selecting the right country manager for your subsidiary in Japan is the most critical decision
The expat from the headquarter:
- knows the headquarter, the peoples, knows how to make things happen back home
- does not understanding Japan nor its culture
- will have to rely on mid-management (which might have different agenda and will wait that he finishes his posting in Japan)
The Japanese president, brought from outside (and who has of course all the connections)
- as seniority in Japan is still respected, he might help to stabilize an organization which had been traumatized if they had a hellish foreign country manager!
- coming from outside, does not know the company and how it works in the headquarter
- as most probably senior, might not have the will or interest to learn it and might just wait retirement
the long term foreign resident in Japan
- as mentioned before they know the culture, the language and will be able to be a very good link between the headquarter and the subsidiary
- coming from outside they don’t know the company. But still if young enough they will be able to catch quite quickly and learn quickly the insights of the company.
- there are few of them.
Yes it is true that compared to 20 years ago you have much more foreign professionals in Japan knowing the language.
But still knowing the language only is not enough to run a company.
I would estimate to less than 200, the number of foreign national in Japan mastering completely Japanese AND having experience of running a company.
the long term manager in the gaishikei
- know the company and the peoples
- might not be an agent of change (if not would have done it already)
- it might generate conflict in the organization (jealousy)