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Yoshida, K. 1989. Deming management philosophy: Does it work in the US as well as in Japan? Columbia Journal of World Business (Fall): 10-17.

Summary by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida

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Yoshida compares the American and Japanese approaches to management including the value system of workers, approach and attitudes in the area of quality control, timing of performance review, human resource replacement policy, and level of autonomy and responsibility. These approaches are summarized in the table below.

Comparison of the American Analytic versus the Japanese Holistic Approaches
Characteristic American Japanese
Value system
of workers
Diverse value systems of workers creates the need for detailed job descriptions and a multitude of job classifications. Since workers are not cross trained and tend not to share and help each other, job descriptions must be fairly precise. (This seems to require the bureaucratic form of control) Unified common values creates little need for detailed job descriptions. Workers are multi-skilled and help each other, thus few job classifications are needed. For example, in a joint venture of GM and Toyota, (NUMMI) Toyota reduced GM's 100 job classifications to 1. (Consistent with the clan form of control)
Approach and attitudes in the area of quality control Achieve an acceptable level within specifications. Achieve the most desirable level of perfection.
Timing of performance review Short run quarterly or annual. (Bureaucratic form) Long run, e.g., every five years. (Clan form)
Human resource replacement policy Workers are viewed as replaceable parts. Thus, replace (hire and fire) separable workers as needed. Workers are viewed as part of an organic entity. In an economic downturn, retrain and relocate workers within the company. Release and replace workers only as a last resort.
Level of autonomy and responsibility A focus on the parts requires high levels of autonomy, sectionalism, competition and assumed independence in the areas of responsibility and performance. Optimizing the parts will optimize the whole. A focus on the whole requires low levels of autonomy, with high levels of cooperation, consensus decisions, collective responsibility and recognition of interdependence among the parts. Because of synergy, optimizing the parts will not optimize the whole.

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