University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 17.12.2016 MSc William Baber (Faculty of Information Technology, Cognitive science)

Start date: Dec 17, 2016 12:00 PM

End date: Dec 17, 2016 03:00 PM

Location: Mattilanniemi, Agora Beeta

MSc William Baber defends his doctoral dissertation in Information Systems Science ”Acculturation of Foreign IT Workers in Japan from a Cognitive and Business Management Viewpoint”. Opponent Adjuncts Professor Peter Zettinig (University of Turku) and Head of Business Studies Sari Savolainen (Päivölän opisto, Tarttila). Custos Senior Lecturer Arto Ojala (University of Jyväskylä).


This dissertation investigates expatriate IT workers located in Japan in the contexts of their acculturation and thinking about workplace and business negotiations. Case studies of individual actors supported by surveys were chosen as the methods to gather data leading to findings about how expatriates develop in Japan, including their ability to adjust, accept, and reject schemata about business management situations. Individuals were chosen as a unit of study because they are the key figures who decide the economic fate of companies. Schemata were chosen as a study focus in the later articles because they are the cognitive location of information about home and host culture and come into play when actors decide their actions and strategies. Important findings are that individuals who are skilled and successful in cross border business management often have not only cultural informants, but interculturally fluent informants as guides and supporters. Further, hybrid managers can extend hybrid formations to internal company organizations and synergize their networks as well as their skills. Acculturation develops in some individuals moving along through stages recognized in previous intercultural work to create new types of expatriates not previously identified. Business schemata in negotiation, business management, and day to day workplace practices present a way to compare knowledge, approach and ability among managers from various cultures. Very successful actors studied in this thesis were able to activate home and host culture schemata as well as synthesize those schemata to create the results they targeted. Overall, the thesis shows that business actors in Japan’s IT landscape may have high success in acculturating to Japan and learn to manage a business environment very different from their home countries in North America and Europe. In addition to findings and implications regarding IT business actors and their thinking, the thesis proposes a refined model of decision making about schemata and the development of schemata as an actor gains experiences.

Keywords: Japan, IT, cross cultural, acculturation, schemata, hybrid manager, expatriate

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William Baber