Japanese Organizational Behavior in Nordic Subsidiaries: A Nordic Expatriate Perspective


Employee Relations

2006, vol. 28, n°2, pp.103-118

Départements : Management et Ressources Humaines

Purpose ' This paper seeks to fill the research gap created by predominately Anglo-Saxonlarge-scale surveys and comparative studies by providing insights of Japanese organizationalbehavior through the eyes of Nordic (Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) expatriates.Design/methodology/approach ' The empirical material of this paper is based on 30semi-structured interviews collected in Japan in 2002 and 2004.Findings ' The interviews indicate that verticality and collectivism have a prominent influence onJapanese organizational behavior. The prominent theme of verticality deviates from severalAnglo-Saxon studies focusing on collectivism.Research limitations/implications ' Similarity between interviewer and interviewees in terms ofgender, nationality, and race could influence research findings. Future studies should incorporate bothqualitative and quantitative methodologies.Practical implications ' Interviews show that it is important for expatriate managers to createsynergic relations with local middle managers who are strategically located between the higher andlower organizational echelons.Originality/value ' This is the first paper to provide an empirical account of Japaneseorganizational behavior from the Nordic perspective. Due to the distinctive features of Nordicmanagement, the studies conducted by Anglo-Saxon researchers might not provide accurate insightsfor Nordic expatriates.Keywords Cross-cultural management, Japan,National cultures, Organizational behaviour, Expatriates