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Wayne MacPherson

Doctor of Business and Administration, (Business administration)
Study Completed: 2013
Massey Business School


Thesis Title
An examination of Kaizen drift in Japanese genba: Implications for business in the anglosphere

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The philosophy of kaizen is widely believed to be central to Japan’s industrial success.  In attempts to replicate that success, researchers and business leaders from English speaking countries have interpreted kaizen to mean continuous improvement.  As such, many businesses in the Anglosphere have attempted to incorporate the visible tools and techniques of kaizen in their work places.  After detailed analysis of interviews with Japanese workers and managers, the research determined that Japanese kaizen has a considerably deeper meaning than that which is adopted in the Anglosphere.  In Japan kaizen was observed to channel worker creativity and expressions of individuality into a bounded environment.  Kaizen creates an energy that drives a shared state of mind among employees to achieve proactive changes and innovation in the work place.  These findings suggest that if businesses in the Anglosphere wish to use kaizen as a source of competitive advantage they need to develop the underlying philosophy in addition to the tools and techniques of which they are currently familiar.

Dr James Lockhart
Dr Anthony Iaquinto
Dr Heather Kavan