Describe distinctive features of the social-cultural, economic and political fabric of Japan
Culturally, Japan draws mainly from Confucian roots including a tendency of hierarchy, order, groupism, deference to authority, conformity, reverence for education and emphasis on harmony. All Japanese organizations are permeated by group consciousness. The key spiritual influences in Japan are Zen Buddhism and Shintoism. The culture in Japan tends to encourage or emphasize harmony compromise and conciliation. Due to the high reverence to education, the Japanese are known for exhorting their children to excel academically. The Japanese also have a strong work ethic, propensity for introspection and humility.
In regard to economy, the financial system is bank dominated. However, much of the financial information has government backups. Japan has a belated development of equity markets. It is imperative to comprehend that the Japanese market is a predominantly market-guided economy. The government only has some selective government guidance. The intense competition by companies in Japan in the creation of some industries such as the automobile industry and consumer electronics made Japan the most successful in global economics. Many Japanese individuals have high personal saving rates. The high personal income of the Japanese is offset by low purchasing power.
The Japanese practice a pluralistic democracy. When compared to other countries, the powers of the parliament and the prime minister in Japan is lower. The power of the central government is stronger. In Japan, there is a great collaborative relationship between key government ministries and big businesses.
Which traditional Japanese management practices in your judgment could be successfully adapted in other countries?
There are various Japanese management practices that one could adopt in a different country. In my opinion, however, there is need to first consider the context of the culture in terms of whether it is high, medium or low of the country where Japanese management practices are to be adopted. In order to be successful in practicing Japanese management practices, it is imperative to implement the practices that are also considered as high-context culture as Japan. One of the key management practices that could be adopted is the modest salary differences between managers and between other employees and managers. When compared to other countries such as the United States, the differences sin salaries is quite exponential. In the United States, for instance, the difference between what a top-level executive earns and what a low ranked employee in the company earns is immense. The other Japanese management practice that could be adopted in other countries is the less fixation on profits. Many organizations in many countries are driven by profit goals. However, in Japan, there is less fixation on profits so long as the objectives have been achieved. If an organization meets its goals and objectives, then the world would be a better place without the cutthroat competition.
Total quality control is a management practice that should be adopted in all countries. With higher quality services and products, benchmarking becomes a responsibility that one wants to undertake thereby improving the quality of goods and services. Competitive benchmarking practiced in japan could be instituted in other countries.
Discuss some unique strengths and limitations of traditional Japanese-Style management and labor practices.
Traditional Japanese-Style management benefited both employees and companies. Traditional Japanese-Style management is cost-efficient and supports economic growth. As a company continues growing, there is need to hire lower cost employees. This means that the workforce would be predominantly young. Based on pay by seniority, the higher numbers of individuals younger individuals are hired keeping labor costs low.
Traditional Japanese-Style management had another advantage in the deterrence of workers from leaving a company. In Traditional Japanese-Style management, if an individual leaves a company, then they lose seniority. Additionally, this also enabled companies to save costs on training new employees due to high employee turnover. Long-term staff planning was made possible by Traditional Japanese-Style management as companies kept talented workers. Since the system encouraged participation by employees, employees felt a certain commitment to their companies. As a worker, Traditional Japanese-Style management practices are beneficial in that it offers job security. As long as an employee works hard, then they are assured of a job.
One key limitation to Traditional Japanese-Style management practices in regard to labor is that in the instance that a company is not growing, the labor costs would be immense. When a company stops growing, it means that it stops hiring new employees. When new employees are not hired, older employees with seniority are retained. Such employees who had been employed for a lifetime basis meaning that companies would remain with many older employees instead of cutting costs. The second limitation that the Traditional Japanese-Style management system had on labor is that over time, workers became over-dependent on the company based on seniority and the lack of skills in other fields of the economy. Additionally, the many times that employees had to make personal sacrifices also hurt their families, as they had to work overtime.
Recently, there is a dynamic change in many United States firms and organizations such as General Motors, IBM, and Chrysler in that the organizations realize that the transition to a Theory Z management system is more beneficial. Some of the advantages of shifting to theory Z management style include long time employment, consensual decision-making, individual responsibility, slow evaluation, promotion, implicit control with specific formal measures, holistic concern for employees and moderately career paths. Although some large American companies such as IBM and General Motors are still deeply segmented and hierarchical, the different process is being streamlined so that the segmentation is removed. Many companies like to work in office plan landscapes that everyone is involved and part of the group. This enhances the cultural organization of an organization. Some companies in the United States employ long-term employees. In fact, some employees are even getting involved in some decision-making process. Some employees would rather take pay cuts than letting some of their colleagues laid-off. Companies such as IBM are continuously encouraging individual responsibility to their employees. If an employee makes a mistake, then the company comes up with strategies to ensure that there are np bureaucracies. Organizations such as General Motors have employees who pride themselves in their works and work moderately specialized career paths. Individuals who work in Chrysler tend to avoid jumping from one functional area to another. Chrysler adopts a middle of the road posture. Most employees in many organizations in the united states have a holistic approach to their jobs. Most of them are concerned about the welfare of their colleagues. Employees also have an increased sense of commitment. One should, however, comprehend that many American companies have not fully adopted the idea of slow evaluation and promotion.
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