The Morioka Manufacturing

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Discuss the following questions in class before reading the case.
1. In your opinion, what are the reasons for the Japanese “economic miracle” that has occurred since World War II?
2. Many Japanese companies have become extremely successful in international business during the past twenty years. Which Japanese firms and products are well known in your country? In your opinion, why have these Japanese products been so successful?
3. The Japanese style of management has received considerable attention lately because of the success of the Japanese in doing business overseas. What do you know about Japanese management techniques?
4. How would you describe the system of management that is widely used in your
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A third characteristic of Japanese human-resource management is the use of a generalist career path. That is, Japanese workers and managers are trained in one area of specialization when they join the firm, then rotated among assignments and specializations during their careers so that everyone learns several job skills. Someone hired as a financial analyst may be shifted into the personnel department after four or five years, and then into government-business relations after that. A worker who spends all or most of his time on an assembly line may be moved into repair work and subsequently into another type of assembly-line activity. This policy enhances the flexibility of the firm, because people can be shifted from job to job. It also enables the firm to operate more efficiently by imparting more skills to managers and workers. Thus, no one becomes overspecialized, and everyone spends some time in areas outside of the initial area of specialization, although a worker or manager may return to a preferred specialty after spending time working in other areas. Finally (in this brief sketch), Japanese firms use a system of consultative decision making, which attempts to pass information about important company activities from the top managers all the way down to the lowest-ranking workers. In particular, decisions that will affect people in any

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