Japanese style management 2435


Ross Mouer

Japanese style management (JSM) (nihonteki
kei ei) is a loosely defined term used to indicate
the way employees are managed in firms and
other organizations in Japan. Accordingly, its
meaning changes as micro economic realities
change. At the same time, the term is used to
distinguish from management practices in Japan
more generally (nihon no kei ei or nihon ni okeru
kei ei) to those employment practices that are
alleged to be uniquely Japanese (nihonteki) and
to have a peculiarly Japanese cultural imprint.
Using the term to indicate the packaged set of
practices which are described below, many
acknowledge that what they refer to exists
mainly in Japans large firms. In this context,
JSM was popularly used in the 1970s to deline
ate a number of interrelated practices demarcat
ing the way work was organized in Japan (or at
least in Japans largest firms) from how it was
conceived elsewhere.
The practices initially receiving attention
were lifetime employment, seniority wages,
and enterprise unionism. These came to be
known as the three pillars, the three sacred
treasures, or the three sacred emblems of indus
trial relations in Japan. Although the cultural
uniqueness of each has been challenged, some
have argued that it is the overall mix as an
integrated system that has been unique. The
belief that these practices were unique to Japan
was bolstered by references to other phenomena
alleged to be outcomes of the unique features:
Japans low levels of industrial disputes
(reflecting a high value placed on social consen
sus), long hours worked in Japan (as part of a
special culturally ordained work ethic), the pro
vision of certain types of company welfare such
as employee housing (emanating from familial
and paternalistic orientations found in Japans
traditional agricultural communities), and lower
labor turnover (reflecting an innate sense of
loyalty to the company as a primary group;
i.e., a surrogate family). In its second report on
industrial relations in Japan in 1977, an OECD

may lead to depression, insane delusions, alter
nating selves, mediumships or possessions, and
false memories.
In Varieties of Religious Experience, James
describes pathologies associated withthe sick
soul and the divided self. These illnesses are
driven by conditions where, in some indivi
duals, the Is knowledge of the world gives rise
to an awareness of inevitable suffering and the
demise of self. This knowledge challenges and
undermines the religious and philosophical
ideas held by the spiritual self that give meaning
and purpose to existence. As a result, the Soul,
perceiving its own suffering and demise, is
pained and sick. In addition, the self is divided
and conflicted because the Spiritual Me is at
a loss to provide direction to the Social Me and
the Material Me which, without direction, may
conflict with one another. In response, people
may suffer neurosis, hopelessness, depression,
and sadness, and some will search other reli
gions and philosophies for more comforting
beliefs that, in some cases, may relieve their
anguish and give them a sense of being

SEE ALSO: Cooley, Charles Horton; Goff
man, Erving; Mead, George Herbert; Pragma
tism; Self; Self Esteem, Theories of; Social
Psychology; Symbolic Interaction


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James, W. (1898) Human Immortality. Houghton
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James, W. (1902) The Varieties of Religious Experi
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James, W. (1907) Pragmatism: A New Name for Some
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James, W. (1909) The Meaning of Truth. Longmans,
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