Logic or Smiles? International Talent Management Across Advanced and Emerging Economic Contexts – Japanese Expatriates' Cross-cultural Communication Friction in India

Ashok Ashta, Peter Stokes, Paul Hughes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Expatriates form an important subset of international talent. This chapter examines Japanese expatriates' lived experiences in India and theorizes and assesses discord and tension in communication between Indian and Japanese employees and their economic and social contexts. Empirical research was conducted using a blend of participant observation and critical incident technique in order to understand issues related to these domains in contemporary settings. Qualitative data were employed as the basis of this exploratory chapter. The analysis revealed that while there is evident communication friction in the Japan–India context, the extent of this does not necessarily differ dramatically from other cross-cultural dyads. This finding provides a modified understanding of existing scholarship developed during the preceding 50 years of research, moving beyond the dominant Western management approach that theorizes and employs cultural dimensions with which to examine cross-cultural issues and indicates novel insights on underlying Japanese spiritual values that play a role in lubricating communication friction. The findings are relevant to human resources managers of international talent in developing – for example, appropriate training for expatriate situations. In terms of theoretical framing, this study examines a unique cross-cultural dyad, which is both advanced economy–emerging market and yet East–East, and identifies priorities that might not be immediately apparent in conventional Western literature. Thus, following Lincoln and Cannela (2008) it reveals possibilities that previous preoccupations have obscured. By providing in-depth original insights into the Japanese talent/expatriate perspective on cross-cultural communication in the Indian context, the chapter provides three-fold value: First, the practical insights on talent management and, second, alternatives to existing frameworks' approaches to cross-cultural management. Finally, since India can be seen to be on the East–West border line (or spectrum mid-point), it also indicates insights into European and American talent management in East–West contexts. The limitations for generalization are recognized within the study.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook of International Talent Management
EditorsYipeng Liu
Number of pages34
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9781786437099
ISBN (Electronic)9781786437105
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
SeriesResearch Handbooks in Business and Management

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