Cross-Cultural Management

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Everyday workplace as a place to practice cross-cultural management.
To accelerate overseas business in the future by hiring interns.

Assign Co., Ltd.Assign Co., Ltd.

Host companiesAssign Co., Ltd.

Ibaraki/IT Services

InternsBui Thu Thao

Vietnam/University of Languages and International Studies (ULIS), Japanses

InternsMohamed Sabtu Noraiman

Malaysia Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Melaka, Software Development


As we struggled to reach mutual understanding with overseas based employees and customers, we decided to accept interns to learn about cross-cultural management.

Q.Why did your company decide to take on interns? What did you aim to achieve?
Our company started to employ Filipino IT engineers from 2007 and established a local subsidiary in 2014. However, our inability to gain mutual understating with the local staff and customers became a great barrier to our business expansion. Nonetheless, because we are aiming at business development in Asia with the Philippines as our base, it is essential to improve our cross-cultural management of the Japanese employees. In this situation, we heard about this internship program. We decided to apply for the internship because we wanted Japanese employees to realize that Japanese business customs cannot be applied overseas and would like them to acquire some insights for overseas expansion by coming into contact with new perspectives and ideas through the cooperation with foreign interns. And in the long term, by employing foreign interns we would like to assist the business development plans for Japanese companies in Vietnam and Malaysia through IT support.


Details of the Internship

Establishing a way to communicate with foreign interns through accumulating concrete feedback from trial and error.

Q.What kind of internship did you run? What difficulties did you face and how did you resolve them?
In addition to acquiring programming skills, such as Java and C#, we had the interns actively participate in production management systems, our enterprise resource planning system, projects like designing and producing original LINE stamps, regional industry fairs and study sessions. While collaborating with the interns, we experienced a lot of confusion and realized that the business customs that we had considered natural are in fact common only in Japan. These were three months of trial and error, but interacting with the interns, we learned to focus on the following: do not just give verbal instructions but show specifications and examples, and give specific instructions; value daily feedback, and even when the work is on track, say things like, “looking good” and “that’s okay” to keep each other’s motivation high; logically explain why the work is necessary rather than proceeding with things left ambiguous; do not immediately overrule a different line of thinking - always consider it once; proactively provide positive feedback for good work and outcomes and share the joy with everyone. This internship program became an invaluable experience for us as we were able to acquire specific skills in managing the interns. In addition, we regularly hold internal study sessions on “cross-cultural communication,” “business customs of Japan and foreign countries,” and “team building and dealing with conflict” – things we learned in prior and follow-up training. Further, we have included English conversation in our in-house training item in order to strengthen the employees’ English ability since we plan to continue to create a system that allows all employees to participate in cross-cultural management in the future.

Details of the Internship


As a result of highly appraising performance, we decided to hire an intern as an employee at the headquarters in Japan.

Q.Comparing before and after the internship, what effects did it have on you, your employees, or your organization?
First of all, through experiencing cross-cultural management we learned the importance of openly expressing opinions, and seeing the big-picture. Further, as we figured out how to push forward our work with the interns, we have been able to gradually improve the way Japanese employees work. Until now, there was a tendency to work faithfully and honestly in response to customer requests and instructions from superiors. Of course that is also important, but by looking at the way the interns frankly express their opinions and ideas without any barriers of positions and divisions, we became conscious of how we, Japanese also have to be flexible in the way we think and freely share our opinions to reflect them in our work. As a result, wanting to design and make new products which we found interesting, lead to producing a new system for nursery schools. Furthermore, the intern from Malaysia created LINE stamps for our company and has not only become an active force, but is also keen on learning, has good sense in business and design skills. Thus, we are planning to hire her as an employee after the internship is over. This encounter is the greatest achievement, and we will continue to deepen our cross-cultural understanding based around her, and we hope to be able to further promote IT support development in Asia.


From the Interns

I think that this experience will lead to a new way of life for me.

Q.What did you get out of the internship?
I came into this program with no prior experience in programming, and still, I was able to learn a lot, and to understand the difficulty of system development. Also, chanting the corporate philosophy every day at the morning assembly was a profoundly educational experience. I felt that it would be a good thing to introduce the concept of employees sharing the same goals and working hard together to companies in Vietnam. On holidays, I got to experience an employee orchestra performance and participated in external activities, such as volunteering and had many enjoyable interactions. (Bui Thu Thao)
I was able to learn about working as a team and gain knowledge of programming. When I had trouble understanding technical IT terms and Japanese OS software, the staff willingly helped me. I also learned basic Japanese manners and how to properly enter and exit rooms. I thought I had good manners but I was surprised to see exceptional Japanese manners. I think this experience will lead to a new way of life for me. (Mohamed Sabtu Noraiman)

From the Interns


Naganuma Works Inc.

Host companiesNaganuma Works Inc.

Akita/Manufacturing/Sheet Metal and Machined Parts Manufacturing

InternsRozihan Izmi Bin Zainul Rashid

Malaysia/University of Toyama, Mechanical Intellectual Systems Engineering

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KS Partners Inc.

Host companiesKS Partners Inc.

Osaka/IT Service/EC Website Creation and Operation

InternsLe Thi Dieu Thao

Vietnam/Foreign Trade University, International economics

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SAKURA Community Service Corporation Co., Ltd.

Host companiesSAKURA Community Service Corporation Co., Ltd.

Hokkaido/Nursing Care Service

InternsMuhammad Harrtyan

Indonesia/University of Indonesia, Economics

InternsDien Thi Ngoc Linh

Vietnam/Viet Nam/Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, Business Administration

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Yutaka Co., Ltd.

Host companiesYutaka Co., Ltd.

Hokkaido/Food Service Industry

InternsPimsri Piengrawin

Thailand/Srinakharinwirot University, Computer for Communication

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