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Cross-Cultural Research Obstacles: A Case Study of a Japanese Industry Leader

By: Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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This case provides an overview of the challenges I faced as a qualitative researcher when conducting case studies that cross disciplinary boundaries. This case offers practical suggestions regarding education and business research in Japan. It discusses my journey as a researcher for my PhD project and beyond. This study began as part of my doctoral work and eventually became a single case study with additional analysis and includes interviews, document analysis, and observations. The most significant challenge faced was the lack of understanding of cultural differences by both sides, the United States and Japan. I found that institutional review board requirements of the U.S. research community may jeopardize the initiation of research projects to be conducted in Japan. I navigated these challenges with open mindedness and perseverance using innovative approaches. First, to hone my case research skills, I attended multiple conferences that were interdisciplinary in nature to learn from scholars who conduct cross-cultural research. I found scholars who understood my problems and worked with them as resources for my institutional review board application. Second, I selected as my dissertation chair a research-oriented, well-published professor who was willing to engage in negotiations with the head of the institutional review board. Third, I attempted to understand the mind-set and philosophical differences of the professionals in the two disciplines, business and education, to effectively earn their trust and respect. Finally, I recommend that case researchers remain flexible and recognize that there is nothing wrong with educating institutional review board members about cultural competency.

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