Analysis of Kelly’s Culture Shock

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Kelly’s Clashes in Culture

Kelly experienced several clashes in culture concerning her assignment in Tokyo. To begin with, Kelly was not conversant with the Japanese language and this would make it difficult to effectively interact with her staff and the locals in Tokyo. Kelly also experienced a clash in expectation as the company had expensively paid for an apartment which she later upon arrival realized was very small. Kelly experienced a clash in customs as the Japanese society devalued women and therefore, it was difficult for Kelly to interact with the Japanese associates and employees as they did not respect her or her directions. Kelly expected that the company back at home would offer her help while in Tokyo but she did not receive any support (Christiansen, Kuvaas, & Farndale et al., 2017). There was also a clash in customs as Kelly was given a business card which she did not read and she did not offer hers in return.

Stage of Culture Shock

Kelly’s Family is experiencing the frustration stage of the culture shock which entails emotional fatigue, frustrations anger among others (Global Perspectives, 2016). Lisa and Sam are feeling confused and left out as the school is supposed to be bilingual yet the students only speak Japanese and that made it difficult for them to interact with others. Kelly’s children were disoriented by the Japanese foods in their school. Lisa and Sam complained that they could not get their television programs while in Japan or understand the Japanese programs and this made them very unhappy (Christiansen, Kuvaas, & Farndale et al., 2017). Peter, Kelly’s husband was angry while trying to cook as he did not understand the food packages or how to prepare them. Peter was frustrated because of not having a job in Tokyo and the children were fighting complaining that they wanted to go back home.

Aspects that Should Have Been Done Differently

There are several things that should have been done differently concerning Kelly’s assignment in Japan such as the boss should have created a training program for Kelly where she would effectively learn the language and culture. The training program would help improve Kelly’s transition and interaction in the foreign environment. Kelly’s boss should have properly explained to Kelly that the Job in Tokyo would be tasking especially since she is a woman and the Japanese culture devalues women. The initial explanation of the Japanese situation by the boss would have helped Kelly be prepared psychologically to face the resistance. Kelly should have filed an official complaint with the company immediately she realized discrepancies and obstacles in Japan. Kelly should not have waited till things got extremely complicated or difficult before seeking support from the company. After arriving in Tokyo, the family should not have gone sightseeing instead they should have taken time learning the local culture to make their transition and interaction much easier and learn various details about the Japanese.

Kelly’s Way Forward

To proceed, there is the need for Kelly to begin learning about the Japanese language and this involves attending Japanese classes with her family members as it will help in effective communication and interaction (Sills, 2016). Kelly also needs to call a meeting and explain to the staff and associates that she is the boss and should be respected regardless of her gender. Kelly also needs to acquaint herself with the Japanese culture to avoid agitating or offending the associates while conducting business activities. Kelly needs to encourage her family to persevere and put in more effort to overcome the obstacles they are facing.


Christiansen, L. C., Kuvaas, B., Biron, M., & Farndale, E. (2017). Global Human Resource Management Casebook. London : Routledge.

Global Perspectives (2016). The 4 Stages of Culture Shock. Retrieved from:

Sills, D. (2016). Culture Shock: 10 Ways to Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome. Retrieved from:

October 30, 2023

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