Language and Globalization: Englishnization at Rakuten Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Hiroshi Mikitani, Director General of Rakuten (the largest online shop in Japan), at the helm of an organization that is rapidly expanding into global markets. At a critical step on the way to becoming No. 1 in the world of Internet services company, Mikitani announces Englishnization - publicized aggressive two-year British mandate training for all 7,100 employees of Japan's Rakuten. Mikitani goal is not only to ensure the organization's success, but also to break down language and cultural boundaries in Japanese society. At the time, it is estimated that only 10% of Japanese employees can work in English. The stakes are high: those who do not reach their destination on time due to risk being demoted. As Englishnization progresses, loss of productivity, lack of time to study and conflicting views among managers impede staff success. Some employees are even questioning the relevance Englishnization, especially for individuals who work exclusively in Japan. Fifteen months after the announcement, the vast majority have not yet achieved its goal assess English proficiency. When the term is approaching, Mikitani must decide how to proceed to ensure the success of Englishnization, continued global growth of the organization, and even the future of Japan. "Hide
on Tsedal Neely Source: HBS 15 pages. Publication Date: August 29, 2011. Prod. #: 412002-PDF-ENG

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