Just copying my substitute report for today’s special lecture. But as always, i’m blurting too much it should be around 300 words, but i ended up with around 800, oh how i love to write! And writing things like this reminds me of my good old high school varsity debating time 😀
Japanese Companies and its Business Cultures
As a country, Japan has a quite distinctive business cultures inside a company, especially compared with Western Countries. One of its most distinctive characteristic is about how they always do everything in full of respect to the others, especially the customer when they are doing business. For example, it is a common thing in Japan if you are being given a good service, being greet when you enter and get out from a shop because Japanese way to do business is service oriented. Service is a pillar of Japanese business culture and one of their main goals is to keep customer happy.
The same respectful attitude is also can be seen when doing business with the Japanese. There is a tradition called meishi kohan in the beginning of a meeting, when you have to exchange business card, read it carefully, and refers to it during the meeting. It might be a bit overdue compared to the Western Countries business culture, but this shows that you respect and value the meeting with that specific person. Still inside a meeting, it is also very common to direct one initial comment from the highest ranking person present. It means that Japanese working culture really value the wisdom and experience of more senior employee. In their business culture, the relation between coworkers in workplace are being kept formal and we also have to note that bowing to a person with highest position is a very common thing in Japan.
Japanese business culture tends to be a very structured. A very structured working style is implemented every day. There are strict working hour for the employee, zangyou (working overtime) is also a very common habit as well. Every morning you can see that employees are often gathered in a morning meeting where they shout out their company slogan. The purpose of this is to inspire each individual with working motivations to the company, keeping their loyalty to the company, and company’s goal everyday fresh in mind.
Another common characteristic of Japan business culture is they really try to keep the harmony among people. When dealing with a project, the role of individual contribution is important but in the end the whole group must succeed. Every employee is given the same basic rights inside the company regardless their position. Japan employs a principal called hourensou where information flow and collaboration is attempting to reach all of the employee. Japan also employs another principal called genchi genbutsu where regardless of their position, every employee must be involved in solving problems, even the leader is not exempted from this. Speaking about the rights of each employee to speak out their mind, Japan employs a principal called ringiseido to accommodate this idea. Ringiseido means that every employee can talk their idea to the manager of their group, and then each equal ranking manager have an equal opportunity to speak out their member’s idea in a meeting, so that every idea from every individual can be heard.
One of the interesting point in Japanese business culture is about the lifetime employment that they apply. Generally once a person submit a contract to work inside a Japanese companies, except some rare case happen they will work for that company for all of their life. To keep employees satisfied and working in a good environment, Japanese companies treat their employees like a family, giving them a lot of facilities, financial, health, child education and insurance supports. Good monetary rewards are also being given, the longer they stay the bigger salary that they will get.
The last two things that I want to underline about Japanese business culture are their risk-avoider and process-focusing nature. Japanese companies tend to be decisive and employ a lot of stage in their decision making. Japanese tends to avoid risk, instead of taking risk. Each of their decision making inside a group is being thought deeply and involves the ideas of every person inside that group. This is believed to minimize error, create a consistent, and cautious decision. Japanese companies also believe that process is an important thing. Japanese companies, for example they do not only want to get the ROI (return on investment) back but also focusing on how to get that ROI back.
However, there are some several negative things inside the Japanese business culture, for example sometimes employees are feeling very stressful, because they put work life as a more important aspect than their personal life. Bad work career mainly leads to a stress problem that occasionally leads to an attempt to do suicide. In Japan, suicide is a big problem and it is already known that mostly the people that do suicide is salary man. Apart from some bad impact that Japanese business culture give, we can still conclude, that being one of Asia’s economic giant, Japan’s business culture is one of the most exceptional among Asian countries.