Origin, Similarities and Differences: a Comparison Between Chinese and Japanese Organizational Cultures Essay
Organizational culture, which is also called corporate culture, is an idea in the field of organizational studies and management which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and cultural values) of an organization. It is a new type of enterprise management theory and an important development of modern management science component which raised in the 1980s. It has been defined as “the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization” by Charles W.
L. Hill, and Gareth R. Jones. Values are the core of corporate culture.
Although “organizational culture” was first put forward in America by an American professor, Stanley M. Davis, Japanese put it into practice. During the recovery and development after World War II, Japan combined the operational theory that learned from America with the organizations’ operation and management and made a great progress, which made America learned from it in turn.
Similarities between Chinese and Japanese organizational cultures Both Chinese and Japanese corporate cultures belong to East Asian cultures in essence and were deeply influenced by Chinese ancient traditional culture. They put ethics, morality and orthodoxy into companies’ daily operations and managements, also Confucianism and teamwork principle into companies’ construction of corporate culture. At the core of the Japanese mind there is a basic notion of ANIMISM, this is the belief that everything has a spirit which is the nature-worshipping religion of Shintoism.
Confucianism, Taoism and other schools of thought which came from China are added on top of Shintoism. For instance, Confucianism advocates senses of “ren, yi, li, zhi, xin, xiao and zhong”, which mean “humanity, justice, manners, wisdom, faith, filial piety and loyalty”, which are widely used as guideline in companies’ actions in both China and Japan. Many famous enterprisers search incisive notions benefit for their managements from some Chinese traditional masterpieces such as < the Analects of Confucius>, < Master Sun’s Art of War> and < The Romance of the Three Kingdoms>, then make them into core themes of their corporate cultures.
What’s more, both Chinese and Japanese take family vary seriously in their lives and that is also a very sinificant virtue in oriental cultural. Extent to business, it is related to familism business. We all know that it is very common that the role of family is crucial in the structure and operation in Chinese firms. Many traditional ethnic-Chinese firms are basically family businesses so when operating this kind of business they are relying almost totally on family resources in both capital and personnel needs as well as moral reasoning.
There are two types of familism, namely structural and normative, can be found in this kind of firm. The Japanese companies also believe in familism. Besides the “blood” relationship, Japanese familism is significant in social as well, which means staffs in companies are easy to obtain their status by loyalty and ability. To be specific, by making the company’s atmosphere feel like at home, company can offer a good and harmonious working environment to its employees.
The company produces emotional dependency and employees are expected to have a better communication and cultivate the company’s loyalty to unleash their full potential; By exerting a subtle influence on employees, they will gradually treat the enterprise as a big family, and they are family members who are cared about, sheltered and fostered in this big family. With this kind of individual belongingness, the employees will not only consider their own interests but the company’s as well.
Both Chinese and Japanese companies emphasize solidarity, they don’t favor individuality, so consensus valued above confrontation in these companies, which means collective interest valued much highly than personal interest. They adopt collective decision-making system when some important decision should be made. The process of decision-making is discussed over times by group members and then various suggestions will be thrown out, and choose a most proper one finally. Because all group members take participate in decision-making, they all will feel responsible for the decision and the final effect.
However, Japanese enterprisers believe “people-oriented” as well, but the “people-oriented” based on employees’ working attitude and enthusiasm, not personal needs, therefore it also requires employees to devote themselves to company, even need to sacrifice their own interests sometimes. So it is important for enterprises to make employees accept this idea and be willing to contribute all of their energy and talent to enterprises. One similar saying in China is “Bidder popular world”. Popular” is the basis of exerting the internal enthusiasm for employee, when the employees begin to realize that they are regarded as owners of the companies by leaders, the desire of contribution will orient, and the employees will devote themselves to the enterprise. Both Chinese and Japanese corporate cultures advocate patriotism and building brand identity. Many companies in China take “Diligent and Thrifty” as their slogan. One of the companies is Qingdao DoubleStar, it believes building name brand is love its own country and people.
In Japan, there is “total quality control”, one of the enterprise representatives is Panasonnic, it considers nation interest as the first matter. Due to the influence of Chinese traditional moral thought “the Three Cardinal Guides (ruler guides subject, father guides son and husband guides wife) and Five Constant Virtues (benevolence, righteousness, propriety, knowledge and sincerity)”, companies in China and Japan all pay attention to the communications between leaders and staffs and they don’t encourage strict hierarchy.
Specifically, Japanese companies favor solving problems collectively, which way they think can get information from each other easier and reduce costs; In China , companies follow the way “Democratic Consultation” to operate and manage firm, which under the guidance of ideological and political work from above. In terms of the cultivation of employees’ culture spirit, it is a essential part in Chinese and Japanese companies’ operational practices.
It aim for cultivating a criterion that employees take royalty to their company as their action principle. Japanese enterprises adopted life-time employment, so the companies become the second family for staffs, which enhance staffs’ royalty as a result. Within the Japanese business world, the corporation is not seen as been there for just profit. Profit is important, but it is not the only reason for the company’s existence, but involves people and their future.
The community factor is as important, and sometimes more important than, short term profitability. The Japanese business people see their company as a community, this community has within in it people who happen to live together by working together. There is a similar situation in China. Employers tend to spend their whole working life in one organization, especially in government enterprise, there is a relatively lower rate of job-hopping in government enterprise. Most Japanese enterprisers have a agreement: business is humanity.
Toyota believes it does not only make cars, it make people’s mind as well, which is a typical symbol of Japanese organizations emphasize their employees’ spiritual world. Matsushita Electric Corporation also attaches great importance to spiritual values, so it offer staff Education and training in corporation. For example, requiring employees to repeatedly read and understand the spirit of Panasonic. Every day at 8 am, Matsushita employees throughout Japan, Panasonic 7 at the same time reading the spirit, along with singing the company song.
This emphasis on corporate culture is to allow all workers always bear in mind the company’s goals and mission, constantly remind themselves, so that Matsushita carry forward the spirit of long-lasting. Similarly, in China, there is a clear task for companies to do: to cultivate their staffs become people with lofty ideals, integrity, knowledge and a strong sense of discipline. So we can see that because of the cultural homogeneity, there are many similarities in Chinese and Japanese organizational cultures.