Toyota Motor Corporation was founded in September 1933 as a division of Automatic Weaving Factory car Toyota, by Japanese inventor and industrialist, Sakichi Toyoda. The company's car division and then separated on August 27, 1937 to create the Toyota Motor Corporation. In 1936 they launched their first passenger car.
("Biography Everything about Biography", 2012) Toyota began sales in the United States in 1957 with the Toyota Crown. It would take several new models and 27 years before Toyota began car production in the United States. ("Toyota", 2012) Toyota has had a limited manufacturing presence in the United States since 1972.
Toyota began assembling vehicles in United States in 1984 when the Japanese entered an agreement with General Motors that led to a manufacturing plant in Fremont, California. ("Autombolog.net", 2012) Today Toyota has 10 manufacturing plants across the country that build nine different Toyota models. Toyota has created 365,000 jobs in the United States either directly or indirectly. ("Toyota.com", 2012) Primary cultural values are transmitted to a culture's members by parenting and socialization, education, and religion. There are also secondary factors that affect ethical behavior.
They include differences in the systems of laws across nations, accepted human resource management systems, organizational culture, and professional cultures and codes of conduct. (Pitta, Fung, & Isberg, 1999) Ethics are the standards of behavior of a given industry or social setting... They are the promises a company or individual makes concerning quality, cost and time frame related to delivery of goods and services. Morals are a definition of what actions are right, just and fair. Morality is based less on the fulfillment of promises, and more on conforming to wide social beliefs.
To act ethically is to fulfill the promises one has made. To act morally is to live within the standard of good and evil defined by society. A given action can be moral, ethical, both or neither. ("Ehow ", 20102) Confucius remains one of the largest contributors to Asian culture and philosophy. Confucius lived more than 500 years before the birth of Christ, yet his teachings continue to lie at the heart of the moral philosophies and the ethical decision making of Japan, and many other countries.
This 2200 year old philosophy has core values such as "filial piety," duty, and collectivism. At times, these values contrast with the Western values of individualism, liberty, equality, and individual rights. (Chung, Eichenseher, & Yaniguchi, 2008) As economic ties between the US and Asia continue to strengthen, the implication of differing ethical codes is that expectations during times of business negotiations and dealings may be different between American and Asian companies.
(Chung, Eichenseher, & Yaniguchi, 2008) The Guiding Principles at Toyota and the Toyota Way, come from the Toyoda Precepts the Toyoda Precepts are five tenets that can be traced back to the convictions of Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. These moral standards became the official guidelines for all Toyoda operations in 1935.
The five precepts are: be contributive to the development of country; be at the vanguard of the times through creativity; be practical; be kind and generous; and be reverent, and show gratitude. ("Toyota-Global.com", 2012) A web search of major American car manufacturing companies shows each with a compelling vision or mission statement, but nothing as substantial as Toyota’s five precepts. It is often difficult for the two countries to communicate. For instance, the language barrier often comes into play. Quite often in international business transactions, the Japanese can speak English, but the Americans very rarely are able to speak Japan's native language.
Learning more than one language is a very important part of education in most other countries, but the United States does not typically emphasize such an importance. Thus, when the Americans engage in business with foreign countries, they tend to be at a disadvantage. ("Equine Kingdom", 2012) Japanese tend to value silence and expect others to be able to interpret their feelings and exactly what their silence means. For Americans, who are used to expressing themselves and saying what's on their mind, not being able to share their opinions is frustrating.
The Japanese do business in a completely different manner than Americans do. Americans come across with a dominating attitude, but the Japanese find this offensive because it doesn't fit in with their culture. ("Equine Kingdom", 2012) Within the context of international trade, ethical trade practices refer to the trade of goods between different countries.
Under certain conditions, ethical trade practices may also be perceived as unethical failing to eliminate global poverty and promote sustainable growth. Understanding ethical differences in international business is the understanding of the cultural differences between countries. Cultures, which are more idealistic and less practical, favor different ethical beliefs than cultures which are less idealistic and more practical. (Pomoni, 2008). Japanese business men know that a code of ethics or ethics manuals is useless unless they can be enforced.
Two main features of corporate Japan are lifetime employment and a strict seniority system, these have made enforcement difficult. It is serious breach of etiquette in Japan to criticize someone directly in public, even when the relationship is superior-subordinate. (Asia Pacific Management Forum, 2002) Much like American government unions it is very difficult to change behavior because of the entitlement mentality that is pervasive in such an environment. The differences between Japan and the United States come down to one truth. Americans are a utilitarianistic society.
Americans in general are a pleasure pain society. In fact sometimes they are so consumed with chasing pleasure, whether it is power, money or just hot women, that they forget about or don’t consider the pain part of the pleasure pain equation. (Book pg. 154) Japan has a more deontological society, with an emphasis on one’s doing his duty. When making an ethical or moral choice they will recommend an action based upon principle. (Book pg. 171) Japanese culture is structured around black and white norms for acceptable group behavior. Harmony is the number one priority in Japanese interpersonal and social behavior taking priority over frankness and honesty.
("Tekton", 2012) Even the reaction to scandal is different in the different cultures. John Corzine loses over one billion dollars plummeting MF Global in to bankruptcy, but he is not accountable. However when Toyota went through their nine million car recall in 2010, Akido Toyoda took the beating alongside his brand. ("Carwoo", 2011) These countries will have to continue to work together in this global economy. We have learned much from each other but still have much to learn. At Toyota they still are. Toyota does not stamp cars made in the US or made in Japan, they stamp them Toyotas.
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Retrieved from http://www.equinekingdom.com/miscellaneous/stuff%20I%27ve%20written/culture%20differences.htm Pomoni, C. (2008). Helium. Retrieved from http://www.helium.com/items/1011998-understanding-ethical-differences-in-international-business Chung, K. Y., Eichenseher, J. W., & Yaniguchi, T. (2008). Confucianism and Business Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics Asia Pacific Management Forum . (2002).
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