Gung Ho (1986) stars Michael Keaton in the role of an American wheeler-dealer who hopes to save his small Pennsylvania town by getting a Japanese automobile manufacturer to buy the town’s buggest employer-a failing automobile assembly factory. Michael is sent to Japan to convince the Japanese that buying this factory is in mutual interest. The rest of the movie is about how the Japanese and American cultures try to work together to successfully run the factory. For the most part, the Japanese management and the American workers can not manage to get along because of cultural differences. However, in typical Hollywood style, the movie ends on a positive note when the Japanese and Americans are able to work together and reach their production target to avoid a lock-out.
This is a terrific, under-rated movie. It does a good job of showing cultural conflicts when companies from two different countries try to collaborate. I worked for a short time in an Indian-Korean automobile joint venture. I saw a similar dynamics play out in that joint venture, as showed in the movie. The Koreans and Indians had practically no social interaction with each other in that factory. The two groups had their seperate eating areas and lounges. Not surprisingly, the joint venture did not last long and the fcatory closed down soon after I left. I have heard a lot of other situations where such cultural differences emerge between companies from different countries. Imagine, Indian-American or Sino-American joint ventures where people from two culturally very different countries are being brought to work together, without giving them much training about the other culture. (BTW, I came across this funny posting about the American culture from a Chinese perspective. Think about working at a Chinese-managed factory in the US or a US-managed factory in China. I also found an interesting posting about the Indian culture from an American perspective. Being from India myself, I don’t agree with many of her observations, but that is what is so interesting about the whole concept of culture. Our idea about our own culture tends to be different from how other people see it).
Great movie, must watch!