I’m back jetlagged from Japan, about which I may have the strength to post a little in the future.
For now a thought – a big generalisation with only the sketchiest of evidence. Please don’t take it too seriously – or think that I have. It just occured to me as the hours and the kilometres whizzed by. Others may well have suggested it also.
Maybe commenters can provide further examples or counter-examples.
My hypothesis: That the Americans are not good at big bureaucratic firms, whereas the Japanese are and perhaps the Europeans are too.
My evidence (better to call it the phenomena that provoked the idea – its not a lot of evidence): Toyota is beating the pants off the American Big Three car makers. Boeing’s not doing that much better against Airbus. In the latter case subsidies make things murky, but Airbus appears to be beating Boeing technically.
My hypothesis as to the reason for this phenomenon if it’s true: The degeneration of corporate culture into naked pillage from the top is unlikely to engender the kind of morale that is conducive to high productivity and innovative dynamism within a large mature corporation. On the other hand it may be neutral or positively beneficial in other kinds of organisations – for instance software producers where work can be much more easily broken down.