The movie Gung Ho portrayed the takeover of an American car factory by a Japanese corporation. It shows a clash of cultures between the Americans and the Japanese after Hunt Stevenson successfully convinced the Japanese to reopen the automobile factory in a small town. When the Japanese employers show up, they expect that the Americans share the same type of work ethics that they have practiced. On the first day of the joint venture, Kazihiro addresses the American workers: “We must build spirit. We must be a team, one, with one purpose only. Everyone thinking only of the company.” He hopes to build this spirit by having them exercise together. The workers resist until Hunt convinces them to do so. Eventually they join Hunt, but in their own exercise styles rather than according to the Japanese. From the outset of the merger, individualism clashes with collectivism.
The gap between their cultures is huge, the Americans are depicted as being lazy, easy going and without any pride in their work, while the Japanese are viewed as workaholics, and they put their jobs first before their families. Kazihiro would like to be more like Willie, regarding family as more important than achievement. As the movie progresses, he stands up for one of his workers on this issue. Kazihiro wants to give the worker time off because his wife is in labor, but Mr. Sakamoto, Kazihiro’s boss, intimidates the worker into staying. This is a turning point for Kazihiro; he stands up to his boss and says, “We work too damn hard. This is not our lives, this is a factory. Our friends, our families should be our lives. We are killing ourselves . . .we have things that we can learn from Americans.”
None of his Japanese coworkers support him as he stands alone before Mr. Sakamoto. In this moment of decision, he values individualism over collectivism and low power distance over high power distance. Eventually, the two sides meet somewhere in the middle, and each once embraced a bit of the others culture so they can all finish their goal while still enjoying their lives. The lesson in this movie is about teamwork and friendship, if people possess this kind of attitude in a company then, they will be able to accomplish something that seems impossible and pull together the task and get it done.