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Life on the Fast Lane at Datsun.

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Introduction

Life on the Fast Lane at Datsun Article By John Junkerman A Study Analysis With Reference To Relevant Theorists The Datsun case study is an ideal opportunity to study an organisation and compare with various theories and ideas, which have been developed by various experts in theories of management. I have structured my analysis by looking at various theories, which include Culture, Motivation, Information, Communication and Decision making Processes, Management Styles and Metaphors. The issues are often inter-linked, but though the above-mentioned analysis, I was able to identify a clear picture of the various issues and propose possible solutions. East V's West There is a great difference observed, when comparing the western world with the Japanese working culture. This is mainly evident in their unions, commitment to work, and quality of products. Kemichi Ohmae described the difference in strategies by stating it is an "Eastern long term strategy v western short term". Generally speaking, an employee will work longer hours in Japan than in the western world. Companies in Japan will also, concentrate on the quality, which Dave Beale defined as "Total quality management". Also, most Japanese Companies have a Company union rather than an independent union, and the consequence of this is that the unions tend to become biased towards the management, rather than the employees. ...read more.

Middle

Although initially there was a positive co-operation between management and the union, this begins to crumble (lately the intimate relationship between Nissan's management and its union has become under strain). Fraser has acknowledged the consequences of such a union, and attempts to improve this were shunned by the Japanese labour leaders (told him-diplomatically-to mind his own business). There is evidence of both Participant and Autocratic Management styles (Rensis Likert). Nissan shows evidence of Participant Management, through quality circles. Workers constantly strive for improvement of quality and efficiency, however Nissan is autocratic in that the management/union make final decisions based on the progress of the company without taking the welfare of the workers into account and the workers are committed to the organisation's goals (Mayo). This in turn creates a feeling of hostility and discontent that does not appear on the surface, and there is evidence of more dependence and less individuality (White & Lippitt) Kick the Dog Motivation The main form of motivation within Nissan is forced (monitoring workers performance and attitudes, punishing dissent and boosting workers output). Although higher needs are being met, lower needs are being neglected (Maslow). Management is responsible for setting the objectives of the company to increase team performance (Richard Hackman), through quality circles, however punishment is the main form of motivation within Nissan (if you complain you loose), this in turn creates paranoia (I follow him ten paces behind). ...read more.

Conclusion

Wheel style communication Further solutions could involve strategies suggested by Bernard Taylor. These would include stretching the goals, using strategies that are beneficial to all, and line managers must be given a structure to take change and be made accountable (lean organisation). Creating a new culture within the organisation, would be beneficial and a more appropriate culture would be a role culture, where the rules are made official, but excepting a certain degree of disorder (total innovation). In the sense of working cultures, the positives of eastern and western strategies could be combined, taking the Japanese time management and effective production, with a western union. A more structured performance management is required, to enable a sufficient increase of wages, depending not just on performance of individuals, but also taking into account the company success and disallowing dangerous situations through company policies which should be implemented. This would ensure that decision making is more efficient, which in turn will improve upon workers conditions and communication between all members of the company. There are however certain possible limitations and restrictions to such changes. The Japanese culture/structure may prove difficult to implement, due to conservative views of management and the unions. Changes are most successful when seen as positive for all members of the company, and if the changes result in disagreement and conflict, this may prove to be time consuming to correct. ...read more.

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