Productivity—the Japanese Way


Economists are forever telling us that we need to increase productivity in order to improve our standard of living. Productivity is one of those concepts that are so loaded with meaning and implications that is very difficult to define, much less explain. Not surprisingly then, improving “it” is one of the most difficult tasks facing business. More to the point, the time for improvement is quickly running out. Industrial performance is being outstripped at a frightening pace by the Japanese. In fact, it has reached the point where their productivity performance is so superior that they can literally pick any product and any market and quickly come to dominate it.

The idea that Japanese are uniquely gifted in only a few related areas has been debunked by their proven successes in industries as diverse as automobiles and semi-conductors. As well, the facile suggestion that the Japanese are somehow culturally inclined to be productive doesn’t wash. Japanese managers have taken over factories in Europe and the US and greatly improved productivity records. Productivity has also been high in their North American plants.

If corporate managers believe that their workers can be as competitive as anyone else in the world, and technically, there’s no valid reason why they can’t be, then they must find better ways to help their employees realize their potential. In that sense, study of Japanese methods is a jumping-off point that can lead to adaptations that will produce unique ways of improving productivity.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Management Responses to Inflation


Businesspeople must deal with the rising price spiral. Higher costs must be absorbed or passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. Management needs to adopt innovative responses to the problems of inflation and tight budgets. Inflation does not have a negative impact on all firms. Consumers are adapting to inflation, and businesses must make similar adaptations to remain in operation.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

What Employees Need to Learn


What employees need to learn, beyond their immediate assignments, depends on what the employer wants them to contribute. Leading companies want employees to consider themselves members of the organization, to recommend and implement ways of making the company more successful. Consequently, they tell them a great deal about corporate goals and plans, the operation of the job site, the jobs of peers and managers, the functions of adjacent work units, the technology in use, effective problem-solving methods, and actual costs.

A handful of companies encourage employees to learn the act of technological adaptation, an art whose importance is destined to grow. Potential new uses of flexible automation, robots, or end-user office automation are limited only by the ingenuity of the users. Continuous learning centers are a good example of how to stimulate adaptation.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Just about Culture


Culture is a) a pattern of basic assumptions, b) invented, discovered, or developed by a given group, c) as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, d) that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, e) is to be taught to new members as f) the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to these problems.

As a concept borrowed by organizational theorists from anthropology, culture can also be viewed as shared meanings or understandings that are largely tacit and unique to group members. It draws attention to facets of organizational life previously unattended to, and through shared interpretations it focuses action.

Managers use culture in a variety of ways. It can, for example, set the stage for the implementation of an organization’s business strategy. Culture can also prescribe acceptable ways for managers to interact with external constituencies such as shareholders, the government, or customers. Staffing decisions and performance criteria can flow from the organization’s culture. It can also guide the nature of acceptable interpersonal relationships within the company and the selection of an appropriate management style. It also has significance for organizational effectiveness: The culture’s strength and consistency, emphasis on employee involvement in decision making, facilitation of corporate adaptability to organizational change, and clarity of mission are key predictors of organizational effectiveness. Currently managers in many companies view the organizational culture as supporting team-based efforts.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight