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Million Dollar Arm Movie Analysis

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The movie Million Dollar Arm exhibits important contradictions when Indians and Americans work together. It shows the difficulties faced by both the people and how each of them have to adapt for achieving a common goal. We would analyze the movie based on Hofstede model and relate CCM concepts.

Power distance:

Indian’s high PDI is clearly depicted in the movie by showing the difference in Indian and US employees. In US, employees in JB’s office call him by his name whereas Amit, Rinku and Dinesh call him ‘Sir’. JB gets overwhelmed when Vivek calls him Sir repeatedly in India. Amit, Rinku and Dinesh fear JB and see him as a Godfather. Before leaving India, Vivek also emphasizes the responsibility of JB and the life changing opportunity for the kids. Even in a phone conversation, Rinku’s mother enquires him whether he is obedient to JB. They claim that they can’t repay what JB has done for them when they arrange a dinner for Brenda and JB. This shows the perception of power in the minds of Indians towards the employer. Leaders are meant to be respected and revered. This was very different for JB as he saw everything from an Investment perspective. He knew that he was doing everything as a part of business. This explains the transactional relationship between employer and employee – that is accepted in US.

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Collectivism-Individualism

India scores less on Individualism than USA. The movie shows the collectivist culture of India – where family and societal norms are over and above the individual interest. In this movie, cultural bonding is clearly depicted when Rinku and Dinesh are leaving to US. They are expected to make their family members and the village proud and not let them down. This value is also reflected in work – Rinku and Dinesh feel so bad for letting JB down. They intend to perform well not only for their self improvement but also for their family and the people whom they show reverence. In collectivist culture, societal norms shape the behavior of Individuals.

High Uncertainty Avoidance-low Uncertainty Avoidance

US score is slightly higher than India in Uncertainty avoidance. In this movie, JB talks about signing a contract with Media for covering Million Dollar arm contest. But Vivek tells that it won’t help much in India. Vivek communication tells how Indian’s accept uncertainty. Vivek doesn’t give a sure answer for anything that JB enquires. Whereas in USA, contracts and agreements are sacrosanct. JB is constantly under pressure to uphold the agreement that mandates to bring the boys for a professional tryout. This shows that US citizens tend to reduce uncertainty through contracts and agreements. In the conversations of Chang and JB, we can see the importance of agreements and contract.

Masculinity-Femininity

US scores more on masculinity – indicating higher preference for money, work related achievements etc. JB is shown as a person who puts his investment before everything else. He is more focused on his goal and doesn’t give much importance to relationship. This contradicts Dinesh and Rinku’s Values which are more relationship oriented. They expect JB to be more supportive and see the relationship as an important factor for their career advancement. Gradually JB realizes the cultural gap and start supporting them. Through the help of Brenda, he realized how he has failed in his way of working. This explains the importance of cross cultural management

Long Term Orientation-Short Term Orientation

India have a higher score than US in Long term orientation. The movie shows examples of how Indians give importance to Long term Orientation. Amit offers to work with JB for no salary to fulfill his long term goal of becoming a baseball coach. Contrary to this, In US, JB and others are focused on short term rewards. Popo signs a contract with other agent as JB arrives late.

High Indulgence-Low Indulgence

US score is quiet high in Indulgence when compared to India. The movie shows how Dinesh and Rinku stay in house and are not interested in having fun. They get bored in parties. They are also hesitant to meet and socialize with new people.

Apart from Hofstede model, we can also see the difference in communication style, time culture differences between US and India in the movie. India’s Polychromatic culture is reflected in Vivek-JB conversations. JB gets impatient in India as things are not followed with strict deadlines. The communication is context based in India unlike US. Vivek communication is ambiguous in the movie when he tells JB that one has to pay money in order to speed up the work. When JB goes to bribe, the person doesn’t accept it openly – indicating face saving attitude of Indians.

In order to achieve the goal, JB had to understand and accept Indian culture. He modified his way of working

  • Being with the boys in practice sessions ( adapting to collectivist culture/ relationship orientation)
  • Accepting his mistake when the boys failed in first pro tryout (limitations of short term orientation)
  • Working for second Pro tryout (Long term orientation)

Gung Ho Movie

The movie is a classic example of how different cultural values affect the business and creates problem in managing a company. The movie shows how Japanese and American employees encounter problem with each other and how they gradually recognize the strength and weakness in their respective cultures. Let us begin the analysis from Hofstede Model

PDI

Japan’s High score in PDI is depicted throughout the movie. Japanese employees are afraid of Sakamoto and they show huge respect for him. On the other hand, Stevenson is very causal in interacting with the Japanese Management team. This shows the difference in the perception of power. Stevenson comments that Oishi is afraid to stand up against his boss. Stevenson doesn’t mind using words (derogatory) which are not acceptable by Japanese management. This reflects the low PDI score of America

Collectivism-Individualism

Japanese collectivist culture is depicted in many scenes – Management training program in Japan, Doing exercises before work, taking bath in river, warm up before baseball etc. This is in contradiction with American Individualist culture – American workers make fun of Japanese collective activities. In the movie, Oishi tells that Japanese workers work for company and not for money. Oishi also complains that each American feel that they are special and are not concerned about the company. The American employees think more about incentives when they are given a target of 15000 cars. This shows the Individualistic culture of USA. When it comes to decision making, Japanese take collective decisions as shown in the movie. Most of the time, they call for conference and discuss.

High Uncertainty Avoidance-low Uncertainty Avoidance

Japan high score in Uncertainty avoidance is reflected in the movie scenes that show Japanese management team ‘s rigidity about the production process. Americans are flexible and they get annoyed when they are asked to follow a rigid process. Sakamato is also adamant about the agreement and conditions stipulated to Oishi about the production.

Masculinity-Femininity:

Although US is a masculine society, Japan has a very high score. The movie shows how Japanese are obsessed about their work and Quality of cars. Work is above family. Oishi even refuses to talk about his daughter’s birthday while he is working. He even complains to Stevenson that Americans leave factory if they are sick. In this movie, we can see how Japanese are proud of their work and quality – zero defects.

Long Term Orientation-Short Term Orientation

US low score on Long term orientation which is reflected in the American workers interest in short term rewards. Instead of trying to achieve the target of 15000 cars, theyare focused on producing lesser number of cars that will get them partial incentives. Whereas Japanese people have long term orientation – they are focused on consistent production, uniform planning, quality etc. They aren’t motivated by short term monetary gains. They work to establish a company.

High Indulgence-Low Indulgence

Japan scores low in indulgence – In the movie, Oishi scolds his children for watching Mtv and he asks her wife to stop serving sausages. But the movie also shows how Oishi goes for a drink and enjoys with stevenson. These are examples of cultural adaptation. American workers in the movie give importance to leisure. They are annoyed when they have to work overtime. They weren’t allowed to take cigarattes, newspapers inside the factory that would affect work.

The movie not only shows the problems faced by Japanese and American Employees. It emphasizes the importance of cross cultural understanding and self reflection –

  • Oishi talks about the Japanese obsession for work and how they ignore their family life.
  • Stevenson motivates American workers to work hard and challenge Japanese Management. This shows the influence of Japanese culture and how Americans took it positively
  • Oishi and his team come together for supporting American workers. This creates a good team and they work together for reaching a target of 15000 cars. This was appreciated by Sakamato and the employees got incentives
  • At the end of the movie, the employees do exercises and have fun in the factory. This shows the adpative nature of human beings and the importance of accepting others culture

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