Gung Ho

gungho.jpgGung 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!  


117 responses to “Gung Ho

  1. Nicole Furman

    This was a very funny movie. I really enjoyed it, but I also learned a lot from it, too. It’s easy to laugh at the dramatized misunderstandings between the Japanese and the Americans, but these problems probably do exist in real life! As companys move their factories overseas, it is important for them to understand the culture of the people who will be working there. You will not have a successful factory unless you know how to motivate the people and are understanding of their needs…. I think the funniest part of this movie was the scene where the Japanese expected the American workers to exercise in the morning. Being familiar with the blue-collar male mentality, I knew right away that this would be funny to watch! This just goes to show that the Japanese did not understand the American male mentality!

  2. abusinessprofessor

    One of the most worth-watching things in this movie is the work-related cultural differences between the Japanese and Americans. However, sometimes students may not see how these things play out in the real world, because they have never had work experience with a multinational company.

    On March 18, Wall Street Journal had an article “Chinese Refrigerator Maker Finds U.S. Chilly”. The article described some of the management practices that Haier, a Chinese giant, follows in China:

    1. Workers in China who make mistakes must stand on a set of footprints outlined on the floor and publicly criticize themselves out loud, explaining why they erred and the lessons learned.

    2. Managers are required to wear company-issue blue silk ties.

    3. Factory workers sport colored caps signaling their seniority, gray for higher ranks, yellow for lower ranks.

    4. And in a nation of people famous for line-jumping, Haier’s employees are taught to march in straight lines as part of their job-training.

    Haier set up a manufacturing plant in Camden, South Carolina to gain a better foothold in the U.S. market. Here’s what the WSJ says happened when East met West:

    “Haier’s hierarchical culture has been a tough fit with U.S. workers. They rebelled against being forced to stand in the footprints when they made mistakes. Haier’s Chinese management has tried to adjust to American tastes. Instead of humiliating bad workers, they now encourage the best ones to stand in the footprints for recognition”.

    Many believe that in a globalized world there is no place for cultural differences. I think cultural differences are going to become even more important as Chinese, Indian, and Russian companies expand abroad and higher American and British employees, rather than the other way that has been common in the past.

  3. The movie is a classic example of ethnocentrism, where one culture sees the way of business through their own eyes and feels their culture is “the way things should be done.” As companies continue to expand globally, they are facing the obstacle of doing business with many different cultures, not just Asian cultures. Companies should be open to new cultures and use the strengths of each culture. I think the movie is summed up when they talk about (Americans) “drinking beers and peeing for distance” and the (Japanese) “pee for accuracy.” Different cultures place importance on different things. Overall, the movie was a funny, comical, over dramatized, account of cultural differences that are becoming a commonplace in business.

  4. Trevor Luchsinger

    All in all this was a good movie. It showed how a different country/ cultures way of doing business. It is very obvious that every company/ country/ etc. run things differently and feel that importance should be placed in other areas. thats how culture affects businesses.

  5. Richard Caniglia

    I remember watching this movie when I was young and thought it was a funny movie. Now that I watch it many years later I understand more of the humor and the reason it appealed to so many people back in 1986. It is a good corporate comedy with a historical perspective. This movie showed how many Americans resented the fact that the Japanesse were able to succeed in the auto industry. Several lines in the movie reinforced this such as when Michael Keaton states “If they are so much better why didn’t they win the big one” in reference to WWII.

    I thought the movie did a good job showing in a humorous way the vast difference between the two corporate cultures. I work for ConAgra Foods who does it’s best to make it possible for employees to put family first over work. This culture is not be acceptable in Japan. However, most people in Japan work for the same company for their entire lieves that is a rarity in America now adays.

  6. Rachelle Jershin

    This movie was definitely the oldest movie we watched for the semester. Ha! The movie demonstrates how company cultures were different. The relationship with the company and the employees, as well as work ethic, varies drastically from the Japanese managers and American auto workers. There is a constant clash between the two parties. Leadership styles of the management and Michael Keaton’s character are diverse too. It was my least favorite of all the movies we watched to tell you the truth. I think many companies and employees deal with some kind of culture differences at some point. It could be a business starting a plant in a second country. It is also as common as a new employee or boss with differing cultures. In the business world you will always be changing and adapting to be successful. This makes me excited to start my career in the corporate world to overcome challenges while learning and developing every day.

  7. Scott Bradley

    Overall, this was an okay movie. The main character was a little off, but harmless none the less. The movie definitely outlines the importance of understanding culture during this period of rapid globalization. While people at their core are the same, the way we go about satifying our needs are usually different. This is culture in a nutshell. Gung Ho is a simple example of the challenges many organizaitons face as they build relationships in new parts of the world. The lesson learned….research, research, research! Had the Japanese researched and analyzed common business practices of US manufacturers, perhaps they would have been more prepared to deal with these challenges.

  8. Aaron Winters

    I thought this was a good movie. I think its still very relevant to the world and business even though the movie has been around for over 20 years. I think this movie reflects the issues that the auto industry has ran into and problems in international business. I felt this was one of the better movies we watched throughout the semester.

  9. Sarah Eltiste

    Gung Ho demonstrated the mutual collarboration that can occur between two things so different. The Chinese and Americans are on two completely different sides of the spectrum when it comes to business. Their cultures are like night and day. Yet, when they collaborate throughout the movie, it seems those very differences bring their success to cross in the middle. The Chinese brought their culture to the table, and with hesitation and reluctance, the American worked their culture into the mix to satisfy both business interests. The movie was funny, and demonstrated just how different global businesses operate based on their values. These differences are what keep the business world at a never ending process of adapting to change and uniqueness.

  10. This movie was pretty funny.  Basically it is dealing with the difference between Japanese auto makers and American auto makers.  Each one thinks that they do the job the better than the other.  This small town in America needs the Japanese Auto Plant to be there for jobs.  Hunt the main character in the movie lies to the workers at the plant about how many cars they need to earn a raise to what they used to make.  This was an ok movie and had a lot of funny 80’s clothing.

  11. This movie was vintage 80s. Cheesy 80s montage music, dialogue, and Michael Keaton. The point of the movie was clear and was easy to interpret. It expresses the idea that you need to tweak a Japanese business plan a little bit in order to be effective in another country. The movie was overall a well done movie and was a great rent.

  12. I agree with Jed on the fact that this movie is a perfect example of ethnocentrism. This concept was going through me mind during the entire movie. Each culture only saw things through their own eyes and thought they were doing a great job but when in truth they didn’t open their eyes wide enough to see the other culture/people.

    Very good movie though that kept me entertained throughtout. It really related to business today because so many companys are moving operations abroad and in order to do so companies must understand the culture of the country. They must bridge the cultural gap in order to have a strong operation.

  13. Corey Bronson

    This movie was overall a good watch. It goes to show many of the misconceptions that society has about itself regarding other cultures or ways of going about how to do things. This movie depicts a clear portrait of what problems globilization will have to encounter in the near future. Many businesses are beginning to expand their market overseas and be faced with working with other cultures. If Americans continue to be rigid and non-accepting of other viewpoints than globalization will be halted and may never achieve it full potential.

  14. This movie was interesting. Despite its age, it showed the still very relevant dilemmas we face in today’s business environment. Although I was aware of the international business dilemmas it was different to view it in a comical way. I would recommend this movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

  15. Steve Wimer

    Oh man i thought this movie was hilarious. It was a little older but that doesn’t really bother me. I absolutely loved the actors in this. It really showed the problem with different cultures. When a person is accustomed to a certain way things are done, its difficult to see it another. No matter what culture, people have trouble changing, that’s just the way it is.

  16. Lucas Corbett

    This movie was ok… it showed that one size does not fit all. That you have to learn new ways even though you may think you have found the correct way to run a company. So far this is the best movie we watched.

  17. Lauren Harre

    I thought this movie was funny from a film perspective, but so wrong from a business perspective. I just finished an international mangement course where I learned a lot about how to do business abroad. The two companies in this film had no idea that they should do anything different. It was a great example of how not to do things. If a town really relied on that plant and what happened in the film really happened, neither company would be successful.

  18. Andrew Hutton

    Gung Ho is a good movie and I would recommend it to anyone. It is kind of funny to see how the American workers and the Japanese managers can’t get along. It was kind of interesting that I recognized some issues in this movie that we have learned in the business program.

  19. Shaina Plum

    Funny movie. Good example of how two cultures can collide. I agree with Lauren that most people do not go into a situation like this so unprepared. So that part of the plot isn’t true to life. But it does show how things can go so wrong. I agree with you Professor that as the world continues to ‘shrink’ cultural clashes are more likely. It will affect everyone at some point in time. I still think that a little learning about each other and open communication can help a lot more than simply trying to force your ways upon someone else.

  20. megan weatherwax

    This was a really great movie to watch. It made me laugh and geninually kept my interest. Michael Keaton was great in the movie as well as the funny Japanese man. The subject of cultural barriers has been brought up so many times and this just showed one in a factory. different culutres are motivated and encouraged in different ways. There is no way Americans would work over time jsut for the company but like they said in the movie Japanese workers will. I really enjoyed the wya the movie turned out.

  21. It is strange what we take for granted in our culture. It seemed very normal and acceptable for a worker to take time off for a kid’s tonsil surgery, but the Japanese manager was affronted. On the other hand, it must have seemed very natural to the Japanese to eat with chopsticks, but the American workers were amazed. Its usually the little things that nobody thinks about that makes intercultural communications hard. It’s hardest to change something you may not have noticed/though about in the first place.

  22. Chancy Sims

    A hilarious movie! Importantly, this movie was great in that it taught people the true consequences of cultural differences and those whom do not understand them. It is simple: a company that is going international yet does not understand the business cultures of the countries it is going into, will fail.

  23. Robert Brown

    I thought this movie was okay. Its message was clear and did a good job of getting it across. There were several humorous moments throughout it as well. When people are used to doing things in their way that appears to be the right way, its sometimes hard to realize that there can be more than one right way to do it. I worked an environment that was mixed between American and Latino workers and things like this happened quite often.

  24. Mandy Young

    I thought the movie was very funny, yet took a serious approach when dealing with the issues that are still prevalent in parts of the world today. I think the most important thing to learn from this movie is that instead of being resistant to change and alternate cultural experiences, we should embrace the fact that people can come together on a global level and have a mutual understanding in the working environment.

  25. Scott Stronck

    This movie was good and related to Swoosh, the book I am reading. It deals with the Japanese and American business people working together. It is interesting to see the cultural differences that these two have. Business in Japan seems to be a little more proper than it is in America.

  26. joshua classen

    Gung Ho is an ok movie and I would recommend it though. It is kind of funny to see how the American and the Japanese cultures and norms clash in the work place. It goes to show that research needs to be done to help mesh two cultures together.

  27. abusinessprofessor

    The WSJ, 15 April’ 2008 has an interesting article on doing business in the Gulf countries (or middle eastern countries). Here’s an excerpt:

    “Travelers to the Emirates should still expect that meetings might not start and end on time, and can be held well beyond the bounds of a nine-to-five workday. Agreeing to meet someone at two o’clock in the afternoon could mean sitting down at five, if the person is of higher rank and the meeting is taking place outside an office. Or it could require absolute punctuality.
    Aamir Rehman, the author of “Dubai & Co.,” a book on doing business in the Emirates, says many of Emirati business leaders’ most-important decisions are made outside the office — in a family setting or at a private reception room called a majlis, where guests may mingle for an hour or two before finally getting the chance to sit down with the host and talk business.”
    For those interested in reading the complete article, you can find it at the WSJ website (Time Runs Differently in the Emirates).

  28. Eraj Tabaraliev

    Consideration of cultural differences is important when you plan to move to some other countries. This movie depicted the conflicts that arise from cultural differences. It was a little funny, but it showed the serious problems that MNC will face…
    I liked to watch this movie.

  29. Shailendu Shroff

    The movie is based on a Japanese company coming to the US and acquiring a closed American plant to make cars. The management is Japanese, but the workforce remains American. The Japanese management are very particular about work and consider work and the company as superior to everything and give it utmost importance in their lives. For them the success of the company is of only relevance in their lives. On the other hand American workers are more concerned about their personal lives and give a lot of value and consideration to their families and other obligations. They are not dictated by work nor are they hell bent on sacrificing their personal interests in view of the company.

    We see that Japanese try to overuse and exploit the American workers since their plant was closed and they had no jobs. However, the Japanese fail to realize the feelings that Americans share. Oishi and Hunt make a deal that if the plant can produce 15000 cars in 1 month, the workers would get full employment and a salary raise. There is a strike in the plant since the workers cannot realize themselves with the work attitude of the Japanese. However, Oishi and Hunt head back inside the plant to complete the cars themselves, so that they could prove their commitment and promise of 15000 cars to upper management. In the meantime, the strike workers join them and what follows is a massive team effort to complete 1000 cars in 1 day. They fall short of the target by 6 cars, but the Japanese CEO then realizes the hard work and efforts of the workers and declares that the target has been achieved and thereby reinstating the workers as employees and converting the plant into a full time operational unit.

    This movie very nicely portrays the work culture conflicts for different nations and what priorities each one has. Corporations must realize that when they globalize and try to enter foreign markets, they must look at the target country closely and try to adopt their culture and work like them. This will give the workers/employees a relaxed and comfortable ground to work on. Never try to mess around with other people’s feelings and behavior since it can lead to unexpected outcomes. Lastly, businesses should never impose themselves on their employees nor make them go out of their way to meet deadlines and achieve the desired goals in order to make profits. Employees will surely resist work pressure when it is unjustified and intolerable and cannot be seen as a prudent step in the company’s work environment.

  30. james o'neill

    Blog 10 – Gung Ho (Cross Cultural Business and Doing Business Globally)
    Although the film was created in the mid 80’s, Gung Ho effectively foreshadows a lot of issues of conflict that have arisen in the ever changing global business environment in the 21st century. In a shrinking global climate, interaction between differing ethnic groups from different areas of the world with extremely divergent customs and lifestyles has undoubtedly increased in many avenues of life, particularly in the business world. In this movie, Stevensen is an out of work ex-foreman in an automobile plant who must submit in various ways to the demands from the higher ups in the corporation that has given them a second chance to exist – but the conflict is that the parent company is Japanese. Cross cultural issues arise not only interpersonally but in translation from top management, to Kazahiro who is the go-between for the Assan company and the American factory workers in the newly reopened plant. One particular scene of conflict is that when the new Japanese management reestablishes the plant, they require a type of group calisthenics from the factory workers to increase productivity and boost morale. However, this custom that may be very common in Japan was not received well by the American workers for a variety of reasons, and these sentiments that are lost in translation can potentially end up becoming huge points of debate between management and the plant workers. One more issue I’d like to point out that arises from this type of intermingling of cultures is that oftentimes there is some perceived distance between a foreign superior than there would be per se with a superior who is native. In this movie, Kazahiro goes so far as to make an unethical agreement with Stevensen in order to coax and motivate the workers, because he knew as a foreigner, he would never be able to gain their trust. The danger here is that such practices are at best unethical and at worst illegal, with little good coming from such underground agreements that must be made as a direct result of cross cultural problems and differences.

  31. I really liked this movie. Hunt Stevenson, who was a laid off foreman at an American Auto plant in Pennsylvania, was sent to Tokyo to convince the Assan Motors Corporation to reopen the plant which was closed and the employees including Stevenson have been out of work for 9 months. Assan Corporation agrees and after establishing their plant in US they take advantage of the workforce which has been out of work since a long time and pay them low wages and made work all over the plant to make sure that each and every worker learns each and every job, but workers were not able to suffice the standards.

    Oishi Kajihiro, Japanese in charge of plant, was too lenient towards the worker due to which he failed to prove himself as a successful person. But he was given a final chance to prove himself by making the American plant a success. Then he gibe Stevenson a promotion so that he can make the workers to comply by the new rules as made by Kajihiro but Stevenson keep a deal in front of Kajihiro that if the plant produces 15000 cars a month then the workers will be given raises in their wages and new jobs will be created for the rest of the unemployed workers. But due to workers opposition to such a big target then Stevenson lies to them that even if they complete the target of 13000 then they will get a raise. Workers come to know the truth then went on the strike as they didn’t get the raise even after producing 13000 cars.

    Due to this strike Assan Motors plans to shut down this plant again but Kajihiro in order to prove himself in front of his superiors tries to meet the target with his own workforce which in turn motivates other workers to join in again and help him in meeting the target (by cutting down the quality of cars) but again they fell short but this time they fell short by 6 cars. But due to their hard work and dedication they are successful to please the CEO and he consider it as target completed.

    This movie depicts the cultural difference which a company usually faces when it moves to a different country. I am sure even US corporations face cultural difficulties when they outsource their business to other countries like India, China etc. I don’t know but I found it really funny to see to see the cultural clash between American and Japanese work place.

  32. Gung Ho is a film that portrays the car production industry and depicts the differences in culture that exist between the Japanese and the Americans. Gung Ho depicts the Japanese as only caring about the finished product, and placing team work and company importance above all else, even at the expense of the very employees that make it a company, such as with the man who was not allowed to leave work for the birth of his baby girl. The Americans on the other hand seem more reasonable. They grant the worker rights and treat everyone with respect in order to make him or her feel special. This seems like the proper way to conduct business, but I only think that because I am an American; if I was not an American, I might argue the contrary. It is difficult to determine which method is more productive as both the Americans and the Japanese produced 15,000 cars in one month; though one could argue that the strike at the American plant decreased the monthly production by a significant amount. The Japanese appear to be raised with strict discipline that they carry on in life, as is seen at the beginning of the movie in the managers training facility. While this works for them, when it is applied to American culture, it fails horribly. Granted the Americans were not open to the new methods, but I suppose that is their prerogative. They were able to complete productions demands with their own strategy, and as the saying goes, to each his own.

  33. Larysa Karasev

    This movie deals with cross-cultural differences in businesses. It is so obvious that before coming to different culture even to visit, people should dig deeply and find out how things work, what motivates people, what is a spirit of the nation, what is appropriate and what is not. It is crucial to perform this kind of research when such a strategic move is planned like outsourcing a big plant. We see from Gung Ho that what works best for Japanese does not work as good for other culture. The main idea is that basically it is good to make a mixture of cultural differences that work, in this way it is possible to create absolutely new atmosphere and exploit the strengths from every culture, though it takes a considerable amount of time and not always possible as some cultures are just not compatible at all. I remember one scene from the movie when plant manager’s wife asked to put together bicycle for their son’s birthday and he refused as he had to work. She said – Why can’t you be like normal American father? There must be a balance in life!
    I did not like the end. It’s an American movie, of course, so happy end must be presented. But in the reality what Japanese would face after the decision to stay? Workers that can’t beat Japanese production rate and still get hourly pay that exceeds that of their Japanese coworkers? Workers that believe that defect is a car dealer’s problem? Workers that threaten to create a union whenever something goes not their way? Workers that quickly forget about being unemployed and not getting paycheck at all? Sounds like a lot of trouble…. If I were that big Japanese monster, I would not take it. In this case workers would move and find a job somewhere else and (possibly) change them and started to work in a way that creates value and the economy as a whole is getting better.

  34. Gung Ho, starring Michael Keaton as an American car manufacturer manager is a movie that clearly illustrates the cultural divide that can lead to clashes between workers. The film portrays the Japanese workers to be almost work obsessed. Meeting production levels and standards and the success of the plant are first and foremost. It takes precedence over the personal and family life of the workers.

    The Americans on the other hand largely see the factory as a job and not a way of life. They are much more concerned with their families and their personal time when they are not working.

    In the movie, Michael Keaton motivates his american workers to practically work around the clock in order to meet the Japanese production standards. Unfortunately he has to lie in the process and several of the workers miss key life events such as children’s birthdays. In the end, the Americans make nearly make the necessary production numbers and everyone is happy. However, the numbers were only for one month and you can clearly see how upset and distressed the workers are. If they were forced to keep the same standards all year round, I’m sure there would be much larger problems.

    In the end, I think the only way for a company to be successful when dealing with gaps in culture is to find compromising agreements that both parties are happy with. The Americans could focus more on working and increase the production numbers while the Japanese workers relax sometimes and focus less on work. The bottom line is when you have a global company that is setting up factories, retail stores, distribution centers etc, you cannot take a standard business mold and apply it to every country. Management needs to first understand the culture and societal values of the people, and then adapt the strategy in each area to match. Forcing the people to work one way may work in the short run, but I doubt that it can be sustainable in the long run.

  35. Gung Ho is a comedic yet informative movie about culture collision at an automobile factory in the United States. The movie starts off with an American who travels to Japan for a business talk on opening an auto plant in the US. The way he appears to Japanese partners is very American, laid back, relaxed, and with a sense of humor. However, the Japanese side is relatively conservative and formal when they come to talk about business. Later in the movie, the Japanese decides to open an automobile assembly line in the US and hire this American guy they met in Japan as their employee liaison. When a Japanese management hires American workers to do business, cross-cultural encounters start to happen.

    Firstly, when members of the Japanese delegation give business cards to Stevenson, they expect that Stevenson would give a business card of his back to them. That is a Japanese tradition when people meet for the first time for business. The fact that Stevenson doesn’t bother giving a card back to the Japanese displeases them. Secondly, when Japanese men start to talk about business at dinner, female spouses or relatives have to leave the table and let the men do their business. Stevenson’s wife being an American doesn’t buy it, and wants to join the talk with them. That situation embarrasses the Japanese quite a lot. Finally, unlike the Americans, Japanese employees put company and work as their priority all the time. They work very hard and loyally even over time without getting paid just to boost company’s production and profit. However, American workers sometimes show sluggish performance and always ask for financial compensation for working extra hours. The Japanese management can hardly bear with what they see as inefficient American way of doing business. They keep pushing American workers for more production when the workers try to defend themselves by requesting for a payment rise if the quota is fulfilled. The movie is interesting to watch while observing some business cultural difference between countries.

  36. In the movie “Gung Ho,” Michael Keaton portrays an American businessman named Hunt Stevenson in the auto industry. He becomes the link between the American automotive company and the Japanese company that buys the American plant. He meets with the Japanese business men to discuss and implement changes to the plant as the Japanese assume control over the plant.
    This movie does a good job displaying the problems that arise when doing business globally and in a cross-cultural atmosphere. There are numerous examples of how competing globally and in a culturally diverse environment affects a business throughout the film. Likewise, the film does a good job at showing the difficulty in transferring power from one company to another through the process of an acquisition. Not only are there managerial issues that develop, but corporate culture differences as well.
    One of the most apparent issues that was displayed in the film was the difference in business practices in the American culture as apposed to the Japanese culture. One scene that really displayed the differences was when the Japanese business men and their wives were having dinner with Hunt Stevenson and his wife. When it was mentioned that “business” was going to be discussed all the Japanese women left the table, whereas Hunt Stevenson’s wife remained. Other differences came up in an argument that ensued where the Japanese businessman says that he does not understand American workers and how they “come to work 5 minutes late, leave 2 minutes early, stay home when they are sick, and put themselves above the company.” He points out that to Japanese their loyalty is to the company as a whole. Overall, this film does a nice job of showing how conflicts can arise when dealing with global companies and cross-cultural organizations in a lighthearted manner, which is not intimidating to the viewer.

  37. Gung Ho is a movie that tells the story of an American town that has a factory that is not being utilized and a man named Hunt who wants to save the town. To do this he travels to Japan to pitch to Assan motor company that his town and factory would be a positive fit for them. The cultural mismatch is evident from this initial meeting all the way until the very end when a compromise is seen. The problems occur when Hunt promises the Japanese that his factory can produce 15,000 cars in one month, but his workers think they will just get a smaller bonus if they finish say only 13,000 cars. This initially causes a lot of problems, but eventually rallies all the American workers and Japanese managers together as each side learns to understand each other better.

    What this movie demonstrates about cross-cultural business is the importance of each party to understand each other’s culture for a positive relationship to exist. Not only must they know the different elements of their culture, but also the reasoning behind them. From there a sound compromise can be made to develop a partnership or determine if the two cultures will never be able to collaborate effectively. This movie shows that although Japanese are perceived as putting work above all else and Americans are perceived as only caring about themselves, it shows that each culture is willing to make a compromise towards each other to potentially find a happy median.

  38. Lindsay Burleson

    Gung Ho gives a great dipiction of the cultural differences between the United States and Japan. It also shows the difficulty Americans had in adopting Japanese business practices. Zero defects, six sigma, and total quality managment were unheard of in American factories. I also notices 2 distinct differences in the personal aspect between the Japanese and Americans, as well as their idea of teamwork.
    When a business in personal to an American, it means that the company is willing to understand the other side of a worker. They understand the need for family and time off. When a worker gets unjured, it’s a personal upset for those workers around him. For the Japanese, the punishments are all personal. If a leader fails, it becomes a personal defeat and a flaw in character. This is evident from the beginning in the Japanese training scene.
    Teamwork is also viewed differently. The team in Japan is the whole company, one must be completely devoted to the team. In America, a team is normally a smaller group of whom you work closely with. In all honestly, great aspects of leadership and productibity come from both, as long as a balance is struck between the two.

  39. This was a fun movie showing the cultural differences and the need for cultural understanding when working overseas. Hunt is an unusual figure to be the main character as he seems not to really respect cultural differences, and though very social, is very unprofessional. As the movie moves forward one sees two things, how the people in each company begin to learn and understand the different culture they are dealing with and more importantly how they learn to adapt and become more accepting (if not actually more like) the culture they are dealing with and thus get the “best of both world”. I believe this movie also showed exceptional examples of motivation, and how motivation is also significantly different between cultures. The Japanese workforce was motivated by “face” while the American workforce was motivated by money and building of a community and family attachments.

  40. Chiao-Yin Chang

    The film “Gung Ho” depicted the story about an American car plant in Pennsylvania encountered the period of economic recession so that be taken over by a Japanese company. We could see that the conflict between the two different cultures and the employer and employees try to find the good way to balance their two opposite value and attitude toward work.
    First, the conflict of attitude toward work: The Japanese executive asks for the high quality processes and perfect performance so that they want employees to work overtime. The Japanese employer see work as the most important thing than anything whereas the America employees think family, friends and personal life are the most important thing. America employees go to work just for survive. Therefore, Japanese executive see these America workers as “lazy, lack of discipline, have no team spirit at all “On the other hand, the America workers see the Japanese as “dull, boring, lack of personal life, inflexible”
    Second, the conflict of different characteristics of races: Japanese will start a day with doing exercise. Besides, they make decision by team discussion and would like do anything to achieve their goal even doing so would have to sacrifice themselves. However, America is a country which prevail Heroism and stress the freedom of personal comments. Japanese think there is no need to have union but American get used to speak out their opinions to employer to fight for their rights. It is a big cultural issue between Japanese management and the American workers.
    Fortunately, at the end of the movie, they find the balance point to smooth their conflict by establishing friendship with each other and learning good values from each other. The Japanese executive learns from his co-workers to enjoy his life more and stimulate his employees with compensation and reward program. The American workers learn from the Japanese spirit to improve their operation process to sufficient their work performance and raise the capacity of plant. It is a good movie to let us think about how to deal with the culture conflict and how to manage cross cultural employees.

  41. This movie is talking about two different company cultures-Japan and America. However, these culture conflicts are inevitable but resolvable. For example, in my summer internship I was working for a company which has various races such as Chinese, American, and Mexican. Different people have different style about management or speaking. Chinese supervisors would like to watch you having job in all progress; however, Americans supervisors prefer to have laissez-faire style and only focus on your final result. Both management styles have their own advantages. The most important thing is how to let these two management styles coexist peacefully. As time went by, the company will figure out its own unique way to digest these culture conflicts.

  42. The movie shows how culture differences influence people in their ways of thinking and performance. When the Japanese company adapts the east culture to manage the plant in America, it does not work. From the movie, we can tell that the Japanese workers do not separate the work and personal life very well; they take working overtime as granted and do not have the same teamwork concept as American. I know that in the Japanese culture, especially back to the period this movie was made, the Japanese employees are known for their dedication and high loyalty to the company. They are willing to work overtime and never ask for over time payment. I even learned that back to 1980s, if the men leave company on time, they would have a cup of tea or drink for a while instead of going back home directly. Because they think the person who is asked to work overtime is favored by boss. They pretend to work overtime to show their family they are important to the company. therefore, it is not hard to understand why the Japanese management shouted to complain that “They(American workers) come five minutes later and leave two minutes earlier, they stay at home when they are sick, they put themselves above company.” although things are quite clear under one culture, it is unimaginable from the perspective of another culture.

    When run the business in another culture, the sufficient knowledge about the cultural differences and respect to the local culture is very important. For example, Wal-Mart established the labor comities for employees, offer more fresh seafood in Japan. The culture differences can raise conflicts and unexpected difficulties if the management does not set rules according to the local culture. While highlighting the core value of the company, the management should also play the game according to the culture differences. Or else, the company suffers and pays the price.

  43. Gung Ho is a movie based on Japanese enterprise re opening the auto plant back in operations for Americans. What it clearly shows that even with the best strategic alliances, leveraging on best possible options, creating jobs and demand is not a sure win into a smooth operational functioning. Cultural values and differences play a significant underlying role which invariably the management fails to counter in while aligning strategies. This movie takes a view on cultural values at job front if forced upon creates distasteful working environment.

    It was defiantly a mismatch for the Japanese to function in US without compromising on cultural values. Their zero defects at production and one sided focus in running the company was the only ground rule of functioning. But nor was it a pleasure for the Japanese executives themselves, who had to perform par excellence day in and out or were feared of losing their dignity and job. Finally these stringent rules at work which are a success factor in Japan are challenged by American workers. And we see how Takahara and other Japanese executives gradually changing and revolting, in the end you see a different mindset within the Japanese executives.

    Maybe it’s the culture and the fashion in which the Japanese perform their role. But sure this has to be looked beyond the boundaries of individual culture only can then one create better understanding and possibly achieve better productivity. It is a good movie about cultural issues of a cross cultural business at a global frontier. But now with globalization happening in every sector, there are hopefully much more business transactions within these two countries which have helped resolve the cultural differences at work place.

  44. Edw@rd Centof@nte (since we have no privacy rights on here)

    Ah, Japan. Will you never cease to amaze the world? To think we’ve now become familiar and accepting of your technological innovation, your ninja training reality shows, and your fascination with tentacle rape. This movie presents us with another of your unique cultural aspects – efficiency.

    Through the story of a small town struggling with the prospects of a Japanese invasion of its automotive plant, we get an exaggerated and humorous look at the fears that plagued America in the 80’s. Average Americans, previously secure in their manufacturing jobs knowing their products were quality (and if they weren’t, surely Congress would raise trade barriers – right?), now faced extreme competition from Japan. American executives saw Japanese companies as alien, where Japanese workers were automatons, working for maximum efficiency and always putting the company over personal or family needs.

    The movie has a few obvious parting shots: don’t lie to your employees, motivate employees through your own actions, and of course that the Japanese aren’t the evil heartless robots we thought they were. But it isn’t until we look at the movie through the eyes of historical perspective that we realize just how beneficial the “Japanese invasion” was. The Japanese had their niche in the world market and they pursued it with gusto. Efficiency in production, technological innovation, and the weirdest porn in the world: these were what defined Japan. And while the US had some growing pains adjusting to the Japanese niche, in the end it helped us find our own niches, and today both the American and Japanese consumers enjoy quality products and services from both sides of the globe.

  45. The movie clearly showed the differences that can exist between two cultures conducting business. I pray that these were exaggerated, but I guess it’s possible for some of these events to actually happen. Clearly, Assan Motors rushed into this investment and had no plan to assimilate the two cultures into one. These assumptions hurt production from the start. Hunt Stevenson, probably the biggest idiot in the movie strikes out with both the Japanese and the ladies. He is more of a man’s man. All of his smooth talking tactics are terrible and he just can’t seem to realize what he is doing wrong. To inspire the workers, he lies to them so they produce more cars. This is the one group of people that actually trusts him. When they find out he lied, a perfectly good 4th of July picnic is ruined. However, thanks to a classic eighties montage, the employees make enough cars to save their jobs, but only after they learn from each other and work together.

  46. In the comedy Gung Ho, Hunt Stevenson, a representative from an American auto plant that was recently shut down, is sent to Tokyo in an attempt to convince the Assan Motors Corporation to reopen the plant. After he persuades the executives to reopen the plant, the Japanese company arrives in the U.S. and basically exploits the desperate workers by forcing them to change their traditional working habits. Oishi, an executive of Assan is given one final chance to redeem himself and is put in charge of the plant in Pennsylvania. In an attempt to motivate his discouraged workers, Hunt lies to his workers, telling them they will receive a partial bonus for reaching a certain quota of cars produced. Hunt later regrets this decision, and the truth is soon discovered. The workers initially strike, but in the end help Hunt and Oishi build the remaining cars to reach the 15,000 unit mark. In the end, the workers are short several cars, but Assan’s president is so impressed with the work ethic of the Japanese and American team that he gives the workers their bonuses.

    This film is primarily about the difficulties businesses sometimes face when they operate internationally and when people of different cultures are forced to work together to achieve a common goal. The workers were initially put off by the fact the Japanese executives placed so many demands on them, but they eventually learned how to adapt to the situation. The message in the film is that international businesses alliances, while complicated and challenging in early stages, result in higher productivity in the long-term because the two cultures that work together learn from each other. One scene towards the end of the film that illustrates how cultures can learn from each other is when an American worker, who was initially resistant when it came to performing certain tasks on the assembly line in the way that the Japanese executives had instructed him, is seen teaching another American worker those methods he had previously rejected. While Gung Ho is a satire, it speaks volumes about the U.S. auto industry and about how different cultures often have very different methods when it comes to completing the same task.

  47. The movie, “Gung Ho,” amused me quite a bit. Although it was humorous, it was informative did have several important lessons to be learned. The most important lesson “Gung Ho” displayed is that if a company wants to be successful you need to understand and familiarize yourself with other cultures. This concept is especially important today as we see more and more companies striving for globalization in attempt to capture a greater market (as illustrated in class by Domino’s Pizza). One of the main differences between the Japanese and Americans brought up a couple of times in the movie related to ingroup collectivism. This was shown when the Americans didn’t take seriously the idea of doing group exercises together in the morning and when Hunt Stevenson is told blatantly “they but themselves above company…it’s true everybody in this country thinks they are special nobody wants to be part of a team,” in reference to America(ns). This problem demonstrated just one of the cultural-clashes, collectivism versus individualism.

  48. This film is about the culture clash that occurs when a Japanese Car company is talked into starting operations in the states by Michael Keatons character. The film shows that, especially at the onset of operations, the two business styles are very dissimilar. The Japanese are used to a culture where the emphasis is placed on the collective betterment, and workers are held directly accountable to the success of the company as a whole. This is shown by the all but impossible standards placed on the workers. The comedy in the film is that the American workers are seen as typical lazy workers that are paid too much, and are careless. This makes the culture shock all the more evident when the Japanese arrive and pay them less to work more. Also, we see the immersion of culture norms into the American workplace, with the exercise that the workers must perform. This is common place in Japan as the workplace is a second home and lives revolve around it, unlike in the states where life is outside of work. This film shows to have a true hollywood ending where everything ends well, yet the major issue still remains that some cultural differences can effect global industries greatly, and in some cases can exclude doing business with others because of these differences. This is most clear in ethics, but certainly this film does help us understand that there is no global agreement on how work is done, or how business is conducted.

  49. GungHo is a movie that shows the importance of understanding and respecting the culture of one another while you are working together. In this movie Hunt Stevenson convinces Assan motors to reopen their plant in the U.S. but the company takes advantage of the unemployed workers. However, Hunt tries to show the workers a bright picture by telling them that they will get a bonus if they would help him meet his goal.But, the workers get to know about it and after revolting they decide to help him with the production of the cars and meet his quota. There are parts in the movie where it is shown how people belonging to different culture can learn from each other and work together to achieve their goals. In the end, the management of Assan motors decides to give the employees a bonus. The movie basically ends on a note that suggests that it is extremely important to be able to work with peers of different culture and achieve our goals even if it involves creating a new/mixed culture.

  50. Culture clash happens when there are two groups from different background. When the world goes flat faster and faster, the culture clash happens and totally changes the point of view from managers who manage big international companies. How to find the problems and how to figure out the answers is quiet important issue for these managers. We can know the problem in this movie and influence the company to run the business. It could increase cost and decrease production in really business world, if the manager just ignores it. Company should try to know a lot of culture from the countries where they interest in, before they really take action to do business in there. It is not proper to spend a lot of money and find out that it is incompatible.

  51. I like the film because it introduces the serious issues in a comedic way. It is somewhat ironic to choose cars as the items administrated by Japanese company. Just think a couple years ago the US still dominates the car market globally. The Americans usually think they know cars more than anyone else in the world. However, Japanese cars gradually take the market share of it because of their strictly requirement of quality and efficiency. Recently the issue is still hot: the pending bailout plan for GM can partly explain the edge of Japanese cars that can not be ignored anymore.

    Culture is really a big issue when running a multinational company. In the movie, we can see the different working culture behind it (maybe a little stereotype). The Japanese value work and the Americans value family; the Japanese company uses punishment to motivate employees while the Americans like to encourage and cheer workers. The Japanese care every detail even in the working environment at the same time the Americans often just set the target and workers will try to achieve it without too much supervision.

    Negotiation is also focused in the movie. The culture collision inevitably brings lots of distrust and intolerance between the two parties. Building trust must be done quickly. I think it is really important for us, as managers to be, to learn the skill and try every way (even in the river!) to negotiate with others (customers, boss, and employees) and never give up even at the last minute.

  52. The movie focuses a lot on the culture differences between Americans and Japanese. It shows the challenges companies may face if doing business globally. In this movie, the management is Japanese and the workers are American. For Japanese, they have a strong sense of power distance while Americans don’t. Also, Americans are care more about personal interest while Japanese think the company as a whole family. I feel even in my country China, people are made to feel as part of the company as a whole. We can see in the movie, the Japanese believe that the workers should eat, drink, and sleep for Assan Motors. Hunt acts as the liason between the American workforce and Japanese management. The management struggles with things that are acceptable in the American workplace, for example, reading a newspaper in the restroom, a father taking time off to be with his child during surgery. Hunt is given the unenviable task to reach a compromise between the Japanese and his American co-workers. Another difference is how quality is viewed and whose responsibility it is to fix. In many Japanese companies defects or problems are examined and fixed at the time it is discovered. Rather as in the movie one put it “it was the dealer’s problem”. Cultures differences are much more than just what we can see from the movie. It should be highly taken into consideration if doing business globally.

  53. Jiaxi(Zeta)Chen

    Cross-cultural business and doing business globally

  54. Jiaxi(Zeta)Chen

    Even this movie was shot in 1980s; Gung Ho still did a good job to display the problems that arise when doing business globally and in a cross-cultural environment.
    The first important culture difference displayed in this movie is efficiency. People all know that Japanese especially Japanese men who support their whole family have extreme high pressure from their jobs. They work very hard and obey to their companies’ commands even though they need to sacrifice themselves. This special Japanese social value is explained specifically in this movie that employees should work for maximum efficiency and have a high loyalty to their companies. Nevertheless, according to the Japanese businessman, he says that he does not understand American workers and how they “come to work 5 minutes late, leave 2 minutes early, stay home when they are sick, and put themselves above the company.” To solve this problem, when the Japanese company reopen new plant in this small town. Hunt makes a deal with Japanese company: if the plant can produce 15,000 cars in one month, thereby making it as productive as any Japanese auto plant, then the workers will all be given raises and jobs will be created for the remaining unemployed workers in the town. However, if only 14,999 cars are completed, the workers will get nothing. At the deadline, they come up six cars short, but Hunt persuade Assan’s president by showing cooperation and dedication between American employees and Japanese employees .And the great teamwork finally impresses the strict CEO that he congratulates to this excellent team. Here , American employees and Japanese company find a common issue: teamwork. And American employees also comprise to do calisthenics as a group to motivate themselves each morning.
    Despite the value difference of work, there is also one scene that shows the culture differences. Japanese business men and their wives were having dinner with Hunt and his wife, and when it was mentioned that “business” was going to be discussed, all the Japanese women left the table, whereas Hunt Stevenson’s wife remained. Because Japanese women will stay at home and not go out to work after they are married, thus their husbands work outside to support the whole family, which makes Japanese men have a very high social status compares to their wives. So talk about certain issues, all the women should leave to show their respect to their husbands and guests. It’s a traditional culture which last a very long time in Japan that can’t be accepted by Americans.
    My point of view is: yes, when two different countries with different cultures have business together, the only thing which make this business successful is to find commons and try their best to understand each other. The more commons they can find, the more successful this business is going to be! Meanwhile, understanding is very important too, when you can’t accept some culture/value difference from the other country, try to understand it not judge/refuse it, which is pretty rude and not good for the collaboration. By the time you understand the difference, probably you can learn the good thing from the other country. In this movie, we should learn the value of efficiency from Japanese companies. When companies from different countries can really understand and learn from each other, we can foresee that more and more successful cross-cultural business will come out.

  55. Gung Ho obviously highlights the importance of understanding and respecting different cultures in a globalized world. However, instead of rewording or rephrasing what everyone has already said, I would like to pose this question — How would you react if you were asked to lead an Assan factory in Japan? Would you try to change standards and procedures even if the Japanese are already so efficient? Would you push to give more vacation days and overtime pay to the Japanese workers? Personally, I believe that most of us wouldn’t because we could cut costs by not paying for vacation days or overtime. Since the Japanese are used to being loyal and working hard anyway, why change something that isn’t broken? One could almost argue that their culture is ideal for businesses. So why not adapt or model American work ethics to how the Japanese do it?

  56. I have never thought about potentially dramatic consequence of cultural conflicts within multicountry before watching this movie. As an international student from Taiwan, I am not surprised while I saw the scene that Japanese women left when men began to discuss the business. Although a globalized company may have healthy finance, well position, and sound strategies, the internal difference of cultures and lifestyles would bring the disadvantages toward international operation. From workers to low-level supervisors to executive officers, because of diverse languages, attitude, or approaches, each level could generate unexpected conflicts which could cause huge cost, or even disaster of companies. To manage the multicountry firms, management could educate their employees or managers to respect and learn the different cultures and to react when they confront the situations.

  57. If I look at this movie from strictly an entertainment perspective, I can’t help but be utterly disappointed that an esteemed director such as Ron Howard put out such a mediocre comedy. However, this may have been 80s humor or humor targeted to an older audience. I really didn’t think it was that funny.

    Although, from a business perspective, I felt the movie interestingly portrayed cultural differences stemming from a plant acquisition. However, I feel that in reality, the Japanese company would have probably approached American workers with a different viewpoint. I highly doubt they would have tried to make them “Japanese.” Though, the movie did accurately portray, at least at the surface level, Japanese working philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of the company, the team and success.

    I don’t really have much more to say. It wasn’t a a particularly good film. It approached the topic in question from a “cutesy” angle and it left me wanting more. Other than that, it reminded me slightly of Roger & Me but somehow this town was magically saved by a Japanese company. But why would a foreign company choose to manufacture its cars in America at that point in time? I know that Hyundai and Toyota have plants here now but I wonder if Detroit would have allowed that to happen in the mid-80s.

  58. “Gung Ho” centers on the entrance of Japanese ownership in an American auto plant in what becomes a sensitive relationship between both cultures. As someone has likely written already, the movie juxtaposes a culture that values the team with one that values the individual, or in other words, a culture that values the success of the firm, and one that values the success of the worker.

    Interestingly, although the movie takes place in the 1980s (most evident through the automobile construction montage – a staple of the eighties, see Rocky IV and Ghostbusters for further proof) it portrays what many would call a consistent problem with the current automobile industry. Given the news of a looming GM bailout, I thought the movie was especially interesting to watch as, in recent years, General Motors has faced increasing trouble meeting the demands of their workers. Perhaps the biggest take away is that sacrifice, in one way or another, is necessary for such business interactions to succeed.

  59. “Gung Ho” is about culture difference.Culture diversification has extensively existed around the world. The discrepancies of culture sometimes incur the culture conflicts which are frequently expected to jeopardize the relationship bonding or human connection. In my opinion, I do acknowledge culture conflicts might lead to negative influences on somewhere. However, I also contemplate that the conflicts also inspire something on the opposite side. As presented in the film, the management team from Japan has a plenty of differences between the US employee in terms of value to accomplishment, family, discipline, and spirits of teamwork.

    Although the management style made halt between both sides, it has went to more smooth after some communication and empathy consideration. What the most important part I have learned from this film is that managing human elements is imperative that largely tailor your organization culture and shape it to be a competitive weapon in real world business. In strategic view, I think a top manager in MENs should has sensitive to culture conflicts in his or her organization and the ability to make a compromise between two opposite points. In the end, well controlling culture diversification will allow it to generate a great inspiration which eventually benefits entire organization as a whole.

  60. Gung Ho is a movie that discribes the impact of cultural difference while doing business together. the Japanese culture I know is that Japanese people are very scrupulous and methodical. I know this not because I worked in a Japanese company but because I’ve seen how they work. It amazed me when I saw that each and every one fallows a standard procedure. I was like what’s wrong with that “thing”. Of course nothing wrong with that thing, they know that but they still need to check it again and again. And I was bored waiting out there. However, because the world is flat now. I think we might need to be prepared because its possible that we will face this situation.

  61. Gung Ho is a great movie that shows the differences between cultures. One example of this is the morning workout that the Japanese managers implement for the American plant. The morning workout was something that worked very well in the Japanese factories, but when it was implemented in the American factory the workers rejected it. The main point of the movie was to show that what is right for one culture is not necessarily right for another. I think that when Michael Keaton was left to run the plant the way that he wanted everything was much smoother. The workers were more motivated and worked well together. It is a very motivational picture.

  62. I think it is a very funny movie and it is also related to the real life a lot. As the world becomes global, the multinational business is booming. A parent company may have many subsidiaries in different countries. According to the different situation, such as the policy of the host government, import and export tariffs, labor cost and so on, each subsidiary would perform vary. Some will become a profit sanctuary to cover some weak subsidiary. However, when open business in foreign country instead of at home, the culture will be a big issue. In the movie, the relationship with the company and the employees, as well as work ethic, varies drastically from the Japanese managers and American auto workers. Leadership styles of the management and Michael Keaton’s character are diverse too. Even in the same culture background, people also have difference to do with their working style, let alone from different countries. Therefore, I think in the business world people always need be changing and adapting to be successful. People should be open mind, and create the most effective way to make the business run best.

  63. Jun (Kurt) Guo

    This movie mainly focuses on the culture difference. When two parties from different countries have to work together, the biggest risk would be the understanding. It not only refers to the language barriers but also the culture difference. Like what happened in the movie, when American workers have to work under the Japanese management, a lot of misunderstanding and mistakes come out. The workers were initially put off by the fact the Japanese executives placed so many demands on them. However, when people have different background have to work together and to achieve a common goal, they are forced to adapt to the situation. The difficulties in running cross-culture business sometimes are overwhelmed benefits from it. There are many such issues happened in the real world. People have to shut down the factory or the company if the compromise can not work out. Although the movie only tells how big difference in American culture and Japanese culture, it implies to the existing culture problem in the entire business world.

  64. Rachael Schwartz

    It is always entertaining to watch an attempt to bridge the gap between different cultures. This humor makes it easy to watch Gung Ho. Just as everyone else said the differences between cultures can be difficult for business managers to get used to. Everything from a slogan or name, such as the mistake with the Chevy Nova in Mexico that translated to “no go”, to differences in daily activities, such as the Japanese daily exercises. When traveling to different places it is easy to see the differences in cultures, but with business it can be very costly not to take these things into consideration. Productivity of Americans vs Japanese workers is extremely interesting to consider. It is not hard to see why companies outsource when productivity in Japan is so much greater than the US. This movie is a simple way to look at cultural differences and their impact on the business world.

  65. I’ll use an amusing line from the movie to frame my comments. “Afterwards we have a few beers and piss for distance.”-Hunt, Hunt’s
    Japanese manager responded, “For us, it’s accuracy.”

    Though this quote concerns a trivial topic, it illustrates cultural difference in approach to many different tasks, goals, etc. The American factory obviously had it’s standard way of building cars, though it obviously failed since the plant closed. The Japanese company that acquired the plant clearly had their set way of doing the work. They probably felt entitled to utilize their methods, as the American plant failed and the Japanese auto industry was doing better.

    Regardless of the justification for the Japanese to run the plant their way, their “better” methods had no time to be properly integrated into a different culture. The lesson I would take is that unless the cross cultural company understands who they are and who they are dealing with, it cannot expect to successfully mesh work styles. Whether the goal is synergy or cost reduction, cross cultural understanding is crucial.

  66. “Gung Ho” is a film which deals with globalization and doing business cross-culturally. In the movie an American plant in small town Pennsylvania has gone out of business and the town’s residents are desperate for it to reopen. In an attempt to revive the plant Hunt travels to Tokyo, Japan in order to pitch the idea to Assan Motors, a Japanese car-making corporation. Assan Motors decides to buy the plant and hires Japanese management as well as many of the town residents. Due to a large culture clash, calamities ensue to the point that the manufacturing plant becomes an unproductive joke. In the end the Americans and Japanese learn to work together, although it is at the expense of quality of the cars, and the plant remains open.

    This movie is a humorous example of doing business cross-culturally, but truly does provide much insight into the subject. In Japan people simply do business differently than people in America. When outsourcing, it is necessary to understand the culture of the outsourced location, and use this culture to benefit the company. It is unreasonable to expect people and companies to work exactly the same in countries across the globe. If Assan Motors had studied and understood the American culture, their Pennsylvania plant would have done much better and hopefully utilized a higher degree of quality control (hopefully).

  67. Gung Ho is a nice movie. It kind of suits the topic of doing business globally with Cross cultural differences.
    As discussed in the class of how different countries have different cultures this movie kind of was a more indepth to that discussion.
    I agree with Shuchun Yu that managing human elements is imperative that largely tailor your organization culture and shape it to be a competitive weapon in real world business.
    Personally I am in International student here in the USA and can experience the difference in the cultures. So for a company that is global in nature has to be very careful in adopting the other country’s culture.

  68. Gung Ho shows the various challenges and limitations companies must overcome in regards to cross-culture business relationships. In today’s globalized “flat” world, it seems so simple to just outsource all the areas of your value chain to whoever can do it cheapest, fastest, and more efficient. However, as the movie shows, there are various other issues that companies must be aware of and also plan for.

    The movie Gung Ho exaggerates (I hope) the characters of the American and Japanese top management team at Assan Motors. Hunt, the liaison between the American manufacturing workers and the Japanese management, is shown as a “tell them whatever they want to hear and we’ll figure it out later” American Manager. This is shown through the fact that Hunt lies to both his boss and all of the manufacturing workers about a possible raise even if they do not hit the 15,000 car mark this month, when he knew it was an all or nothing deal. Then, the Japanese Management is portrayed as entirely results and efficient oriented, with no care for their employee’s health or well-being. This is shown all throughout the movie but especially when one of the workers hurts himself on one of the machines and one of the Japanese Managers gets on the loud speaker to tell everyone else to get back to work.

    The aspect that was most disheartening during the movie was the lack of gratefulness the American workers showed to the Japanese management. At the beginning, they didn’t show any interest in adapting to or compromising with the cultural norms of the Japanese, even though they would all be unemployed if they didn’t come in to help. The American’s did not want to change. Also, they settled very easily. When Hunt told them they could get a partial raise for 13,000 cars, they set that as their top goal instead of the 15,000 car target. Whereas, the Japanese work ethic and culture focuses on results, efficiency, and a zero-defect policy. They also have a management training program for bad managers, where it seems like here in the United States if CEO’s are not doing well, they are given a big compensation package and asked to leave. Obviously with these two differing cultural backgrounds and norms, there were bound to be personality and pride issues. The end of the movie, although cliché, showed that if you want to proceed with cross-cultural business relationships, you have to compromise, have patience, and truly attempt to understand the various cultures and ways of doing business. This is the world we live in, the flat world, and we need to get out of our comfort zone in order to seize the various business opportunities out there.

  69. Kuo-Shen Huang

    It is an interesting and funny movie since we can know the difference in many aspects when one company wants to expand its market to the globalization. Culture may be one of an important issue in this movie. What it is feasible in Japan doesn’t mean that it will be feasible in other countries. From the movie, we know that Japanese workers will be less likely to challenge their boss than American workers. That means that when any company wants to expand its entrepreneur to the worldwide, they must adjust their operating strategy and even recognize the local culture and structure so that it will be easier for them to convince those local workers.

  70. Chris Bellinzoni

    I found the follies of the Americans and Japanese in this movie to be both entertaining and illuminating. The most obviously enlightening part of the movie was the hard stance that both groups of people initially took towards the protection and utilization of their own methods. From this I saw the great importance of open minded top managers. Although in the end the two cultures found a way to merge productively (i.e. morning exercises set to music), had the Japanese managers been more mindful of the crafting of their messages to the American workers they may have been able to skip over the periods of strife. Clearly, simply trying to implement new practices with the rational that ‘this is how we do it’ is not easily digested by a workforce. Instead, gaining an understanding of current practices and giving reasons for changes would have resulted in much better reception on the part of the American workers.

  71. Daniel Pokidaylo

    Gung Ho, as described by pretty much everyone thus far, shows the humor in outsourcing and globalization. Becoming an expatriate for a company is a difficult task to take on, and the film portrayed exactly that. Watching Hunt trying to make the Japanese workers understand his work ethic was just plain funny. Americans and Japanese cultures and work ethic were completely different, and it took a long time for them to come together. This movie was made in 1986, and I believe that since then, there has been much more effort on foreign countries to understand each others cultures. In todays world, many global companies now send people to work abroad for a year or two, and after their abroad contract ends, they try to make the people stay longer because it is easier for them to stay abroad rather than sending someone new (who doesn’t know the culture).

  72. “Gung Ho” shows that most Japanese regard their jobs as the most important thing in the life. For them, their values depend on the success of their works. Working overtime is a common thing for them. However, American place importance on individualism and liberalism, and value the family beyond all things. On the contrary, jobs are far less important for them.
    This movie is a good example showing that when a company is inclined to expand outside its domestic market by strategic alliance, joint ventures, merging, or acquisition, the first issue that it may have to cope with is the culture things. Different businesses have distinct business culture; therefore how to make the combination of two companies a positive effect is an essential issue for the top managers.
    At the end of the film, Japanese and American learned good aspects of the culture from each other, made some adjustments, and smoothed away the cultural conflicts.

  73. Matthew Passero

    I really enjoyed this movie from the beginning to end mainly because of the humor. However, aside from the funny aspects of this movie, there was also a very true message to gain here about cultural differences in global businesses. It is clear that when working with other countries, in this case the Americans and the Japanese, that one key success factor is to understand and cater to that countries specific culture and values. Without truly getting inside the minds of the people of the region you’re working in and appealing to those beliefs/values it is almost certain that your business will fail. I certainly think we’ve come quite a long way since times like this, whereas people are a lot more knowledgeable and careful when dealing with cross-cultural issues in business.

  74. Lauren Spielberg

    The movie Gung Ho illustrates the main problem with doing business globally. Certain cultures, more specifically American and Japanese cultures are very different and hard to combine in order to create value in the business. Assan Motor Company took over an American car factory, using its Japanese management but American workers. The Japanese management was very strict, demanding, inflexible, and didn’t like to change. This clashed with the American culture where management is willing to work with and talk to their employees. The Japanese focused on always working and nothing else in life whereas Americans try to balance their work and personal lives, usually putting family first. Although there were many differences in culture, the Japanese and Americans after some time, were both willing to adapt to each other in order to better company and town. Maybe if Assan Motors had used a combination of both Japanese and American people in management, the integration of the company and factory have been quicker and smoother.

  75. Gung Ho is a good comedy that sends a very important message is viewed by managerial audience: one has to be very savvy and knowledgeable when dealing with multicultural group. The movie makes fun of some of the typical Japanese habits because they might seem amusingly strange to Americans. However, I believe that Japanese would be as much surprised by their counterparts’ behavior, allowing themselves being late or not blindly obeying their bosses. Brief, no manager has to be judgmental of other people’s habits and needs to understand first who he/she is dealing with, and then do the best to establish and run clear vertical and lateral communication channels.

  76. Venkata S Mudunuru

    I agree with the view of most of my classmates above, that, this movie truly reflects the differences in the cultures and lifestyles element that arise when a firm starts competing in an international market. This movie highlights the effects of such differences both externally from the customers view point and also internally from the view point of employees of the firm. The local employees working for an international firm are always bound to dilemmas as to stay sticked to thier culture and ways of doing things or should adopt the procedure and culture of the firm according to their criterion. Hence it is the responsibility of the management to ensure a proper blend of both without impairing the basic principles and adjusting them to the needs of the local market and people i.e. should ensure Multi-country and Global strategy proportionately as suitable. The best example would be the one taught to us in the class about Dominos Pizza which inspite of maintaining an overall global standards has matched some of its products and working practices to the respective local places.

    The same thing happened in the movie. The town’s view of the Japanese motor firm ‘Assan’ and their business pratices is slightly skewed. On the other hand is the strict view of the executives from Japan that were brought in to work for the company. Hence it lacked a third point of view that thinks an integration is necessary for the success of all involved which was held by Hunt and was strived to acheive for, in the movie as it would be beneficial to both the parties.

  77. Wen-Ting (Doris) Wei

    This movie represents the culture differences in workplace. As I know, the way American do things is more free style than Japanese or Taiwanese do. People in the U.S. are more comfortable with expressing what they think and how they feel; however many Asian people may hide what they think if they know other people don’t expect so. Moreover, Asian people may take things more seriously and don’t feel easy in front of supervisors. In this movie, we saw a big impact of two different work styles from two countries. It’s hard for people to change their own culture and the way they think even though it’s easy for companies to alter rules or disciplines. Same concept about the culture conflict – of my personal experience, I used to work for Deloitte when it merged with Arthur Anderson. I had experienced the difficult time when the new Deloitte faced the marriage and the biggest issue for people from old entities was to make adaptation to a new company culture even though the two original entities were in the same industry.

  78. I found the many cultural references and American / Japanese stereotypes portrayed in this film to be really quite amusing overall. I fully realize that these depictions purposefully went overboard in consideration of making an enjoyable movie experience for the intended audience, but I do also feel as though the movie revealed a number of items that are relevant for modern business managers. The movie clearly highlighted the importance of having an international perspective and knowledge of various global business practices. The changes that Mr. Stevenson went through during the movie as pertaining to his approach to business were interesting to watch as an outside observer. While I found the lazy depiction of American workers to be somewhat funny, I do think that the employees should have made a stronger effort to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the Assan Motor Company. While I found many of the Japanese work practices shown in the movie to be unnecessarily rigid, I can admire the strong work ethic portrayed by the Japanese expatriate managers.

  79. Chin-Hsiang Lin

    In this movie, we can see that business will be affected by different cultures. It shows that the different attitudes for job between American and Japanese. How to deal with the conflicts at the workplace, especially for the manager and employees who come from different countries? It seems that negotiation is also focused in the movie. A good management should include negotiation as consideration because it is the way to build trust in the company. In addition, this movie also told us that responsibility is very important thing in the group. As a MBA student, we all know cooperation is the essential element of team work and good cooperation must be built on trust and how strong responsibility you have.

  80. Michael Warren

    Gung Ho is a good movie that shows the cultural differences between countries, in this case America and Japan. The movie is about a Japanese takeover of a failed American auto factory. Hunt was given the job of easing the transition of the workers from American customs and traditions to Japanese traditions and standards. Throughout the movie you can see that the Americans become more acceptable to the Japanese customs. Through hard work and motivation the workers get their bonuses because of the impressive work ethic they have developed. In the real world, one must be acceptable and adaptable to other cultures and their traditions in order to be successful.

  81. Tzu-Chuan Chiu (Anson)

    The movie Gung Ho pointed out two main issues. First, the automobile industry in the US has been facing the challenging from Japanese auto-makers. Second, the cultural shock is always the main consideration for any company trying to expand its territory to foreign countries. The contents of the insightful movie happens to be consistent with the condition of US auto industry nowadays. When Paulson determined not to bailout the auto industry, the president of auto union still thinks that today’s financial distress is none of the management’s mistake. and says they are not going to yield for any compromise, which I think the president of union is somehow naive and misunderstand the condition they are facing. Furthermore, if any of the Japanese companies such as TOYOTA or NISSAN trying to take over the US automobile companies, I think Gung Ho is a must-see movie for their management.

  82. For a movie made in 1986, the year that saw the fall of the Berlin wall and the start of the opening of boarders and the trend of globalization, the messages of this movie prove very relevant even today. As the Japanese attempt a takeover of an American auto factory, the difficulty in merging company cultures which is seen often nowadays, becomes a large feat. While to many American workers, some of the Japanese customs in the movie seem strange and hard to adapt to, this trend is prevalent in American business trying to do business abroad. In any merger of companies the hardest part of the transition is the combination of different cultures, and in many cases cause its failure. In today’s global business climate, it is invaluable for employees to actively set out to learn other cultures to provide the asset of understanding when doing business with other cultures.

  83. The director of this movie must have hated Americans. Pitting the stereotype of the laziest, most crude culture against one of the most notoriously hard-working, dedicated, hari-kari performing cultures sprinkled gratuitously with idiomatic phrases inane to any non-native English speaker is certainly going to prove a good film at ridiculing American inability and unwillingness to comprehend other cultures, even if that culture is responsible for our pay checks.

    Americans are portrayed as crude, uneducated morons, while the Japanese eventually turn from dedicated workers into blatant sexists with no time for their families because they’re too busy working on Assan Motors [read: Nissan Motors]. “They stay home when they are sick. They put themselves above company,” quotes one Japanese executive. The cultural divide boils down to individualism versus collectivism.

    Ironically, the only means by which this is attempted to be rectified is through one man’s [individualistic] self-interest: Michael Keaton’s character, Stevenson, fears losing his job, and it is only out of this fear that he takes it upon himself to motivate his fellow workers, thereby narrowing the divide.

    The movie does do a decent job of depicting the difficulties a manager may face in engaging in international business, though its practicality may be lost since the American automobile industry is dead (let’s recount the unintentional disembowelment of the Assan Sport toward the end of the movie). I found the Domino’s and Coca-Cola videos more practical and [enlightening]. Yet still, surprise, surprise! After some montages and uncaptioned conversations in Japanese, the cultural divide is broken! But a lot of good crossing that divide did: I bet that factory is closed now anyway.

    I’d like to think Americans, and the rest of the world, have moved closer toward understanding one another since 1986 (barring some setbacks from the recent Bush administration).

  84. Gung Ho brings out the culture differences and shocks happening in the global business. As the differences of culture values in profession in US and Japan, this brings a series of fights between American workers and Japanese management. At the very beginning, what two different groups of people see are the drawbacks of each other. Neither of them can agree or accept or value the goodness of each other. The adaptation of both group make themselves see the values of each other and cherish the goodness of them eventually.

    How to effectively manage a global business is with a lot of efforts. Aside from the language barrier, the culture difference and shocks also control the morale in a business. How to fit in the local culture and still sustain effective management is difficult. However, whoever is open minded to accept the local culture and respect the values of others can help establish the harmonic circumstances.

  85. The movie revolves around the competition of the Japanese and the American auto manufacturers. A Japanese company purchases an American auto plant and retools it to manufacture cars. Michael Keaton is the bridge between the American workers and the Japanese managers and is applauded for saving the town from the loss of jobs. The management is determined to produce cars in the same way as in its plants in Japan. To increase efficiency the management decides to increase the pay if a certain quota is fulfilled. Since Michael feels the quota to be too large he lies to his fellow workers so that they do not get discouraged. However the management comes to know about this and later forces Michael to tell the truth to his fellow workers. Everyone except Michael goes on a strike. Michael decides to try to complete the quota by himself. Others join him when they see the hard work put by him. When the deadline comes and the manager comes to check the cars he realizes that the cars are not ready but the workers still get the raise they were promised.
    This movie showcases the difference in corporate culture amongst the Japanese and the Americans and highlights the differences between them. Looking at this you can see why the American car companies are in such a big mess as they lack the discipline, company fitness routines, and putting work before family of the Japanese.

  86. Anthony Olenik

    Businesses operating across national borders have to deal with many economic hurdles and can often neglect the aspect of cultural differences that must be bridged for success. The factory in Gung Ho that went out of business and was reopened with Japanese management and American workers provided a new situation for the management and general employees. After many difficult interactions, cultural differences were sufficiently resolved to keep the factory operating.
    With many companies across the world going through tough economic times, acquisitions and mergers are becoming very common. One can wonder, especially with the red numbers General Motors and Ford are faced with, what if one of these companies is faced with two options: go bankrupt or sell out to a Japanese company like Toyota? Not only would the economics for the car industry drastically change, cross cultural differences between possible foreign Japanese mangers and existing American workers would likely create a cultural clash that would be difficult to get over, to say the least. If the big American automakers are faced with bankruptcy and not bailed by government, it will be interesting to see if this option presents itself.

  87. Gung Ho! Boy was it unpredictable to see how cultures clashed in this film. I am scared to see that any ‘business executive’ can simply jump into a company in a foreign country and assume that the cultures will match up beautifully. Who would conceivably be foolish enough to not give any instruction, nor discussion of principles. We saw this effectively during exercise in the morning, and in the assumption that employees will work weekends and nights for no pay. I don’t blame the American employees for not working hard enough, but the ”established executives” who didn’t know better. I’m also more than a bit ashamed that Hunt Stevenson’s ‘pitch’ actually worked. All I’m saying is that I’ve seen better pitches before…on daytime TV. Finally I’d like to point out that this film would have been better if the business had gone under: this would have realistically pointed out that culture can make or break a company…none of us needed to see a heartwarming story about the Japanese and the Americans working side by side to complete an impossible task…YAY!

  88. Shih-Ching Wang

    Every corporation has its culture whether it is distinct or not. To build a corporate culture takes a long time, so it is hard to change, even though the firm enters into another totally different circumstance. It is more complicate if the firm enters into foreign countries, since it would face different corporate and country cultures. As the world becomes flatter, more companies focus on global market. Thus, how to avoid or reduce the cultural conflicts is a significant issue. Employees have to collect fundamental concepts of the corporation where they attempt to work. For example, in Taiwan, employees cannot go home at the end of the day if their supervisors or managers still work in the office; even they have already completed all their jobs. I believe it doesn’t happen in the United States.
    On the other hand, managers also have to understand the difference from two companies or countries, and then modify the original corporate culture to fit the new working environment. It needn’t follow the local culture completely, but should respect it. In addition, local labors may resist the new culture or regulations if managers force them to obey. Therefore, managers should communicate with employees well, and find the way that both parties can accept and execute. And this is what this movie “Gung Ho” told us.

  89. Ariana Axelrod

    The movie “Gung Ho” examines the cultural differences that can occur when two completely different countries are working together towards a common goal. They do not appreciate the advantages of working with each other, and instead their customs clash and it is counterproductive.

    In the movie, when the Japanese purchase an American car plant, these cultural differences are witnessed immediately. Firstly, the exercise routine that the Japanese executives are used to performing in the morning are found to be foreign and undesirable to the American workers. Such a custom is obviously unheard of in America. Also, the Japanese assume that the American workers, like the Japanese, are completely dedicated to the company and will work their hardest to meet any goal. This is seen by the high quota set by management thinking that it will increase the efficiency of the plant. However, if you set a goal that is virtually impossible, efficiency will definitely not be increased.

    I think this movie effectively illustrates how Japanese car companies seem to be much more successful and efficient than their American counterparts. The Japanese customs and their way of putting work before everything else causes the quality and desirability of their products to clearly succeed that of the Americans. Overall, the movie does a great job at showcasing the problems cultural differences can cause in the business world.

  90. Gung Ho is a movie that investigates the impact of doing business in a cross-cultural setting. The movie shows how cultural differences can be overlooked. Differences are shown when a Japanese company purchases an American auto factory. The Japanese company did not take into account the stiff opposition they would receive when they expected workers to exercise in the morning and work overtime. Over time the cultural differences were overcome and the plant was able to be productive. The movie shown in class about Coke moving into the Japanese market provides another good example of a company who was able to thrive in a cross-cultural setting. By adapting to local customs Coke was able to find a large market share in Japan. When moving into a foreign country, companies should conduct sufficient research to be able to transform some of their practices to conform with the local economy.

  91. Michael Buxbaum

    “Gung Ho” is a humorous film that depicts what happens when you mix two cultures with vastly different values and histories, in this case the intermingling of Japanese and American cultures. The main issue here is that in order to integrate two incredibly different corporate identities and philosophies effectively, you need a real plan of action with a great deal of honest exchange the between the two management structures. Overall, the situation is not realistic and extremely unlikely to occur, but in this idealized vision of corporate integration presents what seems to be a very conservative Japanese corporation making an extremely risky acquisition of a floundering American company. One example of this is when the exercise routine the Japanese are used to performing each morning is laughed at by the Americans, however, in today’s society this would definitely be very beneficial and perhaps even encouraged as a way to reduce rising insurance premiums. In addition, this situation definitely does not apply completely to today because there have been tremendous advances in business in the efforts to allow global integration and cross cultural assimilation.

  92. Philip St. Clair

    Unfortunately I was only able to view Gung-Ho until this weekend. Still, I am glad that I did. This is because it is an excellent portrayal of some of the real issues that we as students face every day. These issues, of course, being cultural and diversity issues. It is easy to see why Michael Keaton wanted to sell the facility and also why he wanted to sell to a Japanese company. Because of this, many difficulties occurred. The two parties simply did not see eye-to-eye and this was mostly because of the cultural issues between them. Naturally, the movie ended happily with both parties working to a mutually beneficial deal. In the real world however, with two parties that experienced this much friction, a deal most likely would not have surfaced.

    To expand on the aspect of the relationship between the film and our student projects and teams, the difficulties are very similar. Everything that business is, revolves around trust. It just so happens that it culurlly diverse situations, trust is much harder to build. For us, this means we must either place an emphasis on trust in the beginning, or simply let down all of our walls and leap into trust blindly. For automakers (in 1986) the options are much in the same. The industry was moving so fast that parties did not have time to waste. All in all, the movie was well down and one I would not have watched unless pushed to do so.

    I also liked the fact that a 22 year old movie was ahead of the curve in predicting the dominance of the Japanese automakers. Crazy stuff!!!

  93. Jeff Wolniewicz

    Gung Ho was an entertaining film and did a good job of showcasing the difficulties that come with cultural diversity and doing business across borders. In the film a Japanese company attempts to purchase a struggling American car factory. The Japanese soon face opposition from the American workers because the Japanese bring with them business practices that are unheard of in the United States. The first example of this would be the morning workout, a common thing for the Japanese but completely foreign to the Americans. The Japanese faced stiff opposition to the morning workout. A second example was also the different levels of committment to the company between Japanese and American cultures. Japanese workers dedicate everything to the company, put in long hours, and work overtime without hesitation. American workers are not nearly as committed to the company and it caused tension with management. In the end, the problems were resolved and the sides overcame their cultural differences.

    The movie had a personal connection to everybody in our MBA class. Everyone in our class has to deal with diversity in our groups. Our class has students from all over the world with different customs, religions, and languages. We have to work together in order to successfully complete our simulation and presentations. Beyond our own class, we all will likely have to deal with foreign companies later in our careers. Globalization is an undeniable force that will touch all of us. We must learn to accept and work with people from every culture in order to be successful in our futures.

  94. Jennifer Gilligan

    Gung Ho does a good job of showing the difficulties of doing business globally. When the Japanese come to manage an American car factory they encounter many differences in the way they do business. Obviously being from different parts of the world they have different cultural beliefs and even different work ethics.

    In the movie the Japanese are portrayed as the better more efficient workers, while the American workers are portrayed as lazy, slow, disorganized workers. The Japanese workers are very production driven and do not seem to show any compassion for their fellow workers. Even when a line worker is injured at work, they expect all to continue as though nothing has happened.

    With managers from two very different backgrounds the company becomes divided between the American line workers and the Japanese Management. This movie displays a good example of what we may face in the workplace, and what many of us may experience now in school. Binghamton University is mix of students from many different parts of the world. In our groups we must manage to work together as a team to perform our best. Even though we may have different beliefs and thoughts, we need to compromise and try to decide what is best for our team. Sometimes the blend of all these different ideas helps to generate new better ideas.

  95. Hey Hollywood, I think we need another average Joe American meets [insert person from anther culture here]. This type of movie starts out with the two characters meeting, and immediately getting into disagreements about everything. As the movie progresses they realize that they have differences, and they each learn about the other person’s culture. Everyone is a better person in the end. Movies that follow this include Gun Ho, Blackrain, Rush Hour 1, 2, and 3, The Last Samurai, and Dances with Wolves etc etc etc.

    I found that this movie gave a low blow to the American Autoworker, showing that Americans are inferior to other cultures. I do not believe for a second that Americans are inferior to any other culture and in fact, I believe that when challenged by another country/culture Americans will always come out on top. The problem with the auto industry is that Government and The Big Three’s management. The Government is part of the problem for creating closed shop states (read: Michigan) and preventing other auto companies from starting (see the movie Tucker). In fact, Japanese car companies were successful in the United States due to help from the Japanese Government and setting up factories in right-to-work states. Management in the big three on the other hand always fall back to the Government to help them out with their problems. Either by blocking the number of imported cars into the United States or blocking other American car companies from starting up.

  96. In Gung Ho, small-town America is forced to experience globalization first hand as they become economically dependant on the Japanese Assan Motors to save their town. In this particular case, the workers attitude is grossly arrogant and ungrateful towards the Japanese, who have come and saved the town’s people from complete unemployment. They would like to live their undisciplined lives working less and making more, but global competition requires otherwise and they fail to come to this realization even at the end of the movie. While the portrayed Japanese view of workers and unquestionable loyalty to their companies is hardly acceptable, the portrayed American view of working how and when you want and making what you want is far from reality. In the end, the two camps predictably reach a compromise through their opposing views of work ethic. In a truly globalized economy, this compromise of opposing views is not the optimal recipe for survival – instead there must be one global understanding of work ethic that is adopted by all. In Gung Ho, we see the extreme and unsustainable aspects of both sides’ views shed away in order to create a bi-cultural production line. The goal of every global business should be to incorporate even more cultures into their operations so as to create the necessary conflicts that rid them of any remaining extremities and create a universal consensus about work ethic – as opposed to incorporating only two cultural views.

  97. “Gung Ho” overall is a good movie; it well presents the cultural differences between the United States and Japan even in a little exaggerated way. The movie shows Japanese as slave-driving evil people who intent to let their employee work to death. They appear as domineering and unruly people, while the Americans look like favorable in the union group, unwilling to work hard, and unable to achieve goals. Even though the movie seems to be a little exaggerated, it did a good job showing how people from different cultural backgrounds work together and adopt each other’s business practices. Basically, the Japanese employers expect their workers to work overtime, nights and weekends when required. And Japanese workers consider the whole company as a big team, while Americans consider team as a group of people whom you work together. The movie has a happy ending and brings up a good point: in the business world you always have to change and adapt to be successful.

  98. Today a large number of trading companies are conducting business throughout the world. Some companies make profits from the trade; some companies become failures in the business. There are many reasons relating to success or failure. However, the employees’ understanding of different cultures is the most important aspect when companies start businesses in foreign countries.
    In the movie “Gung Ho”, it’s sort of story about young, fast-talking Hunt Stevenson, whom send off to Tokyo to persuade Assan Motors to take over an auto assembly plant recently abandoned by an American company. It’s also about what happens after Assan comes to Hadleyville, and about the difference between Japanese and American attitudes toward labor.
    From the movie, I can see that Japanese business is structured around norms for acceptable group behavior. People who do not follow by these customs are seen as outsiders who do not have legitimate status. Just as the movie, one of the first rules that Hunt Stevenson broke in Japanese business etiquette is showing up late at his meeting in Japan without a business card or a proper introduction, which shows us that adapting to the Japanese business etiquette when doing business in Japan is the primary importance to success. In Japan, accountability is to the group, not the individual. These etiquettes produce harmony, which is valued very highly in Japan.
    In a word, this movie is more than a social comedy.

  99. The movie Gung Ho is a great eye opener to the many different business practices in Japan relative to US. The movie starts of with executives being disciplined for failures, which involves the workers being screamed at and being beaten. The Japanese came over on the premise that they can easily carry over their efficient manufacturing skills to the US. However, they did not anticipate the resistance and challenges regarding the strong cultural differences between the workforces. Perhaps better research prior to the factory opening would help the expatriates assimilate easier in to the American lifestyle. One major conflict bought up is the distinction between a work life and an outside life. A Japanese worker’s life revolves around the team and its company whereas Americans are portrayed to be more individualistic and less loyal to the company they worked for. The United States is viewed as a prideful and a bit arrogant country that is becoming the sleeping giant as other nations are growing. I can see why it would be difficult for workers to be reluctant and learn new practices that are so different from what they have been used to doing for years. However, as the globalism expands, companies should try to set aside cultural differences and their pride to learn skills that are producing success. It definitely sounds easier said than done though, but in order to be competitive in a global market, drastic steps should be taken.

  100. Alexandra Roseman

    This movie focused on globalization and the challenges it can create within an organization. Although the movie was made in the late 1980’s many of the dilemmas it confronts are still relevant. The movie focused on the differences between the Japanese and American work force and how it affected the daily work of a Japanese managed, American automobile plant. It seemed as though the Japanese management was unable to blend the different cultures that existed in their factory to create a functional organizational community. The Japanese and American workers were treated differently. American workers found humor in the Japanese morning calisthenics and the chopsticks they ate their lunch with. Ethnicity was a huge divider to the organization. While some parts of the movie seemed unrealistic, on the whole the film was a joy to watch.

  101. Miriam Zafrani

    I think the film Gung Ho is the epitome of the problems that occur when there are mergers among companies from different countries. It is easy for a corporation to take over another however the hard part is sustaining the company from another country. I think it is ironic that the workers that are being mistreated and paid low wages are the American workers. Normally it’s the workers from foreign countries being taken advantage of.
    It is clear in the film that the transition from American customs to Japanese customs is not an easy transition. The differences should have been accounted for before the Japanese executive Oishi Kazihiro took over the American auto plant. The film also demonstrates the individualism of the culture of America. The Japanese work ethics are vastly different from Americans in the sense that they work together at everything. Although after a while the workers were willing to adapt to each other in wasn’t enough to sustain the company. I think this movie sends out a good message about globalization and what should be done for companies to have a successful integration.

  102. Anthony Brovchenko

    Gung Ho is a film that details the differences in between American and Japanese automakers in a humorous fashion. Hunt Stevenson manages an automotive plant in Pennsylvania that provides jobs for the majority of the town. Since the plant has been closed for a few months Hunt decides to convince a Japanese auto company to take the plant over. His plan works and the Assan Motors Corporation send over Oishi Kazihiro to be the manager of the new plant.
    Kazihiro, unfortunately, is not a strong manager and asks Hunt to help him by dealing with both the American workers and Japanese management. This is where we begin to see the cultural differences between American and Japanese work ethics. The American workers complain about the new standards they are held to. Rather than each worker doing a seperate job, they are forced to rotate and learn how to every job. The workers are also expected to produce very high quality work. When a goal of 13,000 automobiles to be produced in one month is set the American workers toil away only to discover than they really need to make 15,000 to get raises. When the workers go on strike, Hunt speaks to them about how American workers have lost the work ethic and motivation that makes Japanese auto plants so successful.
    In the end, it is clear that Japanese and American management and strategy is vastly different. The Japanese set very detailed goals and expect measureable results from their employees whereas American workers are permitted unions, are paid high salaries, and are not normally held to as high a standard of production and quality as the Japanese. This has been an ongoing issue for American car companies for many years as Japanese auto makers continue to take away market share. Even with alliances with Japanese auto makers, Americans have a hard time shaking the image that their cars are of lower quality. This is especially relevant today when American auto companies are asking for bailouts from the government. Had they made attempts to improve their auto-making processes earlier, these problems may not have been happening.

  103. Daniel Garroway

    Gung Ho portrays a multitude of problems that can occur when completing an international merger. The film details the problems that Americans have when they, themselves as workers are being mistreated and being paid lower wages. This is quite ironic considering a lot of American companies perform such actions when entering into foreign countries. It is this irony that really allows for a different look at this sort of situation. The film also shows how Japanese management and its inability to adhere to local standards of a foreign country led to action being taken by the local government.
    I took away from this film the notion that it has been proven time and time again that a company will not be successful internationally if its management is unable to adjust to the culutre in which it is doing business.

  104. abusinessprofessor

    There is a gradual increase in foreign companies setting up operations in the US. Of course, as Gung Ho shows quite effectively, cultural issues between foreign and local employees are likely to create interesting situations in such factories. The NYT of October 26, 2003 had a story about a Chinese company Haier which set up a manufacturing plant in South Carolina (in the small town of Camden). The town welcomed the factory as it provided “200 much-needed jobs as several American manufacturers have shrunk or clsoed plants in the area”.

    The NYT article reports that “cultural clashes are few because almost every employee at the factory is American”. A few paragraphs later, the article mentions that the only employee from the Chinese HQ who has remained in Camden is the factory’s CFO. And why has he remained? Because, according to him, “finance is the most critical link…and the top bosees want to make sure that it is done right”! At another point in the article, it talks about the Haier policy of turning “each worker into an independent business unit, rewarded for inventing ways to save the company money and punished for wasting its resources”.

    The article is pretty interesting, especially for business students learning how to navigate the globalizing world. And, it is also useful for business executives from other companies interested in setting up shop in the US.

  105. Gung Ho is a great film about international business and it illustrates the contrast between the culture and work ethic of Japan and that of the US. In it, a failing auto plant in Pennsylvania is given a second chance when a large Japanese auto company agrees to reopen it, however while doing so, they instill their work ethics into the company and its American people. This creates problems as cultures clash and differences in worker mentality affect production. Throughout the film, we see several noticeable differences in the way the Japanese do their business. Because of their formal culture, they are portrayed as uptight and having no sense of humor, as was evidenced in the boardroom scene in Tokyo. The Japanese also value their work, so much that oftentimes they put their jobs over their families, as with the case of Ito, who missed out on his wife giving birth to stay at work. They also believe wholeheartedly in the concept of teamwork, something the Americans are not accustomed to, as they are portrayed as selfish, and as Hunt Stevenson so adequately put it, “Americans really like to feel special.” The Japanese believe this is a problem because American workers put themselves above the work, and do not do the work for the company but for the money. In the end, both sides learn to compromise—the Japanese loosen up and the American workers learn to appreciate the company and work as a team. Compromise is the key to doing business with other countries. There will always be differences in culture but if both sides learn to incorporate a little of each others’ work ethic into the company, both sides can advance and succeed in the global market.

  106. Adam Stettner

    Gung Ho was a very funny movie and had great commentary about cultural differences. Coming from the American perspective I could never go along with the Japanese customs that the new managers brought to the plant. This made me think about what other countries do when they visit the US to make a business deal. I could only assume they do their cultural research on Americans (a firm handshake and good eye contact). When a company comes to the United States I think it is important for them to identify what results they want and get from their regular customs domestically. Then, they need to work with American managers on a way to develop those results through practices that are acceptable with traditional American culture.
    Over break i saw a group of Chinese businessmen leaving a firm in Washington D.C. It was interesting to see them trying to adapt to American cultural norms, while the Americans were bowing at them. I also thought it was interesting that the movie was about a Japanese firm coming to the United States. These days it seems like their is a lot more of American companies going to other countries. The only image I have of American outsourcing is the call center in Slumdog Millionaire.

  107. Zach Schwartz

    The movie Gung Ho is a humorous yet quite realistic view of how cross cultural business relationships can pose many potential problems to its participants. The movie involves an American town which has fallen upon difficult times and is in the process of courting a Japanese car manufacturer to set up operations in their town. The main go-to guy from the town, Mr. Stevenson, comes into the relationship with absolutely no prior knowledge of how the Japanese businessmen function or their business culture. While Americans are very outgoing and friendly, the Japanese are very proper and formal in their business relationships and Japanese workers put top priority on their work life, in contrast to the American emphasis on having “good times.”
    The first conflict which the Japanese discover with their new American plant is the problem of overcoming labor unions. From this point forward, problem after problem of dealing and learning about the new American laborers and culture proved to be quite the interesting task. The interesting part of this movie was the focus on which culture was the “best.” In one scene the Japanese manager’s wife asked him why he didn’t enjoy life like his family, and he replied “because they don’t do good work.” However, on the other side, the American workers realized that if they had the same work ethic as the Japanese did, they would probably still be employed. It is apparent that the best of both worlds is necessary to truly lead a fulfilling life. While balance is easier said than done, it is really the only resolution to balancing social life with work.
    It appeared the movie was leaning towards favoring the American culture, since towards the end of the movie the Japanese executives appeared miserable and attempted to rid themselves of the Japanese work ethic. However, at the end, the Americans compromised and showed a true Japanese work ethic of building the 15,000 cars needed to keep the factory open. This is a true example of how both cultures have a lot to learn from each other. The most rewarding part of cultural exchanges is being able to use the best of what is learned from the other culture and incorporate it into your way of doing business. The businesses which will benefit the most from globalization are the ones that are constantly learning new and better ways of doing things, as is shown through this film.

  108. Kenneth Choy

    Gung Ho is the type of comedy that they really don’t make anymore. (If they did, it would be with Will Farrell playing the American car manager and Christopher Walken as the stern Japanese executive. Hilarity ensues?) The film is good, though with the typical Japanese stereotypes one would expect from a film made in 1986. It explores the serious issues behind the weak American car industry’s work culture and is particularly timely in today’s economic crisis. Hilarious at times, the film foreshadows the future of the American car industry. We learn about the merciless Japanese work ethic – under performers, no matters the infraction, are punished severely and shamed. The Japanese worker loves his company, which is more important than even his family. Those of us who have read Made in Japan by Akio Mortia, will have noticed parallels behind Morita’s commentary and director Ron Howard’s. It is important for managers to take away from the film the difficulties of expanding overseas to an alien culture. The challenges are not to be underestimated.

  109. Zachary Buckter

    Gung Ho is a great comedic commentary on the automobile industry, specifically how foreign companies have influenced America. When a Japanese company takes over a factory in America the clashing cultures make it difficult to work. The Japanese insist that the company must come first and everyone must work as hard as they can while the Americans are used to a more relaxed work style. Throughout the course of the film we see examples of their cultural differences, such as at the softball game. However under the leadership of Hunt Stevenson and his Japanese friend, the workers are able to come together and make the factory work. The movie is a great example of what can happen in international business and shows that every culture is different and must learn from each other in order to be successful.

  110. Ertan Arslan

    The movie Gung Ho is explaning the cultural differences and the difficulties it create after a take over process. Hunt Stevenson acts and shows this situation in a funny way. The company is taken over by Japanese people and their working style is very different than they used to. In a way he is forced to behave unethically. Anyway, this situation is not an obstacle they cannot pass.

  111. Leonardo Calvo

    In the movie Gung Ho, different cultures clash in terms of production operations and work ethic. This cultural clash helps develop a distinct line between the Japanese management and the American workers. Hunt tries to blur the line created but both parties have conflicting ideologies when it comes to production. The Japanese enforce strict rules and lower wages. Due to the lack of production, the Japanese have chosen to close the plant. But due to the importance of the plant in such a small town, Hunt convinces Japanese management to keep the plant open if they produced 15,000 cars. Also if the production number is met, wages would be raised back to their normal levels prior to the Japanese arrivals. Hunt tries to make both parties work together in order to stabilize production. Although Hunt faced the struggle of mending two conflicting work ethics, the plant eventually hit their production numbers. Though two different cultures may have different ways of producing, their overall and consistent goal is to produce efficiently and fairly. Therefore this movie shows that two groups of people with completely different standards of production can come together and produce goods efficiently. I enjoyed this movie that explored different cultures in terms of factory management and execution. It was interesting and enjoyable to watch the struggles that one may have to overcome when two cultures clash.

  112. Latoya Jn. Baptiste

    I thought Gung Ho was a really funny movie. Globalization can be a touchy topic especially if these people face so many issues and adversity as a result of it. One current theme that existed throughout most of the movie is the lack of understanding and respect for different cultures that companies often face when venturing to new locations. For example, there was a scene where all of the woman got up from the dinner table when the men announced that they were going to talk about business. It may be a norm for woman in the Japanese culture to get up, but in America,that is something that rarely, rarely, happens. Another thing that the Japanese business man stated was that American workers operate more as individuals and less as a team. But in order for him to fully understand that he would have to analayze American work ethic and the culture created in the United States. I feel like that key to maintain globalization would be to do a lot of research in understanding the demographic, physchographic, religion & customs and envirnoment of the country being occupied before making the decision to investent billions of dollars in a new location .

  113. Ashley Nunez

    Funny movie and very interesting even though it was older it help me to understand cross cultural and the affects it has on businesses. From the “Gung Ho” Movie, it is not hard to recognize that there are lots of differences in culture, value, and work attitude between Japanese and American. “Cultural is a way of life of a group of people.” (Francesco & Gold, 2005), it is vital for multinational corporations doing businesses worldwide. In particularly, we will mainly analyze the cross-cultural conflicts from culture and organizational behavior and communication aspects. The movie is not only entertaining but also very educational on the multicultural business practices. In reality, this movie is used as an example of how to work with Americans workers and business executives by many multinational corporations such as Toyota.
    The main story portrayed the takeover of an American automobile plant by a Japanese automobile manufacture- Assan Motors Company. As the Japanese executives began to work with their American colleagues, its successful experience and advanced business concepts and ethics are brought to the United States.
    In the meanwhile, the cross-cultural conflicts and misunderstandings also occurred because of the clash of different cultures, values, and work attitudes between Japanese executives and American executives and workers. However, at the end of the movie, the workers and management have compromised with the latter agreeing to partially ease up on their requirements while the workers agree to be more cooperative.

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  115. fred hollows

    This movie made an exceptional point. While the plucky american workers were “teaching” the poor japanese about how to do business ‘in country’ they were pretty much doing what put them out of business in the first place: Making defect cars. This movie was a waste of film. If you think it teaches us anything about doing business internationally you may be dumber than the idiots who made it.

  116. suezyqjohnson

    Reblogged this on Passion Palace….

  117. I have a question, Having know the elements of organizational structure, how is the chain of command shown by their managers where the two nationalities have joined forces in one company?

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