Managing for Creativity in Japan Talking with Foreign Executives in Japan

Tension with the Home Office

“If you followed the advice I just gave your head office might view you as a weak manager. If, when they asked you how things were going, you said that you were still ‘working things out’ they might view you that way but actually you would just be doing your job properly because once it’s agreed it will be fully implemented. But it won’t be even partly implemented until it is fully agreed. (CB: So it is important for the head office to have some kind of understanding of the particulars of the Japanese environment?) Yes, but they don’t, it’s just not the nature of the beast. If you look at the big international companies that have prospered in Japan you will see that they have all had very long periods where they were investing and not taking any money out of the market at all….for 20, 30 years some of them. But now they are established and are making money. Anybody who is coming into the market thinking that they are going to make a quick profit in two years is just delusional. I mean, we were profitable in our first year when I first moved here but that is not usual.”