This case study
talks about an expatriate employee Fred Bailey’s experience during his assignment
in Japan. Fred’s company offers him a proposition that is inundated with an attractive fringe benefit program that compels him to relocate to Japan for a period of three years. Since the move is almost instant, Fred’s family does not get enough time to research on Japan and is too busy wrapping things up to discover where exactly will they be living for the next three years of their life. However, at his arrival in Japan he discovers that his employees are already segregated along national lines. The Japanese personnel are not receptive of American decisions and tacitly resent their authority. Fred dismisses his initial fears by calling them odd coincidences but an unfortunate turn of events makes him realize that the matter is graver than what he imagined.
Things are not too pleasant back at home as well. Fred’s wife, who was initially cynical of the move, has witnessed her worst fears proved right. She finds it cumbersome to adjust in a foreign land where she has to struggle to locate daily necessities and means of entertainment for her family. She represses her dilemmas for quite some time until it gets unbearable for her and she succumbs to the pressure. Fred’s associate Ralph acknowledges the fact that a Japanese client Toshiro could not stand up to Fred because Fred’s intimidating personality and the Japanese respect for authority prevented him from doing so. Fred notices that it is generally difficult to have his point conveyed effectively since the Japanese were not very receptive of his ideas and this would act as an obstruction to communication. Fred is locked in an unfavorable situation where he needs to make a choice and that choice will have everlasting implications for his company and family alike.
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