell also came from a hilly, snowy place, which was called Vermont. ' When the secretary ushered him in, Crowell stood immediately and rounded the desk with an outstretched hand. Squeezing Moto’s hand, he roared, “How are you? Long trip from Tokyo. Please sit down, please.” Moto smiled. He reached in his jacket for his card. By the time he presented it, Crowell was back on the other side of the desk. “My card,” Moto said seriously. “Yes, yes,” Crowell answered. He put Moto’s card in his pocket without a glance. Moto stared at the floor. This couldn’t be happen- ing, he thought. Everything was on that card: KKD, Moto, Michio, Project Director. KKD meant University of Tokyo and years of hard work to earn a high recom- mendation from Dr. Iwasa’s laboratory. Crowell had simply put it away. “Here.” Cr0well handed Moto his card. “Oh, John Crowell, Allmack, President,” Moto read aloud, slowly trying to recover his equilibrium. “Alimack is famous in Japan.” _ PART II Comprehensive Cases “You know me,” Crowell replied and grinned. “All those faxes. Pleased to meet you, Moto. I have a good feeling about this deal.” Moto smiled and laid Crowell’s card on the table in front of him. “KKD is pleased to do business with Allmack,” Moto spoke slowly. He was proud of his English. Not only had he been a top English student in high school and university, but he had also studied English in a juku (an after-school class) for five years. As soon as he re- ceived this assignment, he took an intensive six-week course taught by Ms. Black, an American, who also in- structed him in US. history and customs. Crowell looked impatient. Moto tried to think of Ms. Black’s etiquette lessons as he continued talking about KKD and Allnnack’s history. “We are the best in the busi- ness,” Crowell interrupted. “Ask anyone. We build the biggest and best shopping malls in the country.” Moto hesitated. He knew Allmack’s record—that’s why he was in the room. Surely Crowell knew that. The box of kokeshi dolls pressed against his knees. Maybe he should give the gift now. No, he thought, Crowell was still talking about Allmack’s achievements. Now Crowell had switched to his own achievements. Moto felt desperate. “You’ll have to come to my house,” Crowell contin— ued. “I live in a fantastic house. I had an architect from California buiid it. He builds for all the stars, and for me.” Crowell chuckled. “Built it for my wife. She’s the best wife, the very best. I call her my little sweetheart. Gave the wife the house on her birthday. Took her right up to the from door and carried her inside.” Moto shifted his weight. Perhaps if he were quiet, Crowell would change the subject. Then they could pre— tend the c0nversation never happened. “Moto-san, what’s your first name? Here, we like to be on a first- name basis.” ' “Michio,” Moto whispered. “Michio-san, you won’t get a better price than from me. You can go down the block to Zimmer or Casey, but you got the best deal right here.” ' “I brought you a present,” Moto said, handing him the box of kokeshi dolls. “Thanks,” Crowell answered. He looked genuinely pleased as he tore open the paper. Moto looked away while Crowell picked up a kokeshi doll in each hand. “They look like Russian dolls. Hey, thanks a lot, my daughter will love them.” Moto pretended that he hadn’t heard. I’ll help by ig— noring him, Moto thought, deeply embarrassed. Crowell pushed the kokeshi dolls aside and pressed a buzzer. “Send George in,” he said. The door opened and a tall, heavyset man with a dark crew cut stepped inside the room. “George Kubushevsky, this is Moto-san, Michio. . . .” “How do you do?” Kubushevsky’s handshake was firm. Moto took out his card. “Thanks,” Kubushevsky said. “Never carry those.” He laughed and hooked his thumbs in his belt buckle, Moto nodded. He was curious. Kubushevsky must be a Jewish name—or was it Polish, or maybe even German? In Japan he’d read books about all three groups. He looked at Kubushevsky’s bone structure. It was impossi- ble to tell. He was too fat. “George, make sure you show Michio everything. We want him to see all the suppliers, meet the right peo- pie, you understand?” “Sure.” George grinned and left the room. Moto turned to Crowell. “Is he a real American?” Moto asked. “A real American? What’s that?” Moto flushed. “Is he first generation?” Moto finished lamely. He remembered reading that Jews, Lebanese, and Armenians were often first generation. “HOW do I know? He’s just Kubushevsky.” ' During the next few weeks Moto saw a great deal of Kubushevsky. Each morning he was picked up at nine and taken to a round of suppliers. Kubushevsky gave him a rundown on each supplier before they met. He was amiable and polite, but never really intimate. Moto’s response was also to be polite. Once he suggested that they go drinking after work, but Kubushevsky flatly re- fused, saying that he had to work early the next morning. Moto sighed, remembering briefly his favorite bar and his favorite hostess in Tokyo. Yuko-san must be nearly fifty now, he thought affectionately. She could make him laugh. He wished he were barhopping with his col- leagues from his ringi group at KKD. Moto regretted that he had not brought more kokeshi dolls, since Kubu- shevsky had not seemed delighted with the present of the KKD pen. One morning they were driving to a cement outlet. “George.” “Yes, Michio-san.” Moto paused. He still found it difficult to call Kubu— shevsky by his first name. “Do you think I could have some papers?” “What kind of papers?” Kubushevsky’s voice was friendly. Unlike Crowell, he kept an even tone. Moto liked that. V “I need papers on the past sales of these people.” “We’re the best.” “I need records for the past five years on the cement place we are going to visit.” “I told you, Michio-san, I’m taking you to the best! What do you want?” “I need some records.” “Trust me,I know what I’m doing.” Moto was silent. He didn’t know what to say. What did trust have to do with anything? His ringt' group in Tokyo needed documentation so they could discuss the issues and be involved in the decisions. If the decision to go with one supplier or the other was correct, that should be reflected in the figures. \ “Just look at what’s going on now,” George said. “Charts for the last five years, that’s history.” Moto remained silent. George pressed his foot to the gas..The car passed one truck, and then another. Moto looked nervously at the climbing speedometer. Suddenly Kubushevsky whistled and released his foot. “Alright, Michio-san, I’ll get you the damned figures.” “Thanks,” Moto said softly. “After we see the cement people, let’s go for a drink.” Moto looked uneasily at the soft red lightbulb that lit the bar. He sipped his beer and ate a few peanuts. Kubushevsky was staring at a tall blonde at the other end of the bar. She seemed to notice him also. Her fin- gers moved across the rim of the glass. “George,” Moto said gently. “Where are you from, George?” “Here and there,” Kubushevsky said idly, still eyeing the blonde. ' Moto laughed. “Here and there.” Kubushevsky nodded. “Here and there,” he repeated. “You Americans,” Moto said. “You must have a home.” “No home, Michio-san.” The blonde slid her drink down the bar and slipped into the next seat. Kubushevsky turned more toward her. Moto felt desperate. Last week Crowell had also acted rudely. When Imai, KKD’s vice president, was vis- iting from Japan, Crowell had dropped them both off at a golf course.What was the point? He drained his beer. Immediately the familiar warmth of the alcohol made him buoyant. “George,” he said intimately. “You need a wife. You need a wife like Crowell has.” Kubushevsky turned slowly on his seat. He stared hard at Moto. “You need a muzzle,” he said quietly. “You need a wife,” Moto repeated. He had Kubu— shevsky’s full attention now. He poured Kubushevsky another beer. “Drink,” he commanded. Kubushevsky drank. In fact they both drank. Then suddenly Kubushevsky’s voice changed. He put his arm around Moto and purred in his ear. “Let me tell you a se- cret, Moto-san. Crowell’s wife is a dog. Crowell is a dog. I’m going to leave Alhnack, just as soon as possible. Want to join me, Michio-san?” Moto’s insides froze. Leave Crowell. What was Kubushevsky talking about? He was just getting to know hiIILThey were a team. All those hours in the car togeth- er, all those hours staring at cornfields and concrete. What was Kubushevsky talking about? Did Crowell know? What was Kubushevsky insinuating about joining 111111? “You’re drunk, George.” “I know.” “You’re very drunk.” “I know.” Moto smiled. The blonde got restless and left the bar. Kubushevsky didn’t seem to notice. For the rest of CASE 8 Moto: Coming to America the night he talked about his first wife and his two chil- dren, whom he barely saw. He spoke of his job at All— mack and his hopes for a better job in California. They sat at a low table. Moto spoke of his children and distant wife. It felt good to talk, almost as good as having Yuko next to him. As they left the bar, Kubushevsky leaned heavily on him. They peed against a stone wall before getting in the car. All the way home Kubushevsky sang a song about a folk here named Davy Crockett, who “killed himself a hear when he was only three.” Moto sang a song from Niigata about the beauty of the snow on the rooftops in winter. Kubushevsky hummed along. They worked as a team for the next four months. Kubushevsky provided whatever detailed documenta- tion Moto asked for. They went drinking a lot. Some- times they both felt a little sad, sometimes happy, but Moto mostly felt entirely comfortable. Kubushevsky in— troduced him to Porter, a large, good-natured man in the steel business who liked to hunt and cook gourmet food, to Andrews, a tiny man who danced the polka as if it were a waltz and to many others. Just before the closing, Kubushevsky took him to a bar and told him of a job offer in California. He had tears in his eyes and hugged Moto good-bye. Moto had long since accepted the fact that Kubushevsky would leave. Two weeks later Moto looked around the confer— ence room at Allmack. Ishii, KKD’s president, and Imai had flown in from Tokyo for the signing of the contract for the shopping mall, the culmination of three years of research and months of negotiation. John Crowell stood by his lawyer, Sue Smith. Sue had been on her feet for five hours. Mike Apple, Moto’s lawyer, slammed his fist on the table and pointed at the item in question. The lawyers argued a timing detail that Moto was sure had been worked out Weeks before. Moto glanced nervously at Ishii and Imai. Ishii’s eyes were closed. Imai stared at the table. Moto shifted uneasily in his seat. Sue was smarter than Mike, he thought. Perhaps a female lawyer wouldn’t have been so terrible. While it was not unusual to see fe- males in professional positions in Japan, this was America. Tokyo might have understood. After all, this was Ameri- ca, he repeated to himself. Internationalization required some adjustment. A year ago he would have had total loss of face if confronted with this prolonged, argumen- tative closing. Today he did not care. He could not ex- plain to Tokyo all he’d learned in that time, all the friends he’d made. When he tried to communicate about busi- ness in-America, the home office sent him terse notes by fax. Now the lawyers stood back. President Ishii opened his eyes. Crowell handed a pen to Ishii. They signed the document to gether.The lawyers smiled. Sue Smith looked satisfied. She should be pleased, Moto thought. Her ex- tensive preparation for the case made him realize again PART II Comprehensive Cases that the Japanese stereotype of the “lazy” American was smart one. Yes, he thought, his friend Kubushevsky had false. Sue’s knowledge of the case was perfect in all de- taught him many things. Suddenly he felt Kubushevsky’s " tails. I’ll have to use her next time, Moto thought. She’s the large presence. Moto lowered his head in gratitude. _ ea“; ...
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