Part I: The Westernization of Japanese Management
Rene Duignan (Central Bank of Italy and Aoyama Gakuin University)
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At the July meeting of the GLOCOM Platform seminar series, Dr. Duignan talked about the westernization of Japanese management. The following is a summary of his presentation.
Much has been written about the "westernization" of the Japanese management system in the past few years and a cursory glance through the newspapers these days will reveal the growing extent of foreign influence within the Japanese economy. Debate often centers on whether Japanese society is suitable for a rapid adjustment to a "shareholder capitalism" type business system and whether the previous "stakeholder capitalism" system has become a costly and ineffective form of business "socialism". While this debate remains highly contentious and interesting, at the company level the perceptions of Japanese workers themselves are rarely tested in order to explore how they react and adjust to these new "foreign" employment practices and systems that are being imported to Japan. This presentation highlights the findings of a Ph.D. thesis from Aoyama Gakuin University, which was based on a comparative study on how Japanese white-collar workers evaluated their "organizations socialization" in a collection of Japanese, U.S. and European companies operating in Japan. Organizational socialization focuses on central aspects of an employment system, namely training, co-worker support, future prospects, understanding of operational role and understanding of company goals and objectives. It is hoped that this brief presentation will provoke some interesting discussion on some of these large issues of change that are facing Japanese companies, workers and wider society itself.