Undoubtedly, the world is currently zooming along the expressway to globalization. Globalization causes exchanges to be quicker, facilitated anywhere at any time. These exchanges concern persons, goods, services and funds. As a result, new dilemmas have risen on the horizon along with new opportunities in international and multi-cultural environments. Working opportunities abroad are increasing and international expansion has become compulsory. Crossing national boundaries to understand better different ways of thinking has become an essential key factor to success. there is no chance of succeeding in a global environment without developing specific skills to be culturally intelligent. But developing such skills is not that simple. Being ready to understand different cultures implies being ready to question one's reactions in a multi-cultural environment. It implies setting new rules for one's personal evolution in an organization.
This report consists in the analysis of cross-cultural interactions in Alain Corneau's movie 'Fear and Trembling' released in 2003, and adapted from Amélie Nothomb's novel. This is the story of Amélie, a Belgian young woman who spent her first six years in Japan and who decides to come back to Japan once she became old enough to work for a large company. Though she idealizes the Japanese culture, she will soon experience cross-cultural issues at work and her life will take a turn for the worse.
This report analyzes the situation and provides answers regarding the way such situations should be handled.
[...] They consequently decided to boycott the toilets. The result was a decrease in productivity because they had to go to another floor. On the other hand, those who continued to go to the toilets showed that their submission to authority was absolute and that they do not care that strangers are humiliated; they even think that they do not belong to a Japanese organization. Such a situation illustrates the ideological debate about authority, and tolerance towards strangers who do not act the same way as us. [...]
[...] When her managers yelled at her, she did not understand. Because many things remained unsaid, she failed to adapt her behavior. This lack of mindfulness is attributed to the fact that she comes from Europe and that in Europe, people are rather individualist and that they do not try to understand people who criticize them. She did not try to respect the Japanese standards (silence, obeisance, respect, hierarchy . she argued instead of nodding, she took personal initiatives . As we said, she was rapidly stigmatized as a European, a stranger, with an inferior brain incapable of obedience. [...]
[...] “Without discussion, there is no solution”. But for Japanese people, talking makes things worse and subordinates have no right to argue. Concerning rules and norms, Amélie thought that just following the rules is childish. She was not willing to try to understand the Japanese culture and to try to adapt. She is provocative, she continued in her occidental way of thinking. She puts herself in the position of a victim and reproaches her manager to try to get a revenge on her. [...]
[...] It consists of integrating those skills, this culture, and being able to interact with locals without any special effort. It is the result of the two other steps. It is therefore obvious that Amélie could not implement this step in the movie. She was far from this step. The global aim of this process is to extract value from the differences to become culturally intelligent. Conclusion Since she acquired an occidental culture in Belgium while personally feeling that she belongs to the Japanese culture, the main character of the movie has a gap. [...]
[...] She personally identified the scene as an aggression in which M. Omoshi wanted to destroy Mrs Fubuki, who remained strong and did not show her emotions. Amélie, “nice but stupid”, as she described herself at this precise moment, followed her to help her. But she did not understand that seeing her crying would make her lose her honor at the highest point. The notion of self-esteem, honor, is essential in Japan. The last –but not the least task attributed to Amélie was cleaning the toilets. [...]
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