Made in Japan

by Akio Morita, Edwin M. Reingold, Mitsuko Shimomura

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What leadership qualities does Akio Morita show in Made in Japan?

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Akio Morita is a co-founder of the Sony Corporation. In Made in Japan, Morita recounts tales of his early childhood and family life, including details about the family business that made his parents and extended family wealthy. Morita was expected to join the business when he came of age, but he broke with tradition and instead became a powerful businessman. Soon after Morita cofounded Sony, he helped revolutionize the way consumers in the West thought about the quality of Japanese goods.

Morita often stresses the differences between Western and Japanese points of view and suggests that Japanese leadership—and his in particular—is clearly the superior way to conduct business. Morita believes that it is essential to motivate workers by not only paying them well but by also providing a familial and nurturing environment for his employees. Doing so, he argues, creates what he calls a "closed-circle society" where workers are less likely to be dishonest on the job or unhappy with the treatment they receive at work.

However, Morita's leadership also differs from other Japanese business leaders. He has developed something of a glamorous and flashy persona (cavorting with famous people and being transported in private helicopters and jets) which is quite unusual for typical Japanese executives, who are generally more humble and self-effacing.

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