Japanese companies are successfully operating in other countries but foreign companies operating in Japan have not been as successful. An exception to this experience is the insurer, American Family Life Assurance Corporation (AFLAC), headquartered in Columbus, Georgia, USA. Over 75 per cent of its revenues are generated in Japan. Nevertheless, when AFLAC′s chief information officer initiated a joint development information systems project with AFLAC′s Japan branch, he faced many difficulties. Moving to Japan to facilitate this project, he finds the management process perplexing in terms of communication, office politics, and cultural differences. Since information‐systems work involves teamwork, working with these differences is essential to multinational corporations.
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