Over the last 20 years there has been increasing interest by Western companies in Japanese management practices (JMPs). Interest in these methods has grown as a result of the large performance gaps which apparently exist between Japanese manufacturers and their Western counterparts, in terms of both productivity and quality. Looks at a number of studies in an effort to determine whether Japanese practices can be successfully transferred abroad or whether they are culturally bound. This is followed by a look at the conditions under which Japanese management practices have been successfully utilised by Western companies. It is argued that Western managers must avoid just blindly copying Japanese practices and should be encouraged to become aware of why certain Japanese approaches have been successful. Finally, consideration needs to be given to the underlying factors of that success which are necessary and appropriate to their own company’s advancement.
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