Japanese Cultural Changes

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Submitted By heavenprayer
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For the second question, firstly we need to consider how traditional Japanese culture benefited Matsushita during the period from the 1950s to the 1980s. And secondly we try to understand whether these traditional values became more of a liability during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Japanese traditional Confucian culture helped Matsushita become a major economic power during the post-war years and through the 1980s. Just as my group-mate Donald has mentioned, Matsushita agreed to take care of its employees for life by providing many benefits, such as subsidized housing, retirement bonuses, and guaranteed lifetime employment. These benefits have been seen as a motivation for employees’ loyalty and commitment to the corporate. Therefore this traditional culture has built up a good industrial relationship in which the employees worked hard and Matsushita reciprocated by fulfilling their needs and wants.

However, the prolonged economic slump that began in the 1990s made these commitments difficult to keep. Matsushita was saddled with high expenses and decided to cut the number of employees, in order words, abandon the lifetime employment. And this decision made many employees lose their confidence and loyalty to Matsushita.

However, personally speaking, I don’t agree with the saying that traditional culture is a liability for Matsushita at that time. To better understand, I would like to share with you a video clip from Matsushita’s CEO defining about culture. According to Mr. Taylor, culture is dictated by the management team. Culture is the management style and the direction that management supports. Therefore the traditional Confucian value should not be blamed as the reason of liability. It’s just an excuse. In fact the reason of liability should be the management strategy of Matsushita at that time which did not catch up with the changing…...

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