On the Way to Fraud: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Japanese Culture and How It Contributes to the Commitment of Fraud
An ethical dilemma is not a matter of “right” versus “wrong,” but rather it is a situation of conflicting values. A common ethical dilemma is that of honesty versus loyalty—is it better to tell the truth, or remain loyal to the company? In the Japanese culture, truth is circumstantial and can vary with different situations. In a way, the Japanese idea of honesty reflects how highly they value loyalty. This overlap of values results in the lack of an ethical dilemma for the Japanese, which creates a new risk for fraud. Without this struggle, a Japanese employee does not have strong justification against committing fraud if it aligns with his values of honesty and loyalty.
This paper looks at the Japanese values relating to honesty and loyalty to show how much these ideas overlap. The lack of a conflict of values creates a risk for fraud, which will be shown through an analysis of the scandals of two Japanese companies, Toshiba and Olympus. These scandals shine light on the complexity of the ethical dilemma for the Japanese employees; since their sense of circumstantial honesty encourages them to lie if it maintains the harmony of the group, there is little stopping them from committing the fraud that their superiors asked them to commit.
In a global economy, understanding the ways that values impact business and decisions is important for both interacting with others and anticipating potential conflicts, including those that may result in or indicate potential red flags for fraud.