The secret of Japanese business success


The secret of Japanese business success is the ability to hear the opinion of the minority. Japanese business traditions are legendary. What exactly are the manifestations

Japan is known for its talented people who work as hard as Masako Katsura did. In Japan, unlike in many countries, where decisions are made by majority vote, there is an emphasis on taking into account the minority opinion, for all participants to come to the same point of view. Building consensus takes both time and an added tolerance for a different point of view. A perfect illustration of this is in Japan, which borrowed an American innovation: “quality control circles.

Work in Japan is not a time for smoke breaks and idleness, nor is it a time for trade union and propaganda activities. The whole production process is an organically structured flow in which intermediate results do not pile up and form a jam.

he Japanese do not need large-scale warehouses (they would be too expensive for a nation of 125 million living in such a small space) and the expectation of a supplier. This initially comes from a different understanding of large- and medium-scale manufacturing. Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of a group of companies, including those that own the Panasonic and National brands, was outspoken about the severity of the “diseases of big enterprise” and called for unbundling – an all-out reliance on small and medium-sized businesses, which in Japan appear to be inseparable. When Matsushita was asked by trade union representatives to permit strikes, he permitted them, but only during his free time.

The Japanese corporation’s tradition of “lifetime employment” of employees provides, above all, certainty about the future. A Japanese will say, “I’m not grabbing the stars from heaven, but I’m “on my plate,” and I’ll slowly eat my rice!” In terms of motivating staff to behave this way, Japanese companies do not assign their employees large salaries all at once, but add bonuses and the main part of the salary gradually. In addition, the average employee imagines all his or her work at the company until retirement. It seems a bit boring, but this scheme is the key to creating an appropriate corporate climate with constant staff turnover and unhurried progression.

Gradually, in line with globalization, Japan is changing a great deal and moving away from many of its traditional forms of management. The transition from company to company is quite possible. Every year there is a competition, and candidates for all companies are selected at approximately the same time.

However, it is still much more important in the country not for the final examinations at the university, but for the “admission” examinations at the company. In Japan it is difficult to get into a good company, and it is similar to all other countries in the world.


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