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What Do You Consider To Be The Main Features Of The Japanese Management System?

2412 words - 10 pages

IntroductionIn this essay I am going to argue that the Japanese organisational structure and quality initiatives are the two main feature of the Japanese management system. I will put forward the theory that the pre-quality orientated organisational framework was very much suited towards the introduction of quality management initiatives.Main Text"There was a time when the differences between the market-orientated British employment system and the organisation-orientated Japanese system would have been happily ascribed to 'the unique genius of the respective races'...Nowadays, given the prevalence of theories about the 'structural requisites' of industrialism, one is urged to probe further". (Dore, Ronald 1973)The above quote predicates the theory of late development; namely that Japanese competitive advantage can be traced to the fact that Japan is a country which industrialised at a very late time period when compared to that of the Occident. When the industrialisation ball started rolling the latest twentieth and nineteenth century techniques were being introduced into a country where workers had the equivalent skill levels of the sixteenth or seventeenth century European artisans; education was found as a necessity. Japan already had the basis of strong educational system at the start of the twentieth century with approximately 90% of children completing primary schooling. Since the market could not provide the necessary skills, worker education by employers became very important from the start of an industrialised Japan. Employers in Japan were also more likely to invest in human capital because they were buying technology for capital intensive industries from countries that paid higher wagers thus making absenteeism and turnover more costly. (Dore, R 1973).The Japanese employment system including factors such as internal labour markets, life-time employment, seniority wages is somewhat unique an thus must be considered one of the most important aspects of the Japanese management system. Lifetime employment and seniority wages are not a cultural hangover from the middle ages i.e. "kin-tract-ship" (Axel 1995). Management career structures were entrenched from the early stages of Industrialisation as the large Zabitsu companies copied the system of the public companies as the large sizes of these organisations allowed them to plan long-term and offer security (Cole, R and White, B and Bacdayan, P 1993). Long-term employment for manual workers was only developed relatively recently after WWI as a rational reaction to market conditions in which employees were moving from company to company looking for higher pay and conditions. Employers responded by looking to new graduates, training them internally, and offering permanent employment with seniority wages. (Odagiri, Hiroyuki 1992). Indeed the prestigious Nagasaki Shipbuilding Yard was said to have turnover in excess of 100% in 1910 before the introduction of the introduction of lifetime...

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