Japanese Management System Essay

Management Styles

Corporation management is necessary for an institution to survive during times of change as it is the role of management to provide a plan of action, leadership and delegation of authority. Management structure ensures growth will be maintained for the organization and that the corporation will continue to function.

Multiple styles of management are determined by who has the responsibility for the delegation of responsibility for decision-making as well as the degree of participation in the decision-making processes across the company. In general, management systems appear to be impacted upon by the aims of the corporation, the magnitude of the organization and the cultural context the organization operates within (Kim, pp. 538-39).

Optimal management style is essential to a corporation as the style used will determine how the institutions processes are organized, as well as how efficiently employees will work cooperatively or in competition with each other. Work experiences such as employee cooperation, corporation leadership and employee loyalty to the company will be dependant on the style of management used by the corporation.

As such, it is important for different nations to develop human resource management practices that reflect their local circumstances and socio-cultural, political and economic situations. For example, some Asian nations such as South Korea, Taiwan and Japan have adopted a HRM strategy that is grounded in Confucian values of respect for the family foremost, and an emphasis on obligations to the collective (Rowden, pp. 163-64).

Japanese Management System

Japan is a democratic nation and has a highly refined and formalized culture that is in many ways restrained. The work ethics of Japanese business appears to focus dealing with work pressures in ways that are remarkably different to those of western industries. This is due to the lifetime socialization of Japanese citizens to think in terms of the collective, and behaviours that resemble individualism are highly discouraged.

One way to ensure that its people conform to the practice of “maintaining face” is by the use of ostracism to disengage the non-conforming individualist from the group. Hence, team work and cooperative practices are very salient within the Japanese society. Especially, employees work with a high commitment to their organization, and also display a commitment to the economic welfare of their nation.

The Japanese legal system maintains the labour standards that currently exist, a principle one being lifetime employment. Although some employees would prefer a different system to lifetime employment, the ingrained cultural management means that the practice is likely to remain. In fact the government and industry work together most cooperatively. The overall aim of the nation and its industries appears to be steady and continuous growth rather than a focus on profits, shareholder interests are secondary, and investors appear to be content with making minimal profits as long as growth is the focus. The form of management appears to be quite paternal and authoritarian (Mroczkowski, pp. 21-22).

Japan tends to be very authoritarian in management style, and so there is little dispersion of power sharing across the company. Redundancy does not seem to be a concern for employees, as lifetime employment ensures that they are receiving a wage at home or they are relegated to another part of the company. As part of lifetime employment the homes of employees may likely be owned by the corporation that they work for. Employees tend to go on leisure trips as a group. Many areas of employee’s lives are influenced by the corporation that they work with. This is one of the ways conformity is expected.

There is an emphasis on a team-oriented approach to corporate running. This incorporates Common and consistent goals, Organizational commitment, Role clarity among team members, Team leadership, Mutual accountability with the team, Complementary knowledge and skills, Reinforcement of required behavioural competencies and shared rewards. It s expected that such approaches fulfil the familial and community need that there is a gap present in today’s society, and so the company can fulfil a basic human need.


The Japanese style of management is clearly characteristic of its collectivist cultural background. Foremost, the most prominent characteristic of the Japanese corporation is that it is family like in quality. As such, the Japanese corporation can be described as an “entity” firm, in contrast to a “property” firm.

As an entity, the corporation functions as an institution in that it is maintained across time and has an identity of its own, that is separate and non-dependant on the employees and managers who work within it. This system of corporate governance has existed by way of lifetime employment, seniority of wages and promotion, as well as enterprise-based unions.

Lifetime employment is characterized by management being primarily of employees who have spent their entire career within the firm. In this way the seniority wage system could be utilized as a promotion process by way of seniority of age and on the job task ability. Performance merit remained and rivalry was highly dependant on ones ability to cooperate with others (Bamber, p. 303).

What Is The Japanese Management System?

This segment sketches the chief management practices that are mostly agreed to have applied in Japan until now, at least in large corporations in the manufacturing sector. As we shall notice afterward, the system as illustrated here is currently experiencing significant amendments.

Employment and Personnel Practices

Amongst many prominent features of the Japanese management structure, one is the lifetime service. The expression is, however, something of a misnomer and is better expressed as enduring employment with a particular firm. In comparison with much western practice, large firms in Japan aim to sign up all their employees, both blue and white collar, directly from the learning system. ‘Regular’ workers enter the firm at its minor levels and are then projected to keep with it for the rest of their operational lives.

Though some movement between firms is bearable, this is generally restricted to immature employees at the start of their profession. Apart from this, there is an indulgent between employer and employee that to depart the firm amounts to a severe contravene of mutual commitment. This system is self-maintaining because large firms hardly ever enlist personnel from other corporations. Once the preliminary ‘exploration’ phase is over, employees cannot leave without rigorously damaging their profession prospects.

To westerners, life span employment seems perplexing, not least because it appears to restrain a firm’s capability to amend its employment costs in response to varying business surroundings. But the system is underpinned by the use of transitory workers who can be laid off as the need arises. Lifetime service is therefore far from worldwide in Japan, even in large manufacturing companies.

Furthermore, women are expelled from the system. Some approximations have indicated that only 40 to 60% of those functioning in large firms and trading houses are covered by lifetime employment (Coad, pp. 314-16). New employees are given exhaustive technical guidance plus a more general orientation into the firm’s culture covering such subjects as its history and values. Additional training is offered during each step of the employee’s livelihood, and is anticipated to be taken very sincerely. For example, upgrading to better levels may depend on successful completion of the firm’s encouragement examinations.

Job-rotation is another major trait of Japanese management approach and is not limited to ground levels and carries on all the way through an employee’s live of business. Besides rewards of job-security, pay and position, Japanese firms offer a broad range of safety benefits. These may consist of financial support with housing and schooling, medicinal facilities, free transportation and social conveniences. Retirement profits are, however, insufficient by western principles. As with life span employment, welfare necessities express the paternalistic relationship among employer and employee, although momentary workers are not permitted to obtain these benefits. They are also disqualified from membership of the organization union.

Finally, the Japanese policy to decision-making involves wide communication and discussion. Suggestions for change are disseminated within the organization and intricate attempts are made to secure agreement from the parties that are likely to be influenced. Ideas for enhancement to operating actions are encouraged from underneath and are considered at every stage until an agreement is completed (House, pp. 6-7).

Taken collectively, practices such as lifetime service, constant teaching and job-rotation, seniority-based pay and sponsorship, wide-range welfare necessities, and agreement decision-making provide centre employees with employment sanctuary, non-stop upgrading in pay and status over a long period, extensive all-encompassing safety benefits, proficiency development through training, and a grade of contribution in decision-making. In return, employees are predicted to display full commitment to their job and to their company.

Japanese Management in Japan

The well-known advocates of learning from Japan be predisposed to assume that Japan’s employment and personnel practices and the Japanese management style were the foremost causes of the success of large firms, and hence of national success. Although Japan’s economy has been triumphant, its industry has not been uniformly so. Industrial and hi-tech competitiveness is one of the burning current issues in Japan.

Japan’s dominance in manufacturing has been displayed chiefly in the mass-production and high-technology industries. This could signify that firms in less successful industries have not applied the employment and personnel practices of Japanese management in the way that those in flourishing industries have (Grein and Takada, pp. 19-20). But an alternative and more reasonable possibility is that these practices are less important to success than has been assumed.


Yet, the Japanese management system should not be conceptualized as if it is composed only by practices within firms. Japan’s system of ‘alliance capitalism’ comprises commonly supportive networks of industrial and financial firms and relations with government which play a momentous role in the economy’s operation. Theorists argued that Japan’s system is adjusting to new conditions but that its basic model of corporate governance, struggle and employment remains largely intact. So even if the personnel practices practiced by large Japanese firms are uniting with those of the Western States, Japan’s overall management system looks likely to retain its pre-eminent character.

Works Cited

Bamber, G. and Leggett, C. (2001), “Changing employment relations in the Asia- Pacific Region”, International Journal of Management, Vol. 22 No.4, pp. 303.

Coad, A.F. (2002), Not everything is black and white for falling dominoes, Leadership and Organization Development Journal, Vol. 21 No.6, pp. 314-16.

Grein, A.F. and Takada, H. (2001), “Integration and responsiveness: marketing strategies of Japanese and European automobile manufacturers”, Journal of International Marketing, Vol. 9 No.2, pp.19-20.

House, R. (2002), “Understanding cultures and implicit leadership theories across the globe: an introduction to project GLOBE”, Journal of World Business, Vol. 37 No.1, pp. 6-7.

Kim, J. (2000), “Perceptions of Japanese organizational culture”, Journal of Managerial Culture, Vol. 15 No.6, pp. 538–39.

Mroczkowski, T. and Hanaoka, M. (1998), The End of Japanese Management: How Soon? Human Resource Planning, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 21-22.

Rowden, R.W. (2002), “The strategic role of human resource management in developing a global corporate culture”, International Journal of Management, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp.163-164.

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