The Japanese Style of Training Managers
Just as the inculcation of company culture is different in Japanese firms from Western firms, the training of future managers differs significantly, as well. Responsibility for the function of training managers is generally given to middle-aged managers who, though well respected, have not been and will not be chosen to become company directors by the age of 45 or so and who, when they reach 55, are likely to be promoted to the top management of subsidiary or affiliated companies. These trainers are never the direct superiors of the young managerial trainees and often have no authority over them (Peterson, Spring 1988, p. 24).
Trainees are assigned to a particular manager on the basis of school ties and a general understanding that is not clearly defined. The relationship lasts for approximately 10 years, ending when the trainer retires or is transferred. During the intervening years, he is expected to act as an adviser to the young men attached to him, to help them with personal problems within or outside the company, and to introduce them to the art of entertaining business associates or clients. In the course of this relationship, the trainer is expected to become sufficiently acquainted with each young man under his "supervision" so that when the time comes he can give top management an accurate appraisal of the younger man's abilities, character and potential.
The guiding of many Western businessmen is that profit must be made; this standard pervades many endeavors and actions. Secondary consideration is given to needs of employees. Society as a whole in the West is considered separate from the government, and government and business relationships tend to be adversarial in the West.
Leading Japanese businessmen, on the other hand, automatically identify themselves as Japanese first and entrepreneurs second. Their guiding principles are: their overall responsibility to Japan;...
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