Invasion of the Salarymen: The Japanese Business Presence in America

Invasion of the Salarymen: The Japanese Business Presence in America

Invasion of the Salarymen: The Japanese Business Presence in America

Invasion of the Salarymen: The Japanese Business Presence in America

Synopsis

During the 1980s a host of books on management proclaimed the triumph of Japanese companies' emphasis on corporate values, loyalty, lifetime employment, and consensus. In the first full-length study of Japanese direct investment in the United States, Jeremiah Sullivan shows that Japanese companies generally have not performed well and that part of their problem is poor management. Contrary to popular belief, management practices in Japan are rooted in the clever use of power rather than the development of loyalty or values. While the system of highly authoritarian but benevolent managers and submissive employees has transferred well to some rural manufacturing firms in the United States, it has fared poorly in urban areas. Using the results of extensive interviews and surveys, Sullivan begins by profiling both an effective and an ineffective Japanese manager in the United States. He describes their reactions to America's individualism, patriotism, and day-to-day work practices. Broadening the focus, he describes economic and strategic reasons for the rush of Japanese direct investment and summarizes the data on profitability (low), productivity (less than U.S.-owned firms), and the impact on the American economy (generally beneficial or, at least, harmless). Japanese management philosophy and practices are analyzed in terms of the idea of work, the nature of a company, and the function of profit. Also discussed are lifetime employment, trust-building, decision making, and communication in the organization. These practices are shown in use both in Japan and in Japanese firms in America. Several chapters describe training of Japanese managers for work in the United States and of Americansin Japanese-owned companies.
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