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Japan Cultural Changed

In: Business and Management

Submitted By Anutra
Words 1805
Pages 8
Anutra Rujivipat

1. What are the triggers of cultural change in Japan during the 1990s? How is cultural change starting to affect traditional values in Japan?

As we know that when time changes, everything will be changed. Culture does not stay constant. Many different period of times also have many different cultures, social values, believes, and so on. In japan, the old generations, which are collectivism, have a strong belief of nationalism. They grew up with many difficulties and have to work hard in order to make their family, their country success so that it takes a lot of patient. In consequences, they must seek for the convenience of life for example, cheap accommodation, retirement bonus, and guaranteed lifetime employment. Therefore, they are willing to work hard and pay royalty to the company to exchange with those rewards. On the other hand, the new generations like people who born after 1964 have lacked popularity of their parents. Those new generations grew up in the richer and more stable society. The only two things that they concerned are their selves and their family, not about the country anymore. Therefore, with the different style of living, social value, Japan’s culture changed. The idea that the company has to take care of its employees with wide range of benefits in order to gain respect from those employees does not exist anymore because of the fact that the new generations do not pay royalty to the company like the old ones. Moreover, they do not want to be salary-man and work at the same company for all of their life. The way of doing businesses in Japan also have to change in order to suit with the new generations.

2. How might Japan’s changing culture influence the way Japanese businesses operate in the future? What are the potential implications of such changes for the Japanese economy?

According to Japan’s changing culture that discussed earlier, it influences Japanese businesses to change the way of operating. The company has to change its policy to adapt with the current situation. For example that described in the case, the new system was introduced and available for employees. Three choices to choose the most suit choice for them. The first choice is stated with the traditional one that the employees were eligible to live in subsidized company housing, go buy subsidize services such as banking from group companies, go free to company organized social events, and receive the retirement bonus equal to his two years salaries. The second alternative is provided for those who do not want any retirement bonus. They can get the higher amount of starting salary and keep company housing. The last scheme is more preferable to the new generation that they have to lose both retirement bonus and the subsidized services while being compensated by the higher starting salary, which is also higher than the second choice. From the statistic, 44 percent of all employees choose to lose their retirement bonus, 41 percent choose the second alternative and 3 percent choose the third one. When huge amount of people do not have a retirement bonus, it will increase the government’s burden that Japanese government has to subsidiary more money for the retired person. Therefore, government must seek for more funds in order to have an ability to hold this duty. In consequences, the government might need to charge more tax from working people who has income or borrow from aboard like IMF. This might lead to government budget deficit that the government has to change its policy and the way of controlling the country.

3. How did traditional Japanese culture benefit Matsushita during the period from the 1950s to the 1980s? Did traditional values become more of liability during the 1990s and early 2000s? How so?

From 1950s to the 1980s, Japanese culture benefit Matsushita in doing its business because the company could get along well with its employees. The old generations, as discussed earlier, were collectivism, have a strong belief of nationalism, and willing to scarify their lifetime doing a hard work in order to exchange with many convenience things that could get from their own company. In the business point of view, it was great that their employees give royalty to the firm. Therefore, the company is also willing to give its employees the convenience of life too. For example, retirement bonus, guaranteed lifetime employment, and cheap accommodation. It is a win-win situation between Matsushita and workers. However, when time passed, Japanese cultural is also changed. During the 1990s and early 2000s, the new generations grew up in richer society with more comfortable and easier life. They did not want to spend all of their lifetime being the employees in the same corporation so that they did not want to scarify their life to the company anymore. This type of organization did not create any value or advantage like before. It could be counted as liabilities to the business because the firm has to waste its money, offers, and so on to its workers who did not actually want it. The loyalty to the company might not be reciprocated and it was a bad situation to both company and workers. Therefore, those win-win situation, which appeared during 1950s to 1980s, did not still exist anymore.

4. What is Matsushita trying to achieve with human resource changes it has announced? What are the impediments to successfully implementing these changes? What are the implications for Matsushita if (a) the changes are made quickly or (b) it takes years or even decades to fully implement the changes?

Once Matsushita trying to achieve with human resource changes, it said that it would close 30 factories in Japan, cut 13,000 jobs including 1,000 management jobs. This announcement implies that the company wants to keep a skill worker who aims to work, sacrificed his life to work hard, and has a very nice job. Moreover, the company also wants to terminate those poor performances who are unwilling to work, lazy, and do not work well. Therefore, employees might feel that they are under pressure and have more incentive to work harder if they still do not want to get fired by their employers. The impediments to successfully implementing these changes are the command inside choices of controlling its managers. Remind that although the employees have 3 alternatives to choose which one is the best suit for them, they all are still under the condition that offers them so that they cannot even create their own choice. In case that the Japanese business made the changes so quickly, it would be alienate for those old generation that they might not adjust themselves to be familiar with the new circumstance and method of working. On the other hand, if the changes take many years or even decades in order to fully implement the changes, those who have poor performances in which being discussed earlier would take a benefit from the company so it means that Japanese companies would be traded off because they have to pay salaries to people who do not deserve it. The more of poor worker stay in the company, the less profit the company will get.

5. Why do you think Matsushita reorganized itself into stand-alone worldwide business divisions?

Before Japanese company has been faced with cultural changes that force the company to change the way of managing its firm, shareholders, managers, and all employees, the method of the organization in Matsushita that was called “Byzantine organizational structure”, which merges all departments in the company. They have to work dependently as every department has to work altogether. This type of management could create a problem that it was so difficult in order to detect what sector or department was done the un-qualified job in order to give it a punishment and find out what sector was done the great job in order to give it a reward or bonus. In 2002, Matsushita undertook a significant reorganization. Matsushita’s design moved into new industries in order to adjust itself with the current culture in Japan at that time. For example, the network communications technology and software engineering. It began to praise democratization of employees and also has sought to encourage individuality by replacing the old system with 17 stand-alone worldwide businesses in which all departments will be obviously separated into an independent one and focused on a particular product sector. This kind of management could make it a lot easier in order to detect what department was done a wrong thing and seek out what sector was done a well-qualify task. Moreover, it is easier to choose the employees who deserve the reward from the company and who deserved to get fired or reduced salary. Furthermore, work cycle in the company would go faster together with higher quality increasing because all works are done systematically.

6. What does the Matsushita case teach you about the relationship between societal culture and business success?

As we know that every culture has its sub culture and that sub culture also has its own sub culture too. This is the reason why we do not have the same culture as our parents. Moreover, different people have a different belief, thinking, and style or different kinds of companies, even in the different departments also do not have exactly the same culture too. In real life, changes in culture always come up with changes in business form too. Matsushita is one of the best example cases of the relationship between societal culture and business success. We can see in this case that societal culture is the very importance key factor that drives business for their success. The way of managing business changes according to the change in cultural because the firm has to adapt with all situations. However, such a change cannot be made too quick or too slow because it would come up with negative result as discussed earlier. Moreover, the most important key factor in order to achieve the aims of succession is an ethic. Every company must have ethic in doing its business. Ethics concern an individual's moral judgments about right and wrong. Decisions taken within an organization may be made by individuals or groups, but whoever makes them will be influenced by the culture of the company. The decision to behave ethically is a moral one. Both employers and employees must decide what they think is the right course of action. This may involve rejecting the route that would lead to the biggest profit to the company. The firm also has to compromise and have alternatives for both old generation and new generation. Nowadays, not only Japanese business but also all of the businesses around the world have the ethical part along with other strategies.

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