Japanese companies value service and quality highly and they put much effort in realising this. However, survey research carried out in 2001 among senior managers of Japanese logistics companies in the Netherlands, indicated that these efforts do not result in significant performance differences compared to western companies. In this exploratory paper, we report of company visits and interviews with managers of Japanese logistics companies in Western Europe. They described a clash of cultures underlying their operations, prohibiting them from achieving performance excellence. The causes focus around two key factors: the unique concept of Japanese service, based on future rewards which are absent in Western Europe; different employment circumstances in Western Europe, which make Japanese human resource management ineffective, and the Japanese career development system which makes that Japanese managers do not always have the right focus in their job abroad. We conclude that Japanese subsidiaries in Western Europe should keep on nourishing their unequalled service standards, while simultaneously adapting to efficiency standards of Western business practices in order to become more successful in the future.

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Erasmus Research Institute of Management
hdl.handle.net/1765/7330
ERIM Report Series Research in Management
ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

de Koster, M.B.M, & Shinohara, M. (2006). Supply-Chain Culture Clashes in Europe. Pitfalls in Japanese Service Operations (No. ERS-2006-007-LIS). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/7330