Since the 1960s, factories around the world have been inspired by the Japanese Kanban method development at Toyota, which they have gradually adopted. This working method known as ” just in time “ revolutionized Western production methods, and it is today the basis of agile methods, very popular in project management and in the development of digital applications. Since then, the world economy has globalized, and growth has accelerated in Asia, where the population has increased sharply.
But managerial practices are not always exported: while the digital transformation, the advent of the mobile Internet, trivialized teleworking and the arrival in the professional world of new generations have profoundly transformed companies, both in the West and in the West. in Asian countries, the ways of doing things remain strongly rooted in local cultures.
If the paternalistic entrepreneurial model remains dominant in Asia, especially in China, management methods have evolved under the impetus of globalization. As for Western companies established in Asia, most of them have stopped imposing their methods in their Asian subsidiaries or subcontractors. From there to be inspired by management methods practiced in Asia, there is a big step.
Breakthrough innovation “
“Rather than being inspired, we have to see what works and why, suggests Catou Faust, professor of intercultural management at EM Lyon business school. French companies have drawn a lot of inspiration from the United States, which has a culture of “how” rather than “why”, and which provides very quantitative reporting tools. “ This cultural difference is also found in innovation. For the Japanese, the latter is everywhere and everyone can innovate, that is to say improve, constantly. “Whereas in France, innovation must be ‘breakthrough’, unlike the Chinese who, for their part, adapt”, she emphasizes.
It is above all under the impetus of the new generations that the management of Asian companies is evolving. Asmita Dubey, Chief Digital Officer of L’Oréal, observed this during her experiences in India and China: “Strong economic development, especially in China, has been accompanied by rapid technological acculturation, which means that young people are truly“ mobile native ”and have a strong culture of agile methods and programming. “
This is reflected in the management of projects, which are solved collectively by a team with varied skills, in which each occupies a clearly defined place and where all share the same objective. “This collaborative approach of multi-functional teams is very different from much more individualistic Western methods. This way of working will spread because it brings significant benefits. “ We already find a relatively similar practice in Europe and the United States in start-ups, but it does not always last when the young shoot grows.
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Are management styles in Asia too different to be a source of inspiration?