The transferability of Japanese style management practices : a case study of the Malaysian public enterprise sector
Japanese-style management has attracted a lot of attention from managers, business executives and scholars worldwide. The sudden intensity of interest in the so-called Japanese Management Model has been partly due to the rapid ascendancy of Japan as, a leading economic superpower in a relatively short period after her humiliating defeat in the Second World War. In 1982, Malaysia officially launched the "Look East" policy to emulate the Japanese by adopting Japanese-style management practices. It was believed that by adopting Japanese-style management techniques, the Malaysians can replicate the Japanese success. This study aims to discuss what constitutes Japanese-style management and also to determine if it can be transferred to the Malaysian public enterprise sector. From this study, it was revealed that only some elements of Japanese-style management are transferable to Malaysian public enterprises. There is a number of problems encountered in trying to transfer the Japanese practices to Malaysian public enterprise sector, especially if they are not compatible with the Malaysian values. The problems of transferring Japanese management techniques across national boundaries are further compounded when the transfer is from private sector to public sector. Even in the case of Japan, her public enterprise sector does not even have a reputation of efficient management. It was also found that despite the official policy and persistent effort towards "Japanisation" by the government, the majority of Malaysian workforce still prefer the present existing management system. To some extent, the study has provided some answers to questions regarding the feasibility of adopting the Japanese-style management. But most important of all, the study has revealed that Japanese-style management is not a panacea to the problems confronting the public enterprise sector in Malaysia.