and online retailing company when the CEO Hiroshi Mikitani took drastic

And online retailing company when the ceo hiroshi

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and online retailing company, when the CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, took drastic measures in implementing the “Englishnization” mandate. Following rapid changes in the business environment the shrinkage of the Japanese market and the increasing international competition Mikitani believed this was a critical step to spur the globalisation of Rakuten. However, the “Englishnization” policy was not automatically adopted, nor was it shared throughout the organisation. As such, this report will identify and critically analyse the key issues faced by the company, followed by an evaluation of whether the “Englishnization” mandate should continue, discontinue or be modified. Based on these alternatives, a concrete action plan and implementation process will be recommended.
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5 2. SWOT Analysis The effectiveness of Mikitani’s “ Englishnization strategy is analysed in the SWOT analysis below. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES Improvement of cross-cultural communication Better integration across subsidiaries Stronger partnerships with international firms Effective transition of acquired global firms Increased personal stress Feelings of demotivation and inferiority among employees Perceived as a “lay - off tool” Performance measures based on English, not quality of work Only 10% of staff can function in English Time constraints Limited relevance for some roles Project delays OPPORTUNITIES THREATS Continued growth and globalisation More expansion opportunities in international markets Gaining benefit of global knowledge Access to global talent pool Reduced productivity Demotion of talented employees Disregard for innovative ideas if cannot be articulated in English Increase likelihood of turnover Table 1. SWOT Analysis
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6 3. Key Problems 3.1. Lack of Effective Organisational Change Management According to Kotter (1995), the idea of change management is to make fundamental changes in the way business is conducted in order to help employees cope with new changes in the work environment (Kotter, 1995). However, at Rakuten, the lack of this organisational change management presented as a key problem in the implementation of the “Englishnization” mandate. For effective changes to take place in an organisation, it is important to encourage as many employees to participate, address employee concerns regarding the change program, and ensure leaders act as role models for the change (Elving, 2005). This was not evident at Rakuten, with lack of communication and stress management and an unfit timeframe for the implementation, which largely contributed to the problem at hand. 3.1.1. Communication & Stress Management The purpose of communication during organisational change is to prevent or mitigate resistance to change (Elving, 2005). However, the poorly managed change communication in Rakuten resulted in low readiness for change and high resistance to change (Elving, 2005). The main focus was “speed, speed, speed”, with Mikitani launching the “Englishnization” strategy as fast as possible, and with limited communication as to why this change was necessary. To
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