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Economics / Business

British Factory–Japanese Factory: The Origins of National Diversity in Industrial Relations

(University of California Press 1973)

Ronald Dore

The way that the Japanese work is often perceived as “different.”
The author here sets out to find how different and why.
He is not interested in impressionistic East/West comparisons but in making a strict comparison of two Japanese factories with two British ones making similar products.
The first half of his book illustrates the attitudes and assumptions that underline the “organization-oriented” system of Japan and the “marketoriented” system of Britain.
Much can be said for the orderliness, the mutual consideration, with which the Japanese manage their affairs; but they pay a price—the sacrifice of individuality and of independence.
The British preserve these virtues but in doing so they pay a price in suspicion, obstinacy, inertia, and what the author calls “a shifting mixture of complacency and national self-doubt.”
But the purpose of this book is not to judge but to explain—to give, as the author says, a causal account of the genesis of the reasons why there should be two all but identical processes of creating all but identical electric generators; two very different ways of ordering the social and economic relations among the people involved.

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