Essays on Japanese Culture and Guanxi as Sources of Competitive Advantage Case Study

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The paper 'Japanese Culture and Guanxi as Sources of Competitive Advantage" is a great example of a business case study.   A country’ s competitive advantage may be derived from factors such as natural resources, infrastructure, human capital development and events of history among others (Miwar and Nihon, 2002). However, one main source of competitive advantage for the Japanese is its cultural traits. Japan’ s concepts of Wa which mean peace and harmony are considered a characteristic that has assisted many Japanese companies attain competitive advantage. Wa is a primary concept that makes up Japan’ s moral system.

The spirit of wa has been pursued by many citizens in the country (Miwar and Nihon, 2002). Japanese culture is generally different from western culture. The country is considered a small island with minimal technological fibre that has still emerged an industrial and business giant due to its culture. In addition, the concept of Guanxi which is practiced by many Asian countries is considered by many kinds of literature as a source of competitive advantage (Gong-min and Zhao, 2008). Guanxi is a notion that describes the interpersonal relationships with both the social and cultural paradigm that mirrors the Confucian tradition.

In business, Guanxi can be termed as the process of solving problems and acquiring resources via personal relationships. Wang (2007) believes that Guanxi network is required in order for any business to be successful in China. This paper will highlight the role of Japanese culture traits in creating a competitive advantage for Japanese companies. in addition, the essay will validate the extent to which Guanxi is considered a source of competitive advantage. Japanese culture and its reliance on the concept of Wa has brought about business success in the country (Schallar, 2004).

The concept of peace and harmony came about during Japan’ s agricultural past. The collaboration and cooperation between farmers were necessary so as to maintain the irrigation systems. Since the country had few natural resources and minimal land to live and farm, citizens were obligated to work together in order to survive (Schallar, 2004). The same spirit has been carried on and is being practised even in the business world. The concept of Wa is considered a distinct feature that has led to the accomplishment of many Japanese companies (Schallar, 2004).

Many kinds of literature and scholars believe that the impacts of the concept of Wa in business cannot be underestimated. The traits such as harmony, friendship and trust that is linked to Wa have led to companies’ success as it has offered a unique style of decision making (Miwar and Nihon, 2002). Hummels (2007) has indicated that Japanese culture has influenced the workability of team processes. The theoretical decision-making method provides a chance of empowering people involved in teamwork.

The communal consciousness practice in the country accentuates group decision making in companies and is better compared to individual decision-making practice in other countries (Whiting, 2004). The emphasis in group decision making has enhanced management performance in companies as it has led to the achievement of high-quality production and customer satisfaction (Schallar, 2004). Japanese companies have implemented strategies such as lifetime employment, consensual decision making as well as participatory management. These strategies have been enabled by their cultural traits and the concept of Wa (CNN Money, 2011).


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