The Japanese Management Theory Jungle - Revisited

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Journal of Management




This study extends and updates a review published in the Academy of Management Review in 1984. First the external forces that have shaped Japanese management practices are reviewed. Next a description of the practices that have traditionally been viewed as Japanese management practices is presented. This section includes a discussion of overlapping Japanese organizations, long term planning horizons, decision making and control, just-in-time manufacturing, TQC, QCs and continuous improvement, aggressive R&D, lifetime employment, generalists career paths, company unions, and women as temporaries and support groups. The last section, focusing on the future of Japanese management, critiques the effectiveness of Japanese management practices, reviews the changes taking place in Japanese management, presents a model which conceptualizes the Japanese management system of the future, and identifies eleven propositions describing projected changes in this system. Finally, the problems inherent in the research reviewed are summarized and some needs for future research are discussed.