ERIC Number: ED219835
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Theory Z: Panacea or Placebo?
Waagen, Christopher L.
William Ouchi's Theory Z, a theory that focuses on the identification of both management and labor with the company's goals, emphasizes communication structures and styles. Ringi is a Japanese procedure for decision making in which all levels of management participate. In Ringi, a manager's task is to communicate. In quality control (Q-C) circles, the foreman plays the manager's role, acting as coordinator and communicator to help the Q-C circle share ideas and reach consensus. Q-C circles also encourage employee identification with the company. Ringi and Q-C circles demonstrate the cooperative, transcendent nature of the Japanese. In order to build an American Theory Z company, Ouchi advises that the company develop a coherent philosophy through employee discussion and then integrate that philosophy in the daily work of the company. Management and production workers can develop the requisite communication and coordination skills through training and education programs. Serious commitment by top management to delegate decision making powers to discussion groups will yield cohesion and employee identification with the company itself. American Theory Z companies cannot work in a vacuum: they must overcome the adversary relationship between management and labor and discover common ground in their culture, community, and company. (JL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Japan; Ouchi (William); Quality Control Circles; Ringi; Theory Z
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the World Future Society Conference (Washington, DC, July 18-22, 1982).