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Management of Confucius
Features of the Japanese culture of management
While the best minds of the planet are puzzled over how to organize work more efficiently to maximize its efficiency, the superdisciplined Japanese have managed to develop a management structure that allowed the rising sun of the rising sun in just two decades to become the world's second largest GDP.
Frequent floods, earthquakes and other disasters have instilled in the Japanese the conviction that "the interests of the group come first." Moreover, this imperative turned out to be so strong that in Japanese society, which, it would seem, has long ceased to need such powerful connections between its members, the average individual is still constrained by such a concept as "weight", or "debt of honor" in relation to group and rules of conduct in it. In Japan, loyalty to the group and the fulfillment of a proper social role are the main moral guidelines. A person in the process of his formation passes through many such groups (family, school, university). At a certain stage, the place of work becomes such a rallying point. How important it is for a Japanese to be involved in his company is demonstrated by the following fact: often in everyday speech, saying "uchi" (literally - "home", "family"), a resident of the Land of the Rising Sun will not mean home or household members, namely the place of work.
The notorious "debt of honor" instructs the Japanese to carry out overtime unquestioningly, Japanese company employees rarely use extra days off and do not use fully paid leave, fearing to demonstrate a lack of loyalty. The employee clearly realizes that he is an important part of a large whole, he is doing important work and the final result will depend, in part, on him, and in case of failure, the honor of the group will fall. Perhaps that is why the Japanese enterprises of the automobile industry employ 1000 workers on average only 25 days of absenteeism per year (against 343 days in the US).
Status comes with age
Another typical “Confucian” trait that found its expression in the Japanese management culture is respect for the elders: when you are promoted, the main role is played by age and experience in the company, personal and professional qualities are secondary. Therefore, the young specialist who works in a Japanese company, most likely, should not hope for a dizzying rise on the career ladder according to the American scenario. Higher status in Japan comes with age, and those workers who believe that their immediate superiors unfairly deprive them of attention, and therefore decide to transfer to another job, are in for a fierce disappointment: citizens who change employers often are discriminated in wages, benefits are cut off pensions, and they have to start from lower than before positions. In a word, those who show insufficient loyalty are treated like second-rate people, because the principle of “keep a low profile” operates in the Confucian group - the team itself can recognize someone else's primacy, but it is considered a bad form to achieve it.
It would be naive to believe that the employee is wholly confined in the Confucian framework and works on the naked enthusiasm in anticipation of a nonsky increase. A new employee, coming to the service, in fact entrusts his fate to the company: the management cares about the welfare of his subordinates for the long term. In addition to stable wages, employees get insurance, travel expenses on public transport, etc. The “protective” management function often takes on a completely material form: when a crisis sets in, earnings are cut down primarily for management personnel.
On the booze by the whole department
One of the most outstanding finds of the Japanese management structure, which in many respects predetermined the high quality of products and the financial success of companies, is the kanban system, or “just in time”. Its essence is that the workpiece arrives at the next stage of processing strictly at the time when the worker performing this operation is ready to perform it qualitatively. If someone feels that he is unable to cope with his duties or is unable to promptly eliminate the defect, it is allowed to stop the entire production line: there is an underload of capacity in the distribution of working time, which makes it possible to rush to understand the possible causes of malfunctions. Quantity to the detriment of quality is an unthinkable phenomenon for the Japanese, therefore, the marriage rate of these Japanese products was reduced to a minimum. By the way, the distribution system works in the same way - a strictly defined quantity of goods is delivered to stores at a specific time. This allows you to minimize the reserve and, ultimately, save on storage facilities.
Smokes, means "knocks"
Despite the abundance of advantages, the Japanese management style is still not universal. As practice shows, if, say, the French or German model can be introduced in other cultures, the application of the features of the national leadership outside the Land of the Rising Sun leads to mixed results. Strict orders, which the Japanese perceive as a matter of course, representatives of Western cultures, including Russian employees of branches of Japanese companies, regard as encroachment on personal freedom, and Japanese pedantry becomes torture.
In the Moscow offices of Hitachi and Mitsubishi, employees are forced to come to work strictly by the time - due to automatic registration, a delay of at least one minute is counted as a truancy throughout the first half of the day, and the corresponding half-day is deducted from paid leave. There are no excuses for "traffic jams", of course, the automatics does not accept (therefore the Japanese prefer to get to work on public transport, despite the fact that this sometimes means many hours of traveling in a crowded subway every morning). In many companies, built-in tracking systems for PC users every 15-20 minutes make automatic screen shots. Conversations on the mobile phone, even on personal topics are allowed only in the workplace - it is believed that the employee who went to a smoke break will certainly "salt" confidential information to competitors.
In general, the thoughtful, contemplative Japanese system on the Russian land looks alien. One employee of the Russian branch of Itochu Corporation complained that the lion’s share of working time was spent on reporting. Perhaps, such scrupulousness looks wildly, but here, you see, there is something to think about: is it not the ability to stop in time and analyze their actions that allowed the Japanese to achieve such phenomenal economic success?