Comparison and Contrast : US versus Japanese style of Management
Comparison and Contrast: US versus Japanese Style of Management
Management of business organizations or companies is a vital aspect affecting its success in the industry. Without the use of an effective management, many companies will not be able to cope with the changes and the challenges that come their way. Because of this importance, organizations must be able to adopt an effective management style to improve their performance, to meet the demands of their clients, and to establish its pleasant reputation in the market. This paper makes a comparison and contrast on the characteristics of the US and the Japanese styles of management. The comparison and contrast of the characteristics of both styles of management will be used to explain why one style is not applicable with the other.
The Japanese Style of Management
It has been reported that the Japanese style of management is characterized by lifetime employment, a seniority wage system, groupism, and vague job classifications that mean an unspecified range of responsibilities and power (2007). Employees choose their employers, not their occupations, which matches with the practice of regular recruitment of new graduates and the training of new workers in specific business practices within each enterprise. Because the system and individual jobs in one enterprise are incompatible with those of others, there is a tendency created in employees to settle in one company, which justifies the immense educational investment made by the enterprise ( 2007).
In addition, its employment system of the Japanese is characterized by the “Three Sacred Treasures”, namely, permanent employment, seniority-based wages, and company-based trade unions. Permanent employment is done through job rotation and in-company training, while seniority system is characterized by the distribution of wages and status to employees in accordance with a person’s age, length of employment in a company, and personal characteristics that are important than job classification. Professional skills rise coincident with the length of service inside the company (1994). Moreover, its human resource management strategies include an internal labor market, a company philosophy that expresses concerns for employee needs, and an emphasis on cooperation and teamwork in a unique company environment. These strategies are expressed through the specific management techniques of open communications, job rotation and internal training, a competitive appraisal system, emphasis on work groups, consultative decision-making, hiring of fresh graduates, and a small gap between white-collar and blue-collar workers in terms of benefits, salary, and on-the-job prerequisites, such as cafeteria and parking spaces ( 1994). However, despite the ideal management of the Japanese, it is also characterized with discrimination, for women workers are considered as “shadow workers”, such that the maintenance of personnel management rules and practices serve to exclude the majority of women. Women’s participation in the labor force by age group demonstrates a bimodal pattern, such that in the 25 to 34 age group, the peak childbearing age participation is lowest, while participation for the 20 to 24 and the 45 to 49 age groups is highest (1994).
The US Style of Management
On the other hand, the American or US style of management can be understood in taking note of the culture of Americans. It has been reported that Americans are very informal and tend not to treat people differently even when there are great differences in age or social standing; they are highly competitive, are self-focused and goal-oriented; they are achievers, such that they emphasize accomplishments and keep scores, whether at work or at play; they are independent and individualistic, as they place a high value on freedom and believe that individuals can shape and control their own destinies; and they hold ethnocentric views, believing that their culture and values are superior to all others (1995). Their attitudes and cultures influence their management style, such that their being informal and being highly competitive allows them to adopt and implement a number and a variety of management styles, which include democratic, affiliative, authoritative, coercive, pacesetting, and coaching as reported by (2000). In addition, the its style of management involves “meddling” with the affairs of others, in accordance to their belief that if people are rational and of good will, any problem between them can be solved, such that the focus on problem solving comes from an emphasis on accomplishing objectives (1996). It requires that decisions should be supported by objective figures for their style of thinking is analytical and systematic. In contrast to the Japanese, Americans will never share in what they consider another person’s task (1996), thus, are not focused on work groups. In addition, they have clear distinction on white and blue-collar jobs, which have different levels of wages and description of jobs. However, because Americans are democratic, their management does not highly tolerate discrimination between men and women, and have no wage differences, unlike the Japanese.
Not Applicable with Each Other
From the differences of both management styles, it can be understood that the Japanese is not applicable to the American style of management, primarily because of their cultures and attitudes. The Japanese style of management is based upon their culture of having discipline and focus, with the integration of their beliefs that are influenced by Shintoism and Buddhism. The use of such influence enables the Japanese to manage their business firms with the right balance and focus, as they do in their religion and beliefs. However, this cannot be used by the Americans in managing their business organizations because given their attitude and culture; the Americans always depend upon their rationality and not on religion. In addition, the Japanese emphasize on working in groups in accomplishing a task, thus, the ideas and skills of their companions and colleagues matter in decision-making. On the other hand, the Americans are individualistic and focus on achieving their personal goals, without the thought of the work of others. This means that the Americans believe of attaining their success without the help of others. Moreover, because the Japanese is a patriarchal-type of society, they believe that the role of men is more valuable than the role of women in terms of the corporate environment. This is not applicable in the management of American organizations as Americans are democrats and fight for the equal rights of men and women in the different aspects of society. With this, it would be difficult for the two management styles to coincide. However, both can adopt traits from one another that they perceive to be beneficial to their companies. With this, adequate assessment must be done to properly evaluate the trait that can be used by both management styles, and ensure the growth and development of their business organizations.
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