Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

A Hands-On Management Environment

“I think that there is a greater need for face-to-face interaction – it’s a very hands-on management environment. The staff takes a lot of a manager’s time. The amount of time spent face-to-face in Japan is probably double or triple what a Westerner would expect from their manager. There is an expectation that you will provide that and you’ll get negative feedback if you don’t. On the other hand I think that Western employees like to have a bit of distance from their manager. In Japan it’s an almost paternalistic situation. When you grow up in the organization your main role is to keep harmony and make sure everybody is happy. So the whole conversation around development planning and setting goals and personal targets is a little bit different to that in the West. It’s hard to get an individual employee thinking in terms of any real change in their working career and they don’t seek that as actively as the foreign employees that I have supervised.”