American and Japanese Styles

Gap-fill Exercise

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Japanese attitudes toward work seem to be different from American attitudes. Japanese people tend to be much better to the notion of work, any kind of work, as . Nobody would look down on a man who retires at age fifty-five or sixty and then to keep earning money takes a more menial job than the one he left. I should mention that top-level executives usually have no mandatory retirement age, and many stay on into their seventies and even their eighties.
At Sony we have mandatory retirement from the presidency at sixty-five, but to utilize their experience and we keep former executives who have retired as . We provide them with office space and staff, so that they can work apart from the day-to-day affairs of the company, at Ibuka Hall, a building located five minutes away from the headquarters building. From time to time, we ask them for advice and they attend conferences and other events as of Sony. Many of those people who retire from jobs find executive positions in smaller companies or subsidiary companies of Sony where their previous experience and skill are needed and valued.
Workers are willing to learn new skills. Japan has never devised a system like the American, in which a person is trained to do one thing and then refuses to take a job doing anything else-and is even supported by government funds while he looks for a job that suits his tastes. Because of Japan's special situation, our people do not have that luxury. And our rate lately has not reached 3 percent.
One old style of that is still being practiced by many companies in the United States and by some in Japan is based on the idea that the company that is successful is the one that can produce the product most efficiently at cheaper cost. Efficiency, in this system, becomes a god. Ultimately, it means that machinery is everything, and the ideal factory is a perfectly automated one, perhaps one that is unmanned. This machinelike management is a management of .
(From Made in Japan by Akio Morita)