Western managers vs Eastern managers: difference in management style

There are some fundamental differences in the styles of management adapted by Western and Eastern managers as illustrated below.

Differences in management style

Western Managers

Eastern Managers

Is more open, direct and confrontational Puts greater value on seniority, relationships and family ties
Is more flexible and creative Is likely to be paternalistic
Encourages empowerment of line workers Supports lifetime employment and opposes hire-and-fire
Favors databases and statistics and resists intuition Places more emphasis on corporate loyalty
Is more productivity-oriented than people-oriented Is more resistant to women assuming positions of management
Is characterized more by individual initiative than by group consensus, Puts greater importance on short-term profits Is more likely to stress quantity than quality

There are also some similarities in the way that managers perceived the importance of connections, like in business relationships and personal friendships but also some marked differences, with local Asian managers and expatriate Western managers regarding government connections, family connections, gifts and favors, and bribes as much more important that Western managers did.

Against the background of differences in management style, the achievement of a consistent corporate culture throughout the MNE is considered in general. It must reflect the differences in the local country and business culture but also maintain the firm’s standards and values.

A number of writers have considered the differences between the International and domestic planning and explained that the very nature of international markets, which are geographically dispersed and culturally difference means that whilst there may be greater opportunities for the company there are also greater risks and uncertainties. It is worth emphasizing at this point, however, that because domestic markets are becoming more segmented and more culturally fragmented the differences between International marketers and domestic marketers are becoming less clear especially as few domestic markets are not unaffected by international competition. The definition of what constitutes the home market is also changing as more countries become part of a trading bloc.

Most companies, as they grow, move gradually into international markets and the major evolutionary stages of planning; the unplanned stage, the budgeting stage, the annual business planning and the strategic planning stage, which equate closely to the evolution of the business.

Individual managers adopt different attitudes to International business planning, ranging from enthusiasm to reluctance. The three most common reasons for resistance to the planning process are,

  1. planning is time consuming when the time could be better spent on managing the business,
  2. setting goals and objectives in a volatile environment remote from the HQ is irrelevant, divisive and applies unnecessary constraints and
  3. planning is purely a process by which senior managers at the domestic HQ can inform themselves and control the international business and is of no benefit for other managers.

The three most common reasons for supporting the International business planning process given by managers are that it

  1. encourages everyone wherever they might be in the organization to pull in the same direction,
  2. avoids waste of time and resources through duplication of work and
  3. ensures that the company is better prepared for coping with unexpected events and international competition.

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