Patterns of Creativity in Japan Lessons from Successful Japanese Companies – A Resource

Reject False Dichotomies

Don’t ‘balance’ dichotomies such as long and short term objectives, merge them.

The American manager’s trade-off between quality-cost and dependability-flexibility is a false one in the Japanese way of thinking. Japanese managers will view quality improvements as a means to reduce costs. They emphasize the link (not conflict) between long and short-term goals. Further, Japanese-style broad job definitions (as opposed to narrow American ones) indicate high expectations of workers and emphasize a wider range of responsibility than, say, merely for production output and cost.

What other ‘false dichotomies’ might there be in your work?

Example: Leading Japanese electronics manufacturers were found to follow this thinking.

Source: Wheelwright. S.C. (1981). Japan – where operations really are strategic. Harvard Business Review, Vol.59, No.4, pp. 67-74