University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

FBC Workshop

This webpage will contain all of the resources you need to succeed on your business writing assignment. Use the following links to access the assignment prompt, a functional model, the rubric, the presentation, and the Business Library's newsletter so you can have all the information you need to succeed on this assignment.

The assignment will be due on Friday, February 17th by 11.59pm CT on Blackboard. Please upload your file to Blackboard as a .pdf or as a .doc or .docx file so that our graders can open your file. No late work will be accepted, and files not submitted properly (Google Doc, Pages, screenshots, etc.) will automatically receive a failing grade. We also request that you upload the file rather than posting a OneDrive link.

The Assignment:


You have been hired as an external consultant for Wentworth-Millard (WM), a mid-size retailer with its corporate office in Atlanta, Georgia. It recently acquired Azuma, a company in Tokyo, Japan. WM kept several employees from the Tokyo team and moved them to their corporate headquarters in Atlanta. Everyone has been working together for four months, and management notices the Japanese employees are uncomfortable with expressing disagreement. What can the management of WM do to make all employees comfortable with speaking up? All employees speak English, so a language barrier is not a problem.

For example, after a meeting to decide strategies for marketing a new line of affordable health and wellness products to the 18-35 age group in East Asia, a manager noticed that the Japanese employees didn’t feel comfortable disagreeing with the manager or providing feedback. Here is an excerpt of the meeting transcript between Larissa, the manager, Kenji, a former Azuma employee, and Kendall, a longtime US employee:

Larissa: I’m thinking that the best social media strategy for this stage is to utilize Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. What does everyone else think? Can we think of any negatives?
[No one says anything.]
Larissa: Kenji? What are your thoughts?
Kenji: I am very interested in the possibilities of focusing on these platforms instead of LINE and WeChat
Kendall: I think that it might be useful to consider something else.

Larissa was surprised when she heard from another employee that Kenji was unhappy with the final decision. She didn’t understand why he didn't feel comfortable bringing it up in the meeting. When she tried to confront Kenji about the miscommunication, he felt extremely uncomfortable.

To avoid any future miscommunication and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable, the management of WM has hired you as a consultant to help them figure out what potential cultural barriers might prevent all the employees from collaborating successfully. Specifically, WM have asked you to help them understand the disconnect at their next meeting, so that U.S employees and Japanese employees can move forward. You have scheduled a meeting with the upper management of WM to present your findings and suggestions.

Some questions to consider when making recommendations:  

What are the feedback styles (confrontational vs. avoiding confrontation) in these various cultures?

For future meetings, what type of communication solutions should upper-level management use for employees of different cultures that have different approaches to feedback and chain of command?

How does WM ensure strong relational ties between their Japanese and U.S employees while addressing these miscommunications?

Your Task:

Compose a one-page, single-spaced memo with 1” margins that suggests two practices WM can use to address their communication problem. Your recommendations should be heavily researched (see “Research” below) and presented in paragraph form. Make sure to communicate how your recommendations address WM's problems.

Note: you will need to cite 4 different sources in APA on your references page. Your references page will not count towards the 1-page requirement. When citing sources, use parenthetical citations (see Publication Manual of APA 6.11-21), not footnotes. The readings cited below are all in APA format but remove the hyperlinks/URL when you cite.

Readings that will help you form your recommendations:

We strongly recommend reading Erin Meyer’s The Culture Map (2014) pgs. 195-218. (You can access this text through our university library at


Note: Sources with an asterisk (*) only recommend specific sections/chapters of the text. The citations will indicate which portion we suggest.

Andriopoulos, C. (2014, August 6). Save your next staff meeting from itself. Harvard Business Review.\

Ferrazzi, K. (2015, February 24). Use your staff meeting for peer-to-peer coaching. Harvard Business Review.

Gavin, M. (2019). 6 Tips for managing global and international teams. Harvard Business Review.

*Goodman, M. B. (2013). Introduction. In Intercultural communication for managers (1st ed., pp. xix-xxix). Business Expert Press.

Kwan, L. (2019). The collaboration blind spot. Harvard Business Review.

McIvor, M. (2022, July 22). How to give negative feedback in high-context cultures (like Japan). Globis Insights.

Meyer, E. (2017). Being the boss in Brussels, Boston, and Beijing: If you want to succeed, you’ll need to adapt. Harvard Business Review.

*Meyer, E. (2014). The Needle, Not the Knife. In The culture map: Breaking through the invisible boundaries of global business (1st ed., pp.195-218). PublicAffairs. Please note pgs. 61-88 of this book are also helpful.

Molinsky, A. (2014, January 30). Encourage foreign-born employees to participate more in meetings. Harvard Business Review.

Moran, R. T., Abramson, N. R., & Moran, S. V. (2014). Managing cultural differences. (pp. 430-442). Taylor & Francis Group.

Potrel, V. (2022, December 1). Four tips for effectively managing multicultural teams. Forbes .

Stahl, A. (2021, December 21). 3 benefits of diversity in the workplace. Forbes.