Jessica Temple | July 28, 2018
Even beginner business majors can answer the question, “What’s the primary objective of American business?” Answer: Maximizing returns for shareholders.
But as students in Jessica McManus Warnell’s Business and Culture in Japan course discovered, this isn’t the global standard for good business.
“What we were hearing from the companies we visited [in Japan] was that successful business is more about societal impact and employee engagement and customer satisfaction,” McManus Warnell says. “And of course, if all of these go well, then the shareholders will also benefit.”
This approach, she adds, reflects Japanese “moralogy,” which presents the idea that business can foster a virtue ethic that then makes business better for all stakeholders — customers and clients, employees, managers and society. Engaging students with different viewpoints like this, she adds, broadens their perspective of what business can be, and prompts them to consider and seek out the best business practices.
The concentrated study abroad program, offered during the summer through the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, introduces undergrads to Japan’s cultural and business traditions during four campus class sessions and two weeks on-site in Tokyo.
Why Japan? “There is so much focus on globalization, and Asia is getting a lot of attention right now,” says McManus Warnell, an associate teaching professor in the College’s Management & Organization department and a faculty fellow in the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies.
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