Creativity and Analysis of Japanese and American Social Models and their
Accepted for presentation at the First International Conference on
Work Values, Budapest, Hungary, June 26‑29, 1988 as
Cultural values and creative expression:
Japanese and American management models.
(mun/da la) n. (Sans. mandala, a circle) a circular design containing concentric
"…a kind of condensation, an abstraction of many symbols which are united into
a generalized form.
"…the most impressive mandalas...are built up by imagination, or directed
fantasy, when the psychological
Two equally important basic aspects of mandala symbolism emerge. The mandala
serves a conservative
Von Franz (pp.247-248)
Man hath weav'd out a net, and the net throwne upon the heavens, and now they are his owne... John Donne
A Model of Social Consciousness: A Jungian Topography
It is rare to meet an individual today who would not only affirm that our
society, indeed the world itself,
In The Third American Frontier: the Evolution of Consciousness and the
Transformation of Society,
Of the last he says: "The challenge...is primarily an internal one-the
challenge of realizing our still
The foundation of social change is not anchored only in the demands of the
Let us consider the deeper meanings of three terms with which we are familiar:
society, culture and
Integrating the above definitions, we may understand society as groups of
individuals (of various numbers)
Like an atoll rising from a submerged volcanic landmass, itself embedded in the
vast sea bottom, so does
Culture is the manifest "figure" upon the "ground" of society and may be examined, measured, appreciated, and analyzed. The "ground" 'however, the silent matrix, can only be inferred from cultural manifestations. Only through the speculation associated with archaeological finds or the anthropologist's field studies can we attempt to understand, to intuit, the deeper, matrix of meaning underlying an ancient society, or those who are socially, culturally and geographically remote from us and our realm of understanding.
We also learn much from what a society's culture does not show. This more oriental approach, that "nothing" is "something" is, according to Carl Jung (1958) more inclusive a manner of conceptualizing than the more heavily-laced rationalism characterizing Western thought which he considered limited in scope, biased, and prejudicial. He quotes from the Tao Te Ching:
We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
Borrowing further from Jung(1968), we can postulate a hypothetical model of societal consciousness and contrast it to that representing an individual, for Jung intuitively and sensitively recognized that beneath the apparent dissimilarities between individuals and societies there existed a collective unconscious; a repository of universal symbols and meanings.
In a simplified presentation, consider the consciousness of a single individual, which would be partitioned into three areas (Fig.1):
Consciousness makes its presence known via the form, of the individual's exteriorized actions or inactions, while the substance is comprised of influences not as seen clearly. The influential power of the unconscious areas was demonstrated in Jung's Free Association Test.
Comparing the individual to a societal structure, analogous structures and functions can be detected in a form of "comparative mental anatomy" (see Fig.2).
It may be inferred from the figures that similar features operate within individuals and social groupings, each evolving from a broad matrix, each having a form of personal unconsciousness (or personal history), whether personal to one individual or a sub-grouping such as a racial or ethnic group, each individual further linked with larger groups through the collective unconscious as all societies would also be interlocked at this deeper level. Such a configuration could be conceptualized as below.
Figure 3 The integration of societal consciousness
Society X Society Y Society Z Society J
This figure demonstrates the explicit similarities and dissimilarities, both inter- and intrasocietally, each society perceptibly different yet imperceptibly related on a deeper level, bound together as much by consciousness as by geography, heritage and a common genetic matrix: DNA. Viewed as peaks in a mountain chain, someone born and raised atop X, without awareness of the connecting terrain below and its interconnectedness would tend to view an individual living on the summit of Y as qualitatively (and perhaps quantitatively) different. The difference however, would be a function of the perceived physical, cultural and semantic distance.
X, for example, representing America would seem more like Y (Canada or England, with their cultural overlap) than Z (Syria). Of course J (Japan or China) would seem geographically, culturally, physically and psychologically most alien.
One might truly say, paraphrasing John Donne that no society is an island entire of itself; every society is part of the main. Any society's tragedies diminish our society because we are involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Evolution or Revolution:The Dual Nature of Progress or the Dual Nature of Consciousness?
The problem now, having established fundamental precepts for interpreting societal change, is to consider the parameters necessary in determining what it is that signifies when such changes occur, and within what frame of reference they are to be understood. As one possibility, let us borrow from the area of scientific epistemology and consider a theoretical sequence of change posited by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). Kuhn, in an historiographic depiction of epistemological development in science, has presented phases through which move the community (or society) of scientists. His rationalistic, sequential, seemingly stop-and-go flow of events describes "normal", "extraordinary", "crisis" and "revolutionary" periods. "Normal" science operates when there is a consensually agreed-upon, relatively stable conception of the world, a workable "paradigm" as to how our reality operates. When this view begins to falter in the face of an increasing number of anomalies unexplainable through the contemporary paradigm, a loss of faith (or belief) in the paradigm occurs and a crisis period begins as seedling paradigms--which matured unobtrusively during the supremacy of the prevailing paradigm--emerge to vie for a superordinate position as the set of guiding beliefs.
Concurrently, extraordinary--i.e. out of the "normal"-- science searches for a new paradigm with a better explanatory "fit" through more far-ranging, innovative, daring research than that of normal ("puzzle-solving") science. The difference between the two forms is that in normal science problems, the solutions are already anticipated or conceptualized while extraordinary science moves beyond consensually agreed-upon conceptual limits into uncharted territory--the unknown itself is being challenged.
I consider Kuhn's chief contribution as the concept of the paradigm, the interactions and implicit understandings based upon shared rules, beliefs, and standards which are supported by consensus and permit the continuation of "normal" activities so long as it provides a satisfactory means of answering questions about the world and explaining relationships for predictive (control) purposes. Although Kuhn's model originated as a description of progress in the physical sciences, with some qualifications it relates well as a view of social change and transformation. Revolution, a term not addressed up to this point, applies to the emergence of a new paradigm--the world view, or Weltanschauung-- changes dramatically and drastically. Examples of such far-reaching” paradigm-shifts" include the Copernican, heliocentric solar system model, Newtonian physics and Einsteinian relativity.
The paradigm, Kuhn's central concept, is also the most nebulous. Masterman (1970) found that Kuhn had originally used it in no less than twenty-one ways. Agreeing that the term essentially meant "a way of seeing", she collated Kuhn's uses into three large categories: Metaphysical, Construct and Sociological paradigms (p.65).
By 1977, Kuhn himself redefined the term to mean a "disciplinary matrix" and "exemplars"(p.307). Whether science or society has its "normal" and "extraordinary" phases is questionable and is, at the risk of being relativistic, more a matter of perception and perspective. The seeds of revolution generally exist before revolution occurs. For example, small, primitive, shrew-like mammals scampered in the shadow of the dinosaurs but could not emerge fully until conditions were appropriate. When background conditions altered to the advantage of the mammals, the revolutionary onset of a mammalian era began; a new life form began its proliferation into and domination over the earth: a new "life-paradigm" emerged which, in itself, contained the seeds of still another revolution--the coming of Man.
The singular significance of the paradigm lies in the noumenal quality of its meaning, for the metaphysical, sociological, and construct paradigms of Masterman, later subsumed within the "disciplinary matrix" of Kuhn, implicitly proposed a paradigmatic structure of hierarchically ordered, superimposed, spiraling series of matrices: “…wholes...embraced in larger wholes in a continual progression"(Whorf, 1974, p.329).
Is it mere chance that the etymology of the term paradigm is linked with the Greek eik (a root of icon) and relates to "image" as well as "a pattern, example, or model" (Webster, p.1029). Thus, what seems to be a possible linear model of progress bogs down in semantic and epistemological quicksand. Paradigms, wholes in themselves, are themselves contained within larger paradigms, all of which are, to some extent noumenal. They cannot be fully grasped through the narrowness of rational thought alone, which focuses principally on what is present and does not substantially account for what is (apparently) absent. What then is required, if not a rationalistic view of societal change?
Jung (1953) explains the concept of Weltanschauung, a possible alternative perspective, as a philosophical high-point (or general view of life and the world) from which ordinary activities may be observed and more comprehensively understood:
"Higher consciousness determines Weltanschauung. Every increase in experience and knowledge means a further step in the development of Weltanschauung. And with the image the thinking man makes of the world, he also changes himself...intellect is only one among several psychological functions, and therefore does not suffice to give a complete picture of the world. Feeling, for instance...sometimes arrives at different conclusions from those of intellect, and we cannot always prove that the conclusions of feeling are necessarily inferior to those of the intellect" (p.244).
Jung is extolling the need for an holistic orientation as essential in the development of a world-view philosophy, or Weltanschauung. But such an expansion of consciousness involves the acceptance, individually and societally, of far-reaching, often alien experiences and learnings to broaden our experiential basis of understanding and increase our tolerance for the unusual.
Holding out a view of social transformation, Oates (1972) posits that we are in a transition phase between eras of consciousness. His quote, taken from Elgin (1977) follows:
What appears to be the breaking down of civilization may well be simply the breaking up of old forms of life itself (not an eruption of madness or self-destruction), a process that is entirely natural and inevitable. Perhaps we are in the tumultuous but exciting close of a centuries old kind of consciousness-a few of us like theologians of the medieval church encountering the unstoppable energy of the Renaissance. What we must avoid is the paranoia of history's "true believers", who have always misinterpreted a natural, evolutionary transformation of consciousness as being the violent 'conclusion of all history". (p.234)
Returning to Jung, it appears that the transformations, the worldwide erosions of existing forms alluded to by Oates, can be understood in terms of vast changes in the communal level of consciousness-the collective unconscious-"erupting" to social awareness through cultural shifts and dramatic upheavals. Amidst the contents of this level of consciousness, according to Jung, are the archetypes, "psychic forces that demand to be taken seriously, and they have a strange way of making sure of their effect (Jung, 1953, p.37). Further, Jung indicates, in dealing with societal effects:
...what the unconscious really contains are the great collective events of the time. In the collective unconscious of the individual, history prepares itself; and when the archetypes are activated in a number of individuals and come to the surface, we are in the midst of history...The archetypal image which the moment-requires and everybody is seized by it...Our personal psychology is just a thin skin, a ripple upon the ocean of collective psychology." (Jung, 1968, pp.182-183)
Jung's statement is a formal, imposing warning. The turbulence perceptible at the surface of society, the cultural expressions of frustrations, anger, defiance, violence, etc. are generated from strata deep within the psyche. Each individual, each society, according to Jungian theory, is interconnected at the level of the collective unconscious which reach the conscious mind only through the images and symbols personally and culturally modified in their passage through the personal unconscious. Latent or primordial images are inherited, prepotent, instinctoid orientations to perceive along ancient, neurological pathways. How these images develop is based upon our individual and/or our social experiences; they are our reservoir of adaption mechanisms.
In addition to the archetypes which are "forms without content", there is Jung’s "shadow", of which Hall and Nordby (1973) state: “The shadow contains more of man's basic animal nature than any other archetype does. Because of its extremely deep roots in evolutionary history, it is probably the most powerful and potentially the most dangerous of all the archetypes.”(p,48)
The account of the shadow assigns to it a character similar to Freud's Id : necessary for vitality, productivity and creativity yet, when not properly harnessed (or when it is repressed too strongly by social or economic conditions), may be explosive and destructive. It is a double-edged sword of power for construction or destruction to maintain and energize the growth of civilization or destroy it with unthinking animal passion.
The individual without Weltanschauung may view these troubled times in terms of random, isolated island-events, betokening a disturbed world composed of equally disturbed societies. Looking more deeply however, there is an interconnectedness that crosses societies, nations and continents. We live in the ever-growing threat of terrorism, biological and nuclear catastrophe. Deepening polarizations and increasing tensions among political and economic ideologies often frighten and confuse us. There is an increasing loss of faith in traditional forms: institutions once held as sacred and secure, religious, political, governmental.
Certainly these times may be labeled as "crisis" in the Kuhnian sense. We are surrounded by external signs of change warning us, urging and impelling us to reconsider who and what we are, to delve for and unearth the unconscious paradigms or societal matrices upon which we have based our own, current, maladaptive and insecure existence. We are literally being driven toward "extraordinary" means to cope, to survive, not based upon traditional paradigms but, guided by the collective unconscious, symbolic urgings, seeking new expressions of being, whether originating within American society or those adopted from other societies and adapted to our specific cultural needs, talents and character.
Social change is neither wholly sequential and phase-governed nor emergent as revolutionary gestalt based solely on intrapsychic urgency. It is a synthesis of the two, transcending the individual natures of each, incorporating both aspects depending upon one's point of view. In the next section we will explore one of the many crises potentiating in American society: socioeconomic crisis, the background of industrial demoralization and gloomy economic picture will be examined in contrast to the success of Japanese industry as a function of cultural differences, cultural cross-pollination, a paradigm clash and the increased need for humanistic applications in business and industry as a means of bolstering our economy and strengthening our society.
As a final thought in keeping with Oates' observations on the breaking down of old forms in the transformation of social consciousness, consider this statement by Jung (1953): "The well-known fact that the highest summit of life is expressed by the symbolism of death, for creation beyond oneself means one's own death. The coming generation is the end of the preceding one."(p.288).
Work: An East-West Paradigm Clash?
The socioeconomic decline of American industrial production in com
Among the reasons for the staggering, mounting problems cited were complacency towards foreign competition and the world marketplace, low investment in facilities for modernization, rising costs of material, energy, pay and benefits, reluctance to change traditional management approaches, and declining technological innovation.
In 1980, Japan's GNP was third highest in the world and, if we extrapolate current trends, it would be number one by the year 2000. A country the size of Montana, Japan has virtually no physical resources, yet it supports over 115 million (half the population of the United States), exports $75 billion worth more goods than it imports, and has an investment rate as well as a GNP growth rate which is twice that of the United States. Japan has come to dominate in one selected industry after another...Today Japanese wages are slightly higher than those in the United States, and the cost of doing business in Japan... is decidedly higher...While initially lagging, Japan's standards are among the most stringent in the world...Some of us rationalize the disparity by emphasizing the problems stemming from the Arab oil crisis of 1974. While all other industrialized societies have experienced inflation and a decline in productivity growth as a result of higher petroleum costs, Japan, which imports all of its oil, has maintained a very low rate of inflation, has increased productivity, and has by most accounts proven a more competitive trading partner in the past five years than ever before."(pp., 23-24).
At the end of World War II, Japan was a conquered and battered nation, its economy and industry in a shambles, its people humiliated and demoralized by a defeat they had not envisioned, traumatized in their becoming the first victims of an atomic holocaust. Sixty years later, this same nation has become an international leader in business and industry, finding the means to stave off the spread of inflation which is damaging so many other nations.
Alternately, American armed forces fought a multi-theatre military action successfully, supported by the astounding responsiveness of its industry to provide war materials. Yet, in today's economic arena, the former victor is rapidly becoming the vanquished. Why?
The issues involved here are far broader and deeper than economic solutions alone could address, for a society's economic functioning is only one manifestation of its total culture. Clearly, relating to the societal model described in section I, the Japanese culture is now expressing itself on the conscious level through its greater productivity and socioeconomic security while America is demonstrating the culturally "neurotic" evidence of divisiveness, high unemployment, inflation, demoralization, hopelessness and feelings of ineffectiveness or impotency.
For an understanding of the dynamics of this phenomenon we must consider the model (or "exemplar") expressed by the Japanese, those shown by American industry, and the societal differences that militate for or against any improvement. In short, a character-analytic evaluation is necessary and, to this end, the matrices of the East (Japan) and West (America) must be exposed to provide the substructure of our understanding.
American Industry:Determinism, Dualism and Polarization
Management, or the practice of one individual working for another who was the owner of an establishment, developed with the breakdown of the feudal system. During the late medieval period, guilds had sprouted, representing groups of individuals in the same trade or practice whose ideal it was to uphold standards of their craft and protect their membership. Whyte, in The Organization Man (1956), quotes Tannenbaum's description of this period:
Membership in a guild, manorial estate, or village protected man throughout his life and gave him peace and serenity from which could flow the medieval art and craft. The life of man was nearly a unified whole. Being a member of an integrated society protected and raised the dignity of the individual and gave each person his own special role. Each man, each act, was part of a total life drama, the plot of which was known and in which the part allotted to each was prescribed. No one was isolated or abandoned. His individuality and his ambitions were fulfilled within the customary law that ruled the community to which he belonged."(pp. 45-46).
Idyllic as the description sounds, the rigidity and class structure of the medieval period as well as the suppressive influence of the church were all part of the underlying matrix from which Western cultural expressions and societal forms arose. One must not overlook the autocratic rule seeping downward from monarch and hierarchies of royalty to the petty, but powerful rulers of vast estates whose vassals tilled their fields. That this was, in fact, a dehumanized society is well-known through the art forms of the period, in their art stiffly hiding the human form, emotion and individualism, contrary to Tannenbaum's notion.
However, employer-employee relationships were closer, the owner-manager usually a craftsman in his own right working in close proximity with his workers and apprentices, as role model and mentor.
At the dawn of the Renaissance, individual strivings were philosophically supported by Humanists like Erasmus, while businesses and trades grew in size. The distance between employer and employee widened as others were hired to oversee production and quality. Again Whyte, quoting Tannenbaum, states:
The Industrial Revolution destroyed the solid moorings of the older way of life and cast the helpless workers adrift in a strange and difficult world. The peasant who had been reared in the intimacy of a small village...now found himself isolated and bewildered' in a city crowded with strangers and indifferent to a common rule. The symbolic universe that had patterned the ways of men across the ages in village, manor, or guild had disappeared. This is the great moral tragedy of the industrial system. (Ibid. p. 46)
Later we shall see how the feudal pattern, one of the matrices of our own society, played a strong role in the evolution of Japanese society and industry, a common ground joining East and West in a limited fashion.
Soon, American industry was well on the road paved by the British Industrial
Revolution. The individual craftsman became increasingly ineffective in
competing with machinery. Once a tool of Man, he was fast becoming a tool of the
machine: more expendable, cheaper, and often more troublesome. In the shadowy
workshops and mills of the mid-nineteenth century the anlage was laid for a
technological revolution to occur some 100 years in the future. The basic
man-machine conflicts that were alienating mankind from fundamental human
values and goals were not only left festering for yet another generation, but
With the onset of the twentieth century, large corporations were rapidly established and the worker's sense of anomie and impotency waxed. The distance between owners and employees was staggering by contrast to the past and organizations took on the beginnings of impersonal, compartmentalized bureaucratic physiognomy. Workers were relegated to specialized, narrow jobs. By virtue of the increase in corporate size, the narrowness of assigned tasks, the levels of management, etc., the sense of meaning derived from one's labors continued to be in dissipated, this compounded by the difficulty identifying with a huge, vague--from the employee's perspective--corporate structure. Attachment to an employer had diminished from an interface of many bondings to primarily one’s wages.
In Bureaucracy in Modern Society (1956), Peter Blau addresses himself to the underpinnings of bureaucracy in America:
In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber indirectly answers this question. He shows that the Reformation... apart from its spiritual significance, had the social consequence of giving rise to this-worldly asceticism, a disciplined devotion to hard work in the pursuit of one's vocation...The strong condemnation of pleasure and emotions, exemplified by the Puritan "blue laws", generates the sobriety and detachment conducive to rational conduct."(p.36)
The self-denying struggle against the environment rooted in the Protestant Ethic was alleged to lead to spiritual and material rewards, via repression of those qualities which make us both human and individual. It was a key component in the emergence and strengthening of the capitalistic system as well. Whyte, in describing the capitalistic entrepreneur, sardonically undermines the pseudospiritual foundation upon which this orientation is raised:
Without the comfort of the Protestant Ethic, he couldn't have gotten away with his acquisitions-not merely because other people wouldn't have allowed him, but because his own conscience would not have. But now he was fortified by the assurances that he was pursuing his obligation to God, and before long, what for centuries had been looked upon as the meanest greed, a rising middle class would interpret as the earthly manifestation of God's will." (p.18)
Once again self-interest was sought in the name of Spirit; the split-reality which was to become a prevailing philosophy extending to the present was growing, affluence influencing morality, unfeeling reason asserting dominance over human values. The sense of impotence grew among workers in labor-management relations and led to seething emotions and a polarization when attempts to communicate failed and management resorted to armed suppression. Says Tannenbaum (Ibid.,p.46) "The trade union was the visible evidence that man is not a commodity, and that he is not sufficient unto himself.", The organization of unions were explicit, direct protests underscoring serious needs calling for a shift in the flow of events and conditions.
Rollo May describes the rise of individualism and individual competition since the Renaissance in Man's Search for Himself (1953). Individual strivings and gain were thought of as benefiting the community as a whole ( a foundation for the later Protestant Ethic?). However, as May says, "...in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries considerable changes occurred. In our present day of giant business and monopoly capitalism how many people can become successful individual competitors?” (p.42). The emergence of unions--collectives--testifies to the powerlessness experienced by workers laboring in monolithic corporations in situations created by our own hands. The unions did not deny the fundamental rights of the individual but, through group (or social) actions, affirmed and demanded them.
May suggests that the 1920s signified a point of demarcation--I would call it an "existential choice-point"-- as value in the Self diminished as a reliance on technology grew by leaps and bounds, this cultural expression reinforced by an abandonment of the validity of phenomenological experience and replaced by a form of Psychology that reflected the mechanistic leanings of man: Watsonian behaviorism.
Ironically, in 1927 an event occurred which, if recognized for its significance and implemented, could have changed the course of industrial progress. At the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric company experiments were performed by Fritz Roethlisberger and Elton Mayo, later referred to as the "Hawthorne Experiments". The results showed that attitudes towards workers--regarding them as individuals--were more important than the amount of rest time, environmental conditions or remuneration. (Gilmer and Deci, 1977, pp.10-12). Despite these findings, the depression of the 1930's, low wages, high unemployment and a society in upheaval, set the stage for massive union organizations.
The reasons for joining a union were job security, the desire to be a member of an organization--to have a "voice", social pressures, and a sense of collective belongingness. Government intervention during the Roosevelt era attempted to alleviate the effects of the depression and the unemployment crisis through the creation of Federal agencies dedicated to the construction-and improvement of public works which hired the unemployed. The Second World War however, stimulated industry to new highs in cooperation and productivity and, in an unfortunate way, resolved the employment crisis. Labor and management were united against common, external enemies.
Within fifteen years after the surrender of the Axis nations however, labor-management problems were well on their way towards former impasses. Today, industries have been crippled by massive strikes and walkouts. Unions have achieved awesome power, in more and more instances figuring into a corporation's decision to close a plant in the United States while opening a similar plant in Taiwan, Brazil or Mexico, where the profits can be maximized through inexpensive labor and with little or no union angst.
The widespread polarization of labor and management, catalyzed by increasing energy costs, inflation, and a traditional inherent avarice in profiteering is, as in the story of Solomon, threatening to murder industry--the productive "child" of society--by severing the industrial body in two. American society, as the collective, communal body which it tends to deny, will be the ultimate victim.
Japanese Industry: Feudalism, Collectivism and Cultural Cross‑Pollination
Let us now turn to an overview of industry within the context of Japanese society. While it is true that there have been similar problems in Japanese and American industries over the years, special attention must be paid to the matrix of Japan which has given rise to their current industrial form which is a highly integrated aspect of their culture. For over two-thousand years the Japanese lived under an autocratic form of government headed first by an Emperor, then by a series of shoguns, heads of powerful clans who served as militaristic prime ministers. A small, volcanic country, Japan's society emerged and adapted to their geographical constraints through respect for physical space and personal "space", as well as formalized interpersonal relationships designed, I suspect, to minimize friction and avoid unnecessary conflicts as well as to maximize harmonious coexistence. The emphasis on the clan, a form of societal sub-grouping to be touched upon later, occurred through-the constraints of feudal lords who restricted the movements of their subjects from area to area.
Ouichi (1981) comments on the character of the Japanese lifestyle:
Taken all together, this characteristic style of living paints the picture of a nation of people who are homogeneous with respect to race, history, language, religion, and culture. For centuries and generations these people have lived in the same village next door to the same neighbors. Living in close proximity and in dwellings which gave little privacy, the Japanese survived through their capacity to work together in harmony. In this situation, it was inevitable that the one most central social value which emerged, the one value without which the society could not continue, was that the individual does not matter. (p.55)
The reign of the shoguns did not end until as late as 1867 when the Emperor was restored to full power. Further, and with irony, it was American "Gunboat Diplomacy" forced Japan to open its ports to foreigners for trade.
A most interesting and significant element of Japanese culture is the chivalric, centuries-old Bushido code of the Samurai warrior class which extolled the virtues of loyalty and courage in devotion to one's country and superiors, preferring death to dishonor and "loss of face". The last, dramatic appearance of this powerful, intensive, self-sacrificing loyalty was seen in the Kamikaze ("Divine wind") attacks near the close of the Second World War when these were labeled "fanaticism" rather than acts of self-sacrifice. As an. interesting sidelight, the samurai were considered the next-to-lowest social class-despite their emulation as heroes-and, when abolished as a class in 1871, most became tradesmen.
An intense, communal spirit is infused in today's Japanese society, combined with an ingrained, culturally expected interpersonal respect and the vestige of a rigid class system. Of this, Ouichi says: "When people anticipate a lifetime of working together, they cannot afford to let deep rifts develop. Thus a stylized pattern of interaction develops. Conflict and refusal would disturb the harmony that must underlie the work relationship. (Ibid. p.45)
Japanese collectivism, a cultural feature stemming from factors in the Matrix of the society's beginnings is now a cultural value, one which has implications transcending industry and generally applicable to all spheres of societal existence. “In the Japanese mind," Ouichi comments,” collectivism is neither corporate or an individual goal to strive for or an individual goal to pursue. Rather, the nature of things operates so that nothing of consequence occurs as a result of individual effort." (Ibid., p.42). Thus, what was once a form of societal coping behavior as the early Japanese adapted to their environment became a traditional value with its own "functional autonomy" which yielded personal gain (of a sort) in acquired humility and selflessness. Understandably, considering their feudal tradition, early Japanese industrialization resorted to coercive management approaches during its development. It differed from the American form however, in its approach to industry from a more integrative slant:
...because Eastern societies were so populous, and because spiritual, public and private matters were so integrated, their organizations tended to regard the task of control within the context of the whole of human needs, rather than as a more narrow transaction between labor and capital. They were generally more sophisticated than the West in utilizing social and spiritual forces for the organization's benefit, and in accepting the responsibilities to their employees that went with such a broad influence. (Pascale and Athos, 1981, p.31)
According to Ouichi, the building of factories near villages at the end of their feudal era forced companies to consider the care and well-being of those residents who were employees and their families, while another hypothesis contends that the feudal orientation prepared workers to expect and rely upon a paternalistic, dependency relationship that was merely a modified feudal paradigm. The overall effect however, was an intimate bonding of culture and industry based upon trust, caring and collectivism within a rigidly structured social system sharing similar values pertaining to their work ethic, among others.
Considering Japanese social and industrial developments side by side with those of America, certain aspects stand out in the foreground: First, the feudal origins are quite similar. America's ancestral European feudal influence did, however, peter out with the effects of the Renaissance and the quest for independence in the original vision of its founding fathers. Japan however, maintained a feudal state until the mid-nineteenth century.
Second, as Japan was isolated from philosophies exalting individualism, it is natural that the notion does not have a strong toehold among their cultural values. Of American individualism, Whyte(1966) states:
Of all people it is we who have led in the public worship of individualism. One hundred years ago DeToqueville was noting that though our special genius--and failing--lay in cooperative action, we talked more than others of personal independence and freedom. We kept on, and, as late as the Twenties, when big organization was long since fact, affirmed the old faith as if nothing had really changed at all. (p.5)
Third, in settling America, the geographical constraints to which the Japanese were forced to accommodate them-selves over centuries were not a factor. A salient, American archetype was the solitary hero or pioneer, braving hostile wilderness and fierce savages, for the most part alone. In fact, our spacious land forced independence and self-reliance upon the early settlers who, of necessity, coped with hardships without the intricate, interdependent social structure of the Japanese.
Fourth, nuclear families became the mainstay of American society, the family itself only loosely tied to a community and having the freedom to move at will if it wished. By contrast, the clan, a geographically delimited group (possibly tied by blood, common interests and purposes) was the Japanese counterpart of the family. Most likely, such configurations originated, as indicated earlier, through the controls on mobility imposed by Japanese feudal lords and resulted in a concept which has only begun to be explored in the United States--the extended "family".
Fifth, in terms of consciousness, the Japanese have not been as profoundly influenced by a heavily rationalistic mode of thinking as found in Western societies. Instead, a strong Buddhist influence infiltrated from China through Korea reaching Japan by the sixth century. The essence of the Buddhist orientation is represented in Murphy and Murphy's Asian Psychology (1968):
Prince Shotuku (574-622), the well-known Buddhist patron...exhorted people to believe in Buddhism. In his ‘Decree of Seventeen Articles’, he said: 'Believe devoutly in Triratna (three jewels): namely, Buddha, Dharma (doctrine), and Sangha (order). For these are the last resource of all the beings in the universe and the supreme object of faith in all countries. ' But at the same time, he had a profound understanding of the nature of the human mind, and argued for the forgiveness of sin on the basis of this relativity, saying,' Give up anger. Don't be angry at others' mistakes. Everyone has mind; mind has opinion. If the other's opinion is wrong; yours is right. If yours is right, the other's is wrong. You are not always wise; he is not always stupid. Both are bombu (non-sage, mediocre men). Who can decide which is right? When an issue is important, ask the opinions of the people before deciding. 'Tolerance is one of the Buddhist virtues, and is based on the awareness of human finiteness which leads to the forgiveness of sin."(Pp.181-182)
Refining the earlier fundamentals of Buddhism, Manshi Kiyosewa incorporated European philosophies in a synthesis attempting to modernize the belief system. His modified principles follow:
The review of Buddhist principles above presents those aspects of the Japanese collective unconscious, the matrix of their society, which, on the level of cultural expression are demonstrated daily through their work, interpersonal relations, spiritual worship, etc. It is the "heart" of their paradigm of being and rep-resents, as Pascale and Athos would call it, their "superordinate goals"41981).
Consider the following transliterated abstract of these items:
The spiritual/metaphysical/psychological foundations of Japan differ considerably from those found in America, due to our heterogeneity of beliefs, inattention to states of consciousness, dichotomization of mind, and lack of sensitivity to an essential flow, or unfolding process in all things(e.g., evolution versus revolution). It is further differentiated by the separation of religion from spirituality, and by their partitioning from State and other institutions. The American matrix is, by contrast, non-integrative, compartmentalized, bound by fixed, rationalistic thought and deterministic.
The sixth and final Japanese-American contrast lies in another area of the collective unconscious. The archetypal symbols expressive of both cultures are remarkably similar: Hero: savior/ Buddha; mother; father; wise man, etc. The symbols however, are experienced, expressed and treated differently due to cultural (societal personal unconscious) Variances. Jung would have recognized differing constellations of complexes surrounding energized archetypes which would selectively orient the Japanese to seek out conscious expression of the symbols in one way while Americans would express them in quite another way, or not at all. As an example, the "wise man" archetype is a revered elder (usually male) in Japan, while in America the elderly are commonly devalued and cast off. American wise-men are identified as affluent or well-educated in a high-status, professional area, or both.
Thus, there are many cultural and consciousness dissimilarities between countries, although some similarities do exist. The question that faces us now is one stemming back to our first, enigmatic contacts with Oriental peoples: Do the differences between our societies and their modes of productivity represent a paradigm clash based upon mutually-exclusive, antagonistic philosophies, psychologies and cultures? Or, as I suspect, are we not seeing a manifestation akin to the controversy over the dual nature of light; that its elements act as if composed of both particles (quanta) and waves? Dualities of this type in Western societies--e.g., the Cartesian Mind-Body duality--tend to create stasis and conflict, a polarizing conflict rather than one leading to creative synthesis. Such dualities appear to be an off-branching of non-holistic thinking enmeshed in a spatiotemporally fixed, sequentialized view of life.
Considering the Oriental views on dualities, as exemplified here by the Chinese (who influenced Japanese metaphysics and psychology), the dual concepts of yin and yang, the circle of the world divided into light and dark, action and reception, is an essential and fundamental concept (or metaphysical paradigm) for existence. "The world arises out of...change and interplay...Thus change is conceived of partly as tie continuous transformation of one force into the other and partly as a cycle of phenomena, in themselves connected, such as day and night, summer and winter." (Murphy and Murphy, 1968, p. 133).
Without the circle enclosing both yin and yang representing the whole of things, and the wisdom and flexibility to understand the natural flow and changes of events, perceived dichotomous elements will either maintain a continued, dualistic battle for dominance or fly apart into antithetical regions of philosophical non-existence.
The Japanese recognize the polarizing elements of the psyche, but attribute it to man's finite grasp of reality as an 'either-or" tendency. Beneath this trend towards perceiving dualities, they envision a flow of reciprocating energies and changes of state requiring flexibility of perception and response. They further indicate that, culturally, they have deep, traditional leanings towards introversion--in this case, the withdrawal from external reality--in order to reach into personal, internal resources for personal (and collective) guidance. In this last characteristic, Americans are, by contrast more extraverted and nonconforming, seeking solutions "outside" the self in the environment, often ignoring the resources within and the necessary balance for true, creative functioning and adaptation. The Japanese are more conforming, have learned how to operate within the confined of the world circle and focus most heavily in this direction. The West tends to venture outside of the circle, which has manifested in new, innovative ideas, systems, products, philosophies.
Neither society, however, has achieved a balance. In the yin (receptivity) and yang (action) of East and West meeting, the receptivity of the East has absorbed culture from the West, but Western (yang) societies accepted little from the East creating a disequilibrium between hemispheres of the globe and, if one elects to use a double entendre, between cerebral hemispheres as well: impatience, rationalism and rapid gratification versus patience, superordinate values, and collectivism.
Humanism or Non-Humanism in Society and Industry: A Projection of the Deficit in the American Social Matrix
As noted in this writing, the Japanese tend to operate more holistically and with an aesthetic sensitivity stemming from interoception. This is seen most clearly in their art forms and architecture. Despite the feudal origins in Japan, elements of humanism arose naturally and, as naturally, have been incorporated into today's business structures. Attending to one or two aspects of a situation at a time, American industry has only dealt with humanism as a supplement to the linear" mainstream" of business.
In his landmark book, The Human Side of Enterprise (1960), McGregor, through his research, uncovered two basic models of management style: Theory X and Theory Y, as he referred to them.
The Theory X style of management was paternalistic, authoritarian, autocratic and took the position that workers were inherently unmotivated and disinterested in work. The actions precipitated by this model of the individual involved strong, impersonal controls. Later, this approach was modified through "scientific" management; behavioral measures geared to increase and make consistent, maximal productivity-through a "carrot and stick" philosophy that maintained the worker in a dehumanized light.
By the 1950's, the earlier approaches yielded, in part, to Theory Y, or participative management. This called for a philosophical shift in the view of individual's motives, a "gestalt-switch" (as Kuhn would phrase it) to one in which workers were not considered essentially unmotivated and resistant. With a personal, respectful approach and encouragement to develop their potentials, workers were assumed to be capable of performing at a high level of functioning. The new set of assumptions, working principles, or paradigm, included the following (Ibid. pp.47-48):
1. Physical and mental effort is as natural as play or rest-man does not dislike
McGregor suggested that the managerial role be modified into more a consultative than overseeing function, allowing a greater sense of self-sufficiency and autonomy. Implicit in this change is also a strong element of trust, sorely lacking in the past.
Ouichi (1981) refers to Chris Argyris, a former student of McGregor's, and his views on managerial style:
Argyris argued that motivations in work will be maximal when each worker pursues individual goals and experiences psychological growth and independence. Close supervision diminishes motivation, retards psychological growth, and hampers personal independence and freedom. However, supervision can be supportive in 'Theory Y' only when the supervisor trusts workers to use their discretion in a manner consistent with the goals of the organization. Thus the connection between an egalitarian style of management and mutual trust. (p.69)
The drive towards increased trust must be accompanied by an integrative substructure. Gibb (1977) recognizes this when he comments that "Participative managing is growth-centered managing, for the focus is on building a productive, creative organization through healthy, creative groups made up of people who are given every opportunity to develop their potentials." (p.149)
The greater presence of humanistic perspectives and applications in Psychology during the 1960's correlates with an increased interest in tentatively applying these concepts industrially during that period. Perhaps the reaction originated against the conformity and repressive quality of the Eisenhower era, the vacuous, person-less view of a Psychology caught between fighting off the animal instincts in man's subconscious of psychoanalysis -and the environmental controls of behaviorism, and the increasing rapid changes calling for more flexible organizational adjustments.
The Sixties brought forth a humanistic interface with business and industry in the form of National Training Laboratories based on T-groups (training groups) developed by Gestaltist Kurt Lewin and associates. As part of the growing body of Organizational Development (O. D.), organizations like N.T.L. offered "humanizing", interventional strategies to facilitate greater corporate harmony leading to increased productivity. The questionable aspect of the success of these efforts lies in their limited use and the ease in which the results are dissipated by ongoing, counterproductive, prevailing normative attitudes back "home" at the plant. The matrix of the corporate culture had not been dealt with as holistically as the individual who would be once again assimilated the into dehumanized personal unconscious of the corporation.
Abraham Maslow, in The Farther Reaches of Human Nature(1980), tacitly incorporating the cultural aspect of Theory Y, borrows the term" synergy" from anthropologist Ruth Benedict, the term meaning a combined, cooperative action or force. Theory Y, Maslow asserts, is an example of "high synergy", or mutually-reinforcing effort, while "low synergy" "applies to social groupings in which activities of the individual are opposed or counterproductive."(p.164)
Maslow, a visionary in his own right, proposed his own "Theory Z":
It may be said of the 'merely-healthy' self-actualizers that they fulfill the expectations of McGregor's Theory Y. But of the-individuals who have transcended self-actualization we must say that they have not only fulfilled but also transcended or surpassed Theory Y. They live at a level which I shall call Theory Z for convenience and because it is on the same continuum as Theories X and Y and with them: forms a hierarchy." (p.272)
Although ardent and insightful, Maslow fails to recognize or describe the minor, painful levels through which one must ascend or grow to reach self-actualization. Where Hampden-Turner, in Radical Man (1971), offers a developmental description of the psychosocial increments through which one passes, evolving beyond the myriad forms of externally-induced control to self-determination, Maslow presents a quantum leap from an as-yet nonactualized norm as found in Theory Y to a quasi-metaphysical level Z, more reminiscent of a saint, guru or messiah than a corporate chief executive officer or middle manager.
Among Maslow's twenty-four characteristics of the Z-type we, in fact, find comments like the following: "Peak and plateau experiences are the most important things in life"; "meta-motivated"; "easier transcendence of the ego; self, identity"; "awe-inspiring, revered"; "prone to cosmic sadness’; "more Taoistic". Clearly, although these traits are devoutly to be wished in our business executives and workers, they represent an idealism or visionary quality beyond our present level of development, beneath the Theory Y level, which has not yet evolved, but is not beyond our potential.
The fact that Maslow's Z-types, he claims, are to be found in areas of business and industry but conceal these and other transcendent qualities is paradoxical, since one's concern over being seen in this fashion and cloaking themselves would be more attributable to non-Z types.
More immediately useful in understanding our current reality is Erich Fromm's Man for Himself (1975). Fromm's penetrating criticism and insight touches some of the central issues with which we are currently grappling. He suggests that the problem of production has been solved and that the unification of mankind in the "conquest of nature for the sake of man" is imminent. However, he notes that man has lost his vision and fundamental values along the way to the present choice-point he has reached. Fromm's lengthy statement is well worth quoting directly and completely:
...(M)odern man feels uneasy and more and more bewildered. He works and strives, but he is dimly aware of a sense of futility...While his power over matter grows, he feels powerless in his individual life and in society. While creating a new and better means for mastering nature, he has become enmeshed in a network of those means and lost the vision of the end which alone gives them significance--man himself. While becoming the master of nature, he has become the slave of the machine which his own hands built. With all his knowledge about matter, he is ignorant with regard to the most important and fundamental questions of human existence: what man is, how he ought to live, and how the tremendous energies within man can be released and used productively.
The contemporary human crisis has led to a retreat from the hopes and ideas of the Enlightenment under the auspices of which our political and economic progress had begun. The very idea of progress is called childish illusion, and 'realism', a new word for the utter lack of faith in man, is preached instead. The idea of the dignity and power of man, which gave man the strength and courage for the tremendous accomplishments of the last few centuries, is challenged by the suggestion that we have to revert to the acceptance of man's ultimate powerlessness and insignificance. This idea threatens to destroy the very roots from which our culture grew. (Pp.14-15)
Fromm astutely and firmly focuses his central meanings about productiveness as related to power. Power, he indicates, can either be "power over" or "power to" domination and control or capacity and production. Based upon a Freudian foundation of libidinal organization and channeling within the structure of one's orientation (or relatedness to the world), Fromm describes four nonproductive character types and one productive type. He ties the character types to a human substitute for animal instincts, never quite achieving the link to instincts as in the more profound eclecticism of Jung.
The four non-productive characters portrayed by Fromm, the Receptive, Exploitative, Hoarding and Marketing types, tend to be somewhat stereotypical and reductionistic. What is sorely lacking are the individuating dynamics of these orientations and the common, universal underpinning which would have contributed to the reader's deeper understanding of the categorical differences the difference between a cartoon and graphic portraiture.
Fromm has chosen to build a theoretical structure upon the base and limitations of the Freudian paradigm. Unfortunately, he does not give enough attention to the societal, cultural and familial components which, when integrated, provide a more comprehensive matrix from which his types would emerge as cultural forms.
More sensitive to character, its analysis and function, Reich (1972) states the following, underscoring the roles of social and economic factors in character development, whether individual or societal:
The result of character formation is dependent upon the phase in which the impulse is frustrated; frequency and intensity of the frustrations; impulses against which the frustrations are chiefly directed; ratio between indulgence and frustration;...contraindications in the frustrations themselves. All these conditions are determined by the prevailing social order with respect to education, morality, and the gratification of needs; in the final analysis, by the prevailing economic structure of the society. (p.160)
Fromm's highest character orientation, the Productive type, is directly related to Freud's genital character. Fromm admits Freud's vagueness in describing this type mentioning that its is one in whom the "oral and anal libido has lost its dominant position and functions under the supremacy of genital sexuality, the aim of which is sexual union with a member of the opposite sex."(p.90).
The Productive Character has a judgmental attitude and a broad "mode of relatedness" to human experience. He associates productiveness with creative self-expression, a trait inherent in all, unless blocked emotionally or mentally. Through this worldliness and expressive freedom one shows "productive love", an active, non-passion-based: love marked by care, responsibility, respect and knowledge.
Fromm's Productive Character bears some similarity to Maslow's self-actualizers but is far removed from the Maslowian Z-type. The problem is one of definition for Fromm has provided only sketchy details of his types, far below the philosophically-embroidered details which embellish his explanation of his sweeping concepts. From an overview, one might say that his distribution of types is "negatively skewed", whereas Maslow reflects the reverse, tending to "load" the population with more Z-types than might be actually found. Each seem to miss the target of describing modal society, Fromm by falling short of the mark, Maslow by overshooting.
The more significant statements expressed by Fromm are found in his awareness of man's growing powerlessness, impotency, hopelessness and sense of meaninglessness; the significance of his insights related to the universality of these issues in our society, indeed in the Western world.
The need for power is expressed in an existential frame of reference by Rollo May in Power and Innocence (1981). May sensitively explores the groundwork of power as the capacity to create, to risk, to be effective, and contrasts these positive forms with a prevalent sense of powerlessness, ineffectiveness and lack of control in today's society. He says that power is "the ability to cause or prevent change" and isolates five types:
It can be seen that, in descending order, the use of power as an external control factor diminishes and more self-emergence and actualization is permitted. Clearly, exploitation, manipulation, and competition have been the most prevalent power forms found in industry, or society in general. With the humanistic exploration by industry during the 1960's, a few cautious attempts were made towards nutrient forms. The major shift however, that which holds the greatest potential-Integrative-has not been seriously implemented.
That the environment, social or industrial, must reduce the use of externally-controlling power forms in order to permit and foster greater growth is obvious. McGregor has already stated that the average worker only utilized, as indeed do we all, only part of the potential available within them. May addresses this issue, pointedly:
Unless there is an actual encounter or the potentiality for actual encounter,. an individual's power of being remains hidden. The power to be becomes evident in the continual struggles of being against nonbeing, in (Paul) Tillich's words, Tillich seeing nonbeing as all aspects that negate and destroy being. These include conformism, which destroys uniqueness and originality; hostility, which shrinks courage, generosity, and capacity to understand the other; destructiveness; and, eventually, death itself. We have being to the extent that we can absorb nonbeing into ourselves.’ A life process is the more powerful, the more nonbeing it can include in its self-affirmation, without being destroyed by it.’ The aim is not to overlook or repress expressions of nonbeing, but to confront them directly, accept them as necessity, endeavor to absorb them-all of which reduces their destructive power. Out of this struggle comes creativity. (p.144)
Tillich, with May's agreement, appears to address an Oriental view which appeared earlier, in the discussion on Buddhist thought--"Acceptance of Buddha...embraces many existences"--embraces a concept in consciousness that is pivotal in social, industrial and national growth: The expansion of one's reality to encompass as many being and nonbeing aspects of ourselves and our world can only lead to increased empathy, understanding and tolerance, freeing us from the distrust that has played a key role in splitting our individual and collective productivity. The message is that we ourselves define our reality through our philosophy, and the limitations of our Weltanschauung are the limits of our philosophical outreach. The more incidents of exclusion involving perceived ego-dystonic aspects of reality, whether psychological, cultural or international, the more narrowed our sphere of awareness, the less coping adaptations we acquire (leading to less flexibility) and the more vulnerable we become to changes which (seem to) overwhelm us like revolutions.
We have touched upon some humanistic considerations bearing upon current dissatisfactions and unrest in the world of business and industry. The issues dealt with encompass feelings of frustration through ineffectiveness, a loss of control over one's life and one's security, powerlessness, anonymity as one tends to be "lost" in the workforce, the lack of guaranteed opportunity for growth accompanied by a sense of stagnation. Are these symptoms central to the core of the problem, or more peripherally related? I would speculate that, as was indicated earlier in Jung's quote from the Tao describing the wheel, that it is not merely what is seen that is most prominent. Instead, in an Oriental sense, what is not seen holds the constellation of discontent together: The wheel of industry with its perceptible problems and imperceptible causes, is joined to the wagon of society through a central void, an emptiness which must be filled in order that any individual, group or society may function with some degree of integration; it must have at its center, assuming that the wheel itself is functional, some means of interdigitating with the whole of the social order. That integrating factor is meaning!
Viktor Frankl's existential perspectives in Man's Search for Meaning (1970) seems to slice deeply and cleanly like a scalpel, through the integument, tissues and fibrous connections which obscure the seat of our societal and industrial "dis-ease": The lack of meaning in daily existence; the absence of guiding principles or "superordinate goals" (Pascale and Athos, 1981, p.286-291); the raison d'etre; the spirit of each individual as part of the collective unconscious of all mankind.
Stripped of all external referents signifying civilization during his internment in a world War Two concentration camp, his human soul and spirit were laid bare in a stark, barbed-wire reality alongside the many gaunt, emaciated, dead and dying. There, in one of the darkest periods in mankind's dramatic evolution, Frankl lived from hour to hour with thousands of others who either grasped hungrily at survival by strengthening themselves spiritually, by yielded to the environment regressing to a primitive mode of existence, or surrendered their will and welcomed death.
Through months of deprivation, fear, torment and apathy, Frankl became more acutely aware of the spiritual aspect of the individual and, through the manifestation of his Logotherapy, came to see man as "..,a being whose main concern consists in fulfilling a meaning and in actualizing values, rather than in mere gratification and satisfaction of drives and instincts, or in merely reconciling the conflicting claims of id, ego and superego, or in the mere adaption and adjustment to society and environment."(p.105) Lack of meaning in life, the "existential vacuum” and its felt sense of core emptiness is, according to Frankl, compensated for by a will to power-control, or its variants, the will to money, power, status, or the will to pleasure--sensual hedonism, escapism.”
From a collective point of view, Franks says "First of all, there is a danger inherent in the teaching of man's 'nothingbutness', the theory that man is nothing but the result of biological, psychological and sociological conditions, or the product of heredity and environment. Such a view of man makes him into a robot, not a human being."(p.131) Frankl, I believe, with considerable personal in-sight gained through his grim experiences, holds a special consideration, an unusual view on the subject of self-actualization, a concept perhaps too easily bandied about and applied:
..(T)he real aim of human existence cannot be found in what is called self-actualization. Human existence is essentially self-transcendence rather than self-actualization. Self-actualization is not a possible aim at all; for the simple reason that the more a man would strive for it, the more he would miss it. For only to the extent to which man commits himself to the fulfillment of his life's meaning, to this extent he also actualizes himself. In other words, self-actualization...(is)a side-effect of self transcendence. "(Pp.112-113)
Frankl's insight is quite remarkable and, perhaps, only to have been gained by a special person who, in the hell of a concentration camp, came to recognize the ultimate powers left to humans stripped bare of all else: love and self-transcendence. To find meaning in the face of suffering, brutality, death, and to come to the profound realization of the power gained through transcendence and love is like unexpectedly finding a flower blossoming in the barrenness of a desert wilderness.
To actualize one's self does, in fact relate to the capacity-power-to transcend environmental limits and impositions. This realization adds the final, prime factors pertinent in completing the brief humanistic survey intended to apply to our needs in society and industry.
The responsibility to proactively, collectively and individually, rise beyond perceived constraints in order to actualize potential and create the meaning by which the individual and society survive is, as Frankl emphasizes, “the last of human freedoms, the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances”. (p. xi) The power to choose one's attitude, a force which cannot be taken away, is central to any social change that eventuates. Without recognizing this inner resource, apathy, impotence, ineffectiveness, powerlessness, can only be perpetuated as a consensually-validated 'reality', immovable, fixed and jailor of the human spirit. God, as the Old Testament attests, created man in his own image; in this fashion has mankind created society and industry in its own image-the collective fashionings of man's consciousness.
Old forms of existence, as Oates has indicated earlier, may be destroyed and new ones recreated from the ashes. What forms will the new manifestations of our collective consciousness take? As the unrest and disruption reflects our restlessness and projects it onto our environment, our world, what will the coming image of humanity be; what will be reflected in” The Shapes of Things to Come?"
We may be certain that the paradigm, or matrix, upon which industry has been based is changing and will continue to change, despite attempts by some to resist the emerging symbols of our times. We have learned from humanistic psychologists that individual and collective needs reach beyond mere wages and promotions alone. Among these meta-needs we may include the following:
The Japanese Corporation: A Socioeconomic Paradigm
"The "normal' science of management is long since in need of a new paradigm. We need to exclaim, 'The Emperor has no clothes!'." (Ouichi, 1981, p.187)
After consideration of the matrices upon which the histories and forms of
American and Japanese industries are based, and the human needs and values
discussed in prior sections, what conclusions may be reached in order to
comprehend America's socioeconomic decline while the productivity and welfare of
Japanese society and industry fare so well during these inflationary times?
What appears obvious in Pascale and Athos' The Art of Japanese Management is the
recognition and implementation of holistic values in setting a productive tone
and suitable, wholesome c
During the 1950's however, Drs. Edward Demig and J. Juran visited Japan in order to aid in the redevelopment of their industry. "Quality Circles" arose as a result; groups of workers approaching a mutual problem collectively, each with veto power, and consensually developing a solution to be submitted to management. Such arrangements have not found favor in America where the perceived submergence of identity is viewed as a threat. Whyte however, in The Organization Man, addresses the split reality of the American--sensitive to the need for individuality--who nonetheless subverts aspects of himself in adapting to "the rat race" or "treadmill" collectives of the corporation.
Through a personal communication with a congressional representative, I learned
that Japanese immigration to the United States is, and has been quite low in
We are left with both a duality and a potential synthesis: On one hand we find the duality of either American X or Y type organizations; on the other hand lies the Japanese Z-type organization described by Ouichi (1981). The main features of the Z corporation are as follows:
Adding their own slant, Pascale and Athos(1981) refer to a "Seven S" analysis of corporate structure:
Traditionally, corporations have relied upon the "hard" S's-strategy, structure, systems--with little regard for the remaining factors. It is from staff, style, skills and superordinate goals--the "soft S's--that a holistic orientation and its values spring, as well as the deeper meanings, or overall guiding principles, of the corporate existence.
We can now more comprehensively see the whole of the emergence of the Japanese corporate entity. It has evolved, in its present form, as an extrusion from the existing societal matrix which has, historically, contained elements including obedience and respect for authority, cooperation, submergence of the individual in the collective and paternalistic responsibility of authority towards subordinates. The propensity towards the development of the current industrial form existed prior to the mid-nineteenth century, but the actual emergence of the Z-type corporation was the result of a cultural cross-breeding stemming from American occupation, training, education, and consultation occurring during the post-war years. The effects of the many Americans stationed in Japan added to potential value changes as well. Add to this synthesis, a homogeneous, competitive, industrious, imitative (individuality is not a threat)society with a common religious-spiritual heritage and the result is a national socioeconomic Petri dish with a proper nutrient base producing a hybrid growth when inoculated with innovative, extra-cultural, production methodologies.
This analogy has proven true time and time again in the Japanese pattern of taking a product innovated elsewhere, redesigning it, making it more reliable, selling it at a lower price and undercutting the competition via high technology research and development aggressive entrepreneurial practices. As Pascale and Athos indicate by quoting an RCA executive, "Their concept of 'research and development' is to analyze competing products and figure out how to do better."(1981, p.42). The resources for doing it better at the Matsushita Corporation alone totaled $400 million dollars in 1980--without developing one new product!
Japanese psychology rests heavily upon religious and spiritual foundations. Rather than a rush towards immediate, short-term goals, there is time ("acceptance time"): time to gather information, time to confer, time to decide whether a decision is necessary at that point, time to act, and time to accept a decision. This is in dramatic contrast to the American rapidity in reaching closure, whether formulating an agreement or making a decision.
The upshot is that extreme qualitative differences exist between Japanese and American organizations, including an extended training and value orientation period for new employees that rings more truly as an acculturation process for assimilation into a corporate culture in which an employee will spend a lifetime.
A few American corporations are, to a limited extent, tentatively moving towards the Japanese paradigm. For example, Rockwell International used a "culture profile" as a means of examining the "actual self" of the corporation as compared to the "ideal self". Although the results were revealing and the applications were somewhat successful, the fact that this appraisal involved top managers falls short of a full Z-type commitment to consensual, participative input and depicts our cultural predisposition towards exclusivity, total or partial.
"Clans", communication, practicality, caution, human rights and welfare, respect, job security, effectiveness, collectivism, belongingness, meaning, etc.: these are the elements of the corporate culture of the Japanese, a hybrid built upon a societal matrix quite different from our own. The Japanese have successfully created an integration of American management and production ideas with their own cultural "character" resulting in a functioning synthesis--a greater whole, or "mandala of industry". As Arthur Koestler (1964) states in regard to his "bisociation of matrices”, “The more unlikely or far-fetched the matrix M2 (i.e. the more independent from M1) the more unexpected and impressive the achievement. The creative act could be described as the highest form of learning because of the high improbability (or anti-chance probability) of the solution”. (p.657) In this instance, the "improbable" synthesis contradicts the old dictum that "East is East, and West is West, etc.", for the twain have met, at least in one hemisphere. Now the question remains as to whether America, a contributor to the synthesis leading to Japan's productivity, can as readily adopt and learn from the Japanese. Irrational refusal to imitate or adopt successful methods and egocentric pride in our hypocritical form of individualism serve as obstructions. If, as Frankl might posit, we are capable of self-transcendence, we will actualize the potential that is the true heritage of this form of society. As collectivism was not a threat to us when this nation was engaged in war, the integration of the individual within groups, industrial or societal, is a potential reality if we are to shun outmoded, traditional, coercive management methods. As Floyd Matson stated, “Once human dignity is regarded not as a future by-product of social engineering but as an inherent quality of man qua man--more to be safeguarded from external encroachment than 'implemented' by external fiat--the prospect of a manipulated dignity becomes less attractive."(1964).
The Japanese paradigm, although workable for the Japanese, is imperfect, for in it the individual-collective ratio weighs more heavily in the direction of the collective: it is an imperfect mandala. Self-effacement, self-submergence and humility are cultural values, matrix orientations deeply meaningful to the Japanese on a profound spiritual and symbolic level, but not necessarily as appropriate an adaptive form for a heterogeneous nation as our own.
What is severely lacking in the Japanese collective character is a human resource found abundantly in America and other Western societies: rebelliousness. May (1981) says that the rebel is "One who opposes authority or restraint: one who breaks with established custom or tradition: He seeks above all an internal change, a change in the attitude, emotions and outlook of the people to whom he is devoted. He often seems to be temperamentally unable to accept success and the ease it brings: "he kicks against the pricks, and when one frontier is conquered, he soon becomes ill-at-ease and pushes on to the new frontier...He rebels for the sake of a vision of life and society which he is convinced is critically important for himself and his fellows...the rebel does not seek power as an end and his little facility for using it; he tends to share his power." (p.221)
It is, significant that Konosuke Matsushita, the founder and leader of the enormous Matsushita corporation, may be considered a "rebel" through his break with fiscal security to enter (at that time) the new field of electronics, his innovative, rule-breaking of normative Japanese marketing practices, his unorthodox management style and his enormously creative synthesis of massive data input into a unique, flexible, corporate structure. He is, I suspect, a living exception to the rule of normative behavior.
The cohesive, pulling-together of the Japanese organization serves as a good foundation for a pragmatic, holistic effort towards satisfying productivity. The homogeneity, although effective for the daily activities Kuhn would refer to as "normal" problem solving, is however, unfavorable for the development of new, creative, innovations which have not been produced by other nations and cannot, as a result, be imitated. "Groupthink" works against evolving new realities; it is the disruptive cacophony of differing ideas and paradigmatic perspectives and dissents from which uniqueness emerges, much as Koestler has indicated. Each individual is a matrix unto themselves, and too great a commonality leads to stagnation.
Perhaps this is why Japanese imitation and refinement serve as their mainstay in developing products. Their "mandala of industry", as I suggested earlier, is imperfectly balanced in a way that is the reverse of our own.
Prospectus-The Imperfect Mandalas
A transition of consciousness is in progress. As the Japanese culture, after the war, was inseminated by the ideas, values and technology of Western culture by increased American presence, the cultural character altered, prompted by the rewards offered by a more vigorous economy. The matrix unchanged, the Japanese utilized their existent cultural "tools" to develop their present, effective industrial system.
America has long ignored--or denied--its non-holistic, Lockean bent. A mere slap-dash splint of human empathy applied to an ailing social and industrial structure will not suffice, nor will weekend T-groups, self-esteem training or any other supportive, auxiliary device. The counter-norms are too strong for new forms to grow.
Psychology has warned industry of the need for a Z-type development as far back as the 1920's, but the call went unheeded. Now, the once-great and productive bureaucratic organizations, from business to government, have grown clumsy, rigid, unresponsive, inflexible and anachronistic: We have become the institutional” dinosaurs" in an inflationary "Ice-Age", while the smaller, more flexible and adaptable creatures in our shadow have moved closer to economic supremacy.
We have ignored our archetypal expressions. At the risk of extinction, we have not heard the call to modify and adapt our consciousness, to tap the rich resources of our heterogeneous "personal unconscious" and the even richer vein of universal wisdom beneath. We have become weak and reactionary, rather than the creative, proactive, vigorous iconoclasts and rebels represented by our country's founding fathers. Veneration of the self as opposed to interdependent cooperation has led to sheer hypocrisy in which one actually sells their identity for a price, claiming to be an individual, yet submerging their true Self in a corporate or social environment that is intolerant of authenticity.
The Z corporation, as Ouichi (1981) indicates, is not a revelation: It is only the specific cultural expression of a society that would not permit societal or individual pride in emulating successful models to stand in their way towards progress. Z corporations in Japan are not perfect by holistic standards. Although not consciously, individuality is repressed by cultural values in favor of the collective and true creativity--the conception and development of new forms, new realities--is not found abundantly. The Japanese corporation, based upon the society's cultural assets and deficits, is not a completely successful model.
Modified Z-type corporations already exist in the United States. However, they have evolved within the context of a sagging economic outlook and feel the cumulative effects of the many X-type corporations who continually refuse to recognize the need for modification and adaption.
The brighter view of the situation includes both the turbulence of the times and
our national heterogeneity. Turbulence is an indication of deeper societal
discontents which can, if we recognize them and utilize the symbolic messages of
our unconscious, be resolved creatively through new forms of doing and being.
Perhaps this is why Elgin (p.1, this paper) cited "untapped human potentials" as
one of our greatest challenges. Our societal mixture of beliefs, races,
religions, cultural and ethnic groups is a sword which can cut either in the
direction of divisiveness and discord, or through self- and group-transcendence,
towards a new societal synthesis with undreamt of creative potential: a richly
embroidered cultural expression arising from the best each person and group has
to offer in creating personal, organizational, and national meanings. This is a
possibility which, contrary to the present, depressing failings of American
socioeconomic structures to meet societal needs may, like the
The paradoxical aspect of this potentiality lies in the improbable bisociation of more than two matrices: The merging of American and Japanese structures in the creation of a distinctly, holistic industrial paradigm, and its consequent spread into adjoining towns and cities as a viable, alternative set of values. It is a strange notion that a component in our society which has traditionally operated on a partitionistic, non-humanistic basis could, in fact, catalyze and reinforce one of the spreading trans-formations of consciousness.
Recalling that, due to World War Two, the West's presence was taken to Japanese soil, we must also be sensitive to the occurrence of the reverse, a process that began during the 1960's as more and more Americans searched Eastern religions and philosophies for the meanings they could not find in our established forms.
Further, the increased numbers of Chinese, Taiwanese, Koreans, etc., who have immigrated to the United States during the past thirty years are becoming enculturated, shifting slightly, on a latent level, the matrix of this society. Certainly, the fact that Japanese managers have headed Japanese plants in America is directly effecting--consciously and unconsciously—those working in the modified Z-type atmosphere. This will then spread the effects through families, neighbors, and other social sub-groupings.
It must not be overlooked that the most significant quest is not simply the American development of many Z-type corporations in order to "beat" Japan. Rather, what is desired is a modified Z-society in which all individuals, societies, and nations share in opportunities to reach levels of Maslowian transcendence, self and societal actualization.
Not the Power Man, not the Profit Man, not the Mechanical Man, but the Whole Man, Man in Person, so to say, must be the central actor in the new drama of civilization...If technics is not to play a wholly destructive part in the future of Western Civilization we must now ask ourselves, for the first time, what sort of society and what kind of man are we seeking to produce? Lewis Mumford (Whyte, 1966)
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As a postscript to the above, my work with line staff and middle and upper management executives has demonstrated consistently that the American corporation
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