Testing a modified Interactive Acculturation Model in Japan: American-Japanese coworker relations

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35 Citations (Scopus)


Japan is the world's fastest "graying society." Numerous experts advocate expanding the non-Japanese workforce to prevent a debilitating labor shortage. To promote positive intercultural relations between Japanese and incoming non-Japanese workers, it is prudent to examine which factors have contributed to creating a smooth acculturation process so far for both groups vs. those which have not. This research aimed to do so by assessing how the acculturation strategy compatibility between Japanese and American coworkers affected their quality of intercultural relations (N = 194). Bourhis and colleagues' Interactive Acculturation Model ("IAM") was used to predict which acculturation strategy combinations were most likely to produce positive intercultural relationships. With the independent variable of acculturation strategy alignment (i.e., Consensual, Problematic, and Conflictual acculturation strategy combinations, or "IAM types"), five dependent measures of quality of intergroup relations were employed. Statistical analyses revealed that Conflictual IAM types often scored lower on the dependent measures than Consensual or Problematic IAM types-as predicted by the IAM. However, Consensual IAM types did not score significantly higher than Problematic ones on any of the dependent variables, which contradicted one of the IAM's fundamental premises. Problematic IAM types' constructive use of stress, as well as their deeper acculturation to their cultural outgroup, likely resulted in them posting comparable scores to Consensual types. Consequently, Consensual and Problematic types were expanded to four subtypes to better explain these findings. Finally, recommendations were made for modifying acculturation expectations among Japanese and Americans to better integrate both groups into their work organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-418
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Acculturation
  • American sojourners
  • Business intercultural communication
  • Japan
  • Organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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