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Working in a “Gung Ho” way May 31, 2010

Posted by Null in Cross Culture, Movies.
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I have just watched this film from 80s of Hollywood. The movie, Gung Ho (1986) played by Michael Keaton is a comical yet a learning film that illustrates the cross-cultural differences between American and Japanese management. The film portrays problems in managing operations in a different country if the culture is vastly different from the one you usually work.

Gung Ho

In Japan, they follow a ZERO defect formula (Theory Z) of operations management where every single product manufactured should be defect free. In reality it may look impossible by many but the Japanese management in major organizations has been following this strategy and they had been successful, whereas, organizations of other nations may not be able to achieve such an operations policy.

In Japan, they also believe in collectively achieving together. In fact, Gung Ho literally means “working together”. This not only signifies the collective work but also the degree of devotion of a worker towards his/her organization. If an employee is not being productive like a machine, it is a shame for the employee.

However, work and life is different in another part of the world which is called America. The film starts with the acquisition of an American automobile plant by a Japanese automobile company named Assan Motors. Most importantly, the movie depicts that if cultures are significantly different, you may not be successful if you are not tolerant and compromising regardless of how good you are as a manager.

Since cultures are different, so as the individual characteristics. Therefore we should try bending or tailoring or even adjusting our management techniques in order to conform according to the local culture where we are doing our business.


The Insider (Whistleblower) October 17, 2009

Posted by Null in Business, Ethics, Movies.
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The Insider (1999) is a true story based on an Ex-tobacco executive who planned to whistle blow against his company Brown & Williamson. However, going against a tobacco manufacturer is not that easy. There are political pressures, ups and downs, life threats and off course legal concerns.

The film illustrates how tobacco manufacturers are exploiting the consumers by not letting them know what happens next after smoking. In this case an ethically driven generous executive, who belongs to the scientific know how of tobacco manufacturing has planned to raise his voice. He took help from a veteran CBS news reporter to help him file a lawsuit against his ex-employer. Nevertheless, whistle blowing is not that plain and simple especially if the employer is a giant tobacco manufacturer.

The movie also explores ethical issues that underlies within the tobacco industry in general. There are certain laws pertaining to the degrees of murder. Some critics might even believe that this is a planned assassination by the tobacco manufacturers. Anyway the arguments are left to the jurisdiction. Has anything sturdy been done till now to combat against smoking? However, we are aware of the numerous international litigation made against many tobacco companies, but these companies have always survived the great legal campaigns.

Obviously, questions may arise regarding the validity of the statements made by the tobacco executive in 60 minutes. Therefore, if we just look into an organizational perspective, what choices are left with the company? Would you want to feed a Frankenstein who wants to kill you?

Economic Darwinism at its worst October 17, 2009

Posted by Null in Ethics, Expression, Movies.
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Darwin’s Nightmare (2004) directed by Hubert Sauper, is the Oscar nominated documentary film which portrays the economic Darwinism in Tanzania and the other countries associated with the Lake Victoria. The film explains how the economically advantaged big fishes of the world are exploiting the underprivileged tiny fishes of Africa.

We are aware of barter systems where people used to exchange goods and services for other goods and services. In fact many nations still have barter exchanges. Such examples include Saudi Arabia/UAE exchanging food in return for oil and cash from Australia/US. But question always lie with the gains from trade. In most cases, it is not a win win situation in international business and trade. When we get greedy for business and trade, we ignore many other issues like the ecology, the business ethics, and the poverty. Rather we focus on exploitation, creating tension and enforced dumping.

The film depicts an in depth analysis of an extensive research (although it may look controversial and offensive to some groups). It gives a vivid description of the case of Lake Victoria of Tanzania and the inhabitants nearby the lake. A new breed of fish, which looked commercially successful, has eventually transformed some of the African economies into a bloody economic and politcal war. See it for yourself and find out what has changed the life in that region.

Outsourced July 2, 2009

Posted by Null in Business, Movies.
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Why do organizations outsource? What happens when work is being outsourced to other countries? How do people of other countries manage those work? Is it that simple to handle a native American customer by an Indian whose culture, language and accent is largely distinct? No, should be the answer.


Outsourced (2007) is a learning based comedy film directed by John Jeffcoat. The major roles played are Josh Hamilton, Ayesha Dharker and Asif Basra.

The film discovers the generic stereotypes that Americans have in regard to Indians. An American sales executive (Todd Anderson) who works for a novelty merchandise company realizes that their entire department has been outsourced to India. Moreover, he was forced to travel to India in order to train the call center employees and as well as to find his replacement. The objectivity of such training by the company was to make sure that an American expatriate teach those Indian call center employees about the American culture, the native American accent and to ensure the minute per incident comes down to 6.

However, things are a bit different on this part of the world and one might easily identify the culture shock that Todd Anderson has faced. His perceptions and attributions were largely incorrect about India. The film has cleverly explored various areas of cultural differences between the two countries. Additionally, many other management issues like corporate greed, outsourcing, job loss, cheap labor, expatriate failure, culture clash, etc has been evident in the film.

A GEN Y dilemma on job and social life balance June 25, 2009

Posted by Null in HRM, Movies.
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The Devil Wears Prada (2006) is a humor yet interesting film based on Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 novel. The two major roles played are Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep.


The story explores some unheard realities of workplaces that can be real challenging (pain in the ***) for individuals if they don’t fit into the position itself. However, the movie has gone beyond the challenges of fitting into a position. It also explores how bosses can be annoying. But the boss is always right! Right?

The story is based on a young lady named Andrea who studied journalism and dreamt of having a career in journalism. Eventually, fate took her into a different role, a different position, an inflexible workplace environment, and a boss from hell. So do you have what it takes to do any job? You are educated and the issue is whether as a GEN Y, you are willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of a career or not. Not everyone has that much of patience or should I say talent?

What do we mean by a job or a position? You do a 9-5 duty and do not bring office commitments to home.While some professions such doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc may require us to bring task into home (but that’s flexible). But in the movie/novel it was “so so different” in the job that Andrea was doing in the Runway Magazine. As a GEN Y girl, it may look quite obvious that she will leave the job. But she didn’t, rather sacrificed her social and family relations and especially a freedom of life. But eventually after putting so much of effort into it, she quit. Did she do the right thing? I guess so, because she proved her boss that she’s competent but is not willing to sacrifice everything for career.

Yet, we might find people like Miranda Priestly who will go crazy for a career and forget that they have a life.