This paper was submitted for publication 8/4/06 and is copyright to Om P. Kharbanda© 2006.
Published here September 2006.

Introduction | Background to the Japanese Environment | A Unique Concept in Projects
Slow Decision Making, But Quick Execution | The Role of the Computer
 Teams Can Work Wonders | More Plus Factors for Japan | The Role of Information

Slow Decision Making, But Quick Execution

It seems that in the final analysis the Japanese win, even though they may take a long time to reach a decision. Once the decision is taken, they move decisively, and thus complete projects far quicker than is usual in the West. Some years ago Britain licensed paraxylene technology to the Japanese. Simultaneously an identical plant was being built in the UK. After four months, with the ground already broken, and the foundations going in, the British team were priding themselves in being well ahead, while the Japanese were still debating design issues. But the Japanese completed their plant seven months ahead and put it to work successfully immediately, whereas the British plant suffered the usual teething troubles and only achieved design capacity some three months after startup.

It seems that the Japanese plan while discussing and arriving at a consensus, created the necessary commitments. When they actually start they then move with such speed, concentration and understanding of each other's roles that they easily outdo the average Western company. The Japanese value teamwork far more than individual achievement, and this approach is very effective. The theory in the West is that top management creates a vision or a dream, but in practice it is middle management that both creates the concept and implements it.[9]

A Unique Concept in Projects  A Unique Concept in Projects

9. Nonaka, I., Toward middle-up-down management - Acceleration in creativity, Sloan Management Review, Vol. 29, Spring 1988, No. 3, pp. 9-18.
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