What is the organizational culture at Toyota?

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Toyota is an interesting example of a fairly traditional Japanese company that has recently made significant changes to its organizational structure, which have in turn impacted the culture over the following years. In 2013, Toyota underwent a major restructuring. It increased the powers and responsibilities of divisional heads in eight regional divisions, Japan, North America, Europe, East Asia/Oceania, China, Asia/Middle East, Africa, and Latin America/Caribbean, rather than, as before, concentrating all the important decisions at the headquarters in Japan. It also introduced product-based divisions for Lexus, and for engines and transmissions, worldwide.

This restructuring means that Toyota, while retaining many of the characteristics of a traditional Japanese company, is less secretive and hierarchical, with more global involvement in decision-making than was formerly the case. The new organizational structure, in particular the product-based divisions, means that employees are increasingly working in teams across countries and wider geographic areas. Teamwork and the development of in-house training have been given a new emphasis, and senior employees are expected to show regular evidence of development in their areas of specialization. There has also been and increased emphasis on flexibility, innovation and the speed at which decisions can be made and new policies implemented.

However, as explained in Jeffery K. Liker's book The Toyota Way, which lays out Toyota's core management principles prior to 2013, speed is invariably subordinate to quality, with the firm retaining a culture of "stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time."

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