Human Resource Development
The change in approach from Personnel management to Human Resource Development, wherein the employees of an enterprise rather than being considered as just another resource such as land or capital, are now seen as a valuable source of competitive advantage to be nurtured, is also a manifestation of the influence of Japanese business culture.
The concept of “amae", or protection to the employee, is rooted in the business culture of Japan. With “amae" the employer takes up direct responsibility for the welfare of the employees, and provides them with higher pay and enhanced benefits, such as free housing based on the employee’s tenure in the company, while still rewarding outstanding performance.
While western corporations still adopt pay for performance, or pay for results, rather than pay for seniority, the trend of employers investing in the employees training and development needs, providing them with benefits, and trying to retain talent through a host of initiatives and facilities all bear influence to “amae." Many leadership styles such as servant leadership also owes its roots to this approach.
The Japanese also practiced “Shojinka" or flexible workforce. Initiatives such as multi-tasking, job enlargement, job enrichment, and others, aimed at workplace flexibility in western corporations, bear a striking similarity to such Japanese management concepts.
Japanese corporations prefer hiring fresh graduates, training them, and molding their culture to fit the organizational culture. They also have mentors to help new graduates learn their positions, and the concept of mentors is now all the rage in western corporations. Western corporations now consider the need to achieve a fit between individual values and culture, and organizational values, as indispensable for success.
Japanese workers remain loyal to the company and socialize with their business co-workers to establish credibility and friendships. While the concept of life long employment with a company is not unknown in western culture, more and more companies realize the benefits of after hours socializing among employers as a means to improve teamwork and communications.