US shipbuilders take sixteen months to complete a 50 thousand ton tanker. The Spaniards take even longer to produce a ship of similar tonnage – 24 months. But Japanese shipbuilders do the job in just eight months.
What is the secret of this Japanese miracle? A survey conducted by western experts shows that the deciding factor is teamwork. Japanese workers and management function together in complete unison. At no stage during the work processes is this bond disrupted. The result is the production of high quality goods within an amazingly short time.
Group harmony is something which is part of the whole fabric of Japanese culture and work methods. Whether in the home or in the factory, in large institutions or small, the will to be cooperative manifests itself as the truly distinctive feature of the Japanese character. William Ouchi, an expert in Japanology writes: “Every activity in Japan is a group activity and not a springboard to individual glory and personal advertisement.” (The Hindustan Times, February 16,1986)
It is to this specialty that Japan’s greatest secret of national pro¬gress can be traced. The willingness of large numbers of people to work together with good grace is a prerequisite for success in any venture. The only flaw in this system of joint effort is that the personality of the individual has little opportunity to flourish. But it is only a nation which is made up of individuals who are prepared to make this personal sacrifice which can ever aspire to success. Where individuals keep pulling in opposite directions, no substantial progress can even be made at the national level.
When work is cooperative in spirit, well coordinated in organization and an atmosphere of harmony prevails, the sky is the limit in quality and quantity of production. It is unity then which is the true key to success.