From the Archives of a Common Sensei – Volume 8: The Dynamics of Japanese Leadership

In prior volumes of From the Archives of a Common Sensei, volumes 1 through 7 we discussed various methods to better understand and to analyze our various organizations. Although some of the terminology included may reference manufacturing, healthcare or another sector, the analysis concepts are essentially the same, or at least similar. In digging through my “archives” I came across a paper I wrote thirty-three years ago (1988), early into my relationship with Japanese business and the emergence of early Toyota and Toyoda manufacturing growth in the United States. I researched and wrote a paper to better understand the “Dynamics of Japanese Management Techniques”, and the differences when compared to management practices in Western companies (at least at that time). I was surprised by the interest shown by several from the Japanese business community at the time. The comment was even made that I had developed a better understanding of the differences than they had understood. Many of the principles and attributes of Japanese Companies are still valid and present in Japanese companies today. Many Western companies have also adopted the best of the Japanese companies, however, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Before someone points out that some changes have taken place in Japanese companies as they move toward working with Western business, I understand that! I will also state that we have had more to gain by learning the best practices from the Toyota businesses than they have had by learning Western business practices.

Below I have included Appendix A (Culture and Management) and Appendix B (Japanese Manager vs American Manager) of the above paper for easy review and emphasis. I have found these two documents to be on target and enlightening. Think of the results if the best of both East and West values and practices were incorporated into your organization? I have been fortunate that several of the organizations I have worked with (or mentored), in the US and in several countries in Europe, have made the leap to incorporate the best of East and West management practices leading to inclusiveness and high performing teams that produce highly effective and value creating results for customers and investors.

Both lists deserve recognition be given to their authors: Appendix A – Milton Feldman in 1972; Appendix B – Yasuko Hirata in 1975.

Max Allway

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One thought on “From the Archives of a Common Sensei – Volume 8: The Dynamics of Japanese Leadership

  1. *Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.


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