Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Being a Change Agent

“The difficulty with this is that, if you really want to manage change, you have manager who has been rewarded his whole career on creating harmony and we know that it takes some positive dissonance to create any change. You have to push people out of their comfort zone to create change of any kind, and creativity and innovation are kinds of change. So it would be very difficult for a Japanese manager to reverse his whole set of behavioural characteristics and suddenly become a change agent. You might be able to take that same manager and drop him into another corporate culture where he doesn’t have all this history and maybe he would have the personal capabilities to do it, but in his own organization it’s very difficult. So Japanese managers have to rely on some external motivations to effect change; in a sense they have to blame other people for having to force their people to do these things.”