Japanese work ethics


Selvarajah, Christopher T.; Petzall, Stanley

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Japanese management is currently a prime topic in management circles. Australia and other industrialised nations have been amazed at the rapid pace of development in the Far-East. This development has now spread to other culturally similar economies in East Asia, to the embarrassment of the developed world. Countries in the developed world had taken it for granted that their superior knowledge in technology and management skills would provide them with the means of continuing world economic dominance. This, we now know, is no longer true. The basis of economic growth and development may have more to do with attitudes to work, than merely possession of advanced technology or even management skills. In this paper we will examine the cultural factors lying behind the Japanese style of management and identify the main features of Japanese work ethics. Some attempt is also made to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese management style. We also critically evaluate Ouchigs celebrated Theory Z. Finally we will look at the lessons of Japanese work ethics for Australia and other developed Western nations.

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Publication type

Working paper


Faculty of Business staff papers, no. 58


Swinburne Institute of Technology




Copyright © 1989 Christopher T. Selvarajah.