In January 2016, Shiseido transformed its corporate structure to a matrix-type global management configuration. It consists of a vertical axis of six regions—Japan, China, Asia Pacific, Americas, EMEA, Travel Retail—intersecting with a horizontal axis of businesses, brands and corporate functions.

With this reorganization, business groups are now aligned, yet it also presented an obstacle. The organizations on the horizontal axis must communicate with their counterparts across the six regions to encourage collaboration and drive innovation. However, language barriers made communications difficult, if not impossible. Over 50 percent of the company’s international workforce is non-Japanese, with employees speaking a variety of languages.

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