Work environment the Japanese way: A reason to sue?


Personally I have been lucky to have had a mentor teaching me about the advantages of leadership the “Japanese way”. Over time I learned about the responsibility of a leader towards his subordinates much like: It is the duty of the leader of a group to make sure to bring out the best in each member, especially because each employee had chosen “our company” to provide a living for his/her family. On the top of it, additional multilayered responsibility towards customers, employees, shareholders and even to the society as a whole had to be observed. My mentor had worked for most of his career for the same large Japanese company, but had chosen to spend his last 8 years of employment at a foreign subsidiary. Of course I am fully aware that not all Japanese companies are providing a working environment as described, plus “leadership the Japanese way” might be a never to be reached ideal.
According to Joseph Barratt from the NZ Herald newspaper the regional director of a multi-national English language school in Auckland was awarded $190,000 after the employment tribunal dismissed claims he was used to being treated “the Japanese way”. His previous language teaching focused company said that with joining the company the regional director had accepted and understood the Japanese way of doing business, therefore understanding the atmosphere of a superior “ranting”, “berating” and “humiliating” people. Honestly I do know that not every work environment is perfect, but I am shocked to see that on a global stage “Japanese working style” is understood as disrespecting employees.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

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