DOING BUSINESS WITH THE JAPANESE by Mitchell F. Deutsch

DOING BUSINESS WITH THE JAPANESE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Deutsch made his way from Consumer Electronics--where he found the Japanese ""impossible, unreliable, and, frankly, quite inscrutable""--to a Madison Avenue PR firm and then to one of its accounts, Sony, where he learned (with the aid of some experienced, bilingual Americans) ""that there was a bizarre sense of orderliness to the Japanese way of doing things."" As a go at Understanding the Japanese, this is an exercise in naivetÉ, liberally injected with favorable references to Sony (and other Japanese companies); as a guide to actually doing business with the Japanese, it makes a few general points at wordy length--mostly having to do with negotiating (use a go-between, have your own interpreter, remember that the eldest is the foremost, etc.) or with the much-publicized attributes of Japanese companies. In the latter instance, the book is directed equally toward Americans working for Japanese firms here, or attempting to emulate Japanese Practices in American firms. Thus: ""American workers will have to take the company philosophy to heart, and to eradicate the widespread cynicism that underlies many American attitudes toward company philosophy. American companies will have to come up with a philosophy""--like Matushita's--""worth taking to heart."" But even Deutach's ""Insider's Guide to Correct Behavior"" is unattuned, alien: ""The extent to which the Japanese will go to save face and preserve harmony can verge on the comically absurd."" The combination of uncritical admiration and unconscious condescension may, however, be just the ticket for some prospective readers. And, for the increasing number of Americans in Japanese employ, Deutsch does indicate obstacles (why it's hard to win promotion, ""the need to reconcile and assimilate input from other departments,"" the hierarchy) while, for all concerned, he offers a final, brief rundown of practical Japanese business matters (advertising, merchandising, market research, etc.). A trifling item, but not without its uses.

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 1983
Publisher: New American Library