300-Level Management<br> Comparative Management: U.S. &amp; Japan (Writing Intensive)

MGT 343

This is an annotated writing-intensive course syllabus: the Mānoa Writing Program has added annotations in the right margin and bold green font in the syllabus to highlight relevant passages. We place this annotated syllabus and others on our website to help teachers understand different ways of incorporating writing-intensive hallmarks into the syllabus and course.

Comparative Management Systems: U. S. and Japan

MGT 343 WI & E

Fall 2004

D. P. S. Bhawuk, Ph. D.

Day: Wednesday; Time: 3 to 5:45 pm.; Class Room: D-106

Office: C 402 b, CBA

Office Hours: Wednesday 1-3 (or by appointment)


TEXT: Assigned journal articles and book chapters, which are available from Professional Image, 2633 S. King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826, Tel: 973-6599.

The Steel King by K. K. Seo available in Sinclair Library.


This is an advanced management course that will prepare you for the global workplace. You will critically examine similarities and differences in management--people, processes, and environment--between U. S. and Japan. You will learn theories in social sciences, specifically in psychology, sociology, political science, and management, which attempt to explain differences in management practices between the United States and Japan. By focusing on Japan and the United States, the course will provide you the tools to compare and contrast management practices across nations. The course will particularly help you to examine the role of culture in shaping managerial behaviors.

This course will also allow you to examine ethical issues facing various contemporary business activities and practices. In the post Enron business environment, ethics has come to take a center stage in business life, and it is critical for business managers to think about ethical issues in business, and to know their own position on these issues. You will examine ethical dilemmas facing managers in managing industrial conflict, downsizing, negotiating across cultures, and leading people. You will also examine the ethical consequences of adopting Taylorism, and driving organizations to be a market leader. This course will particularly help you to examine the role of culture in shaping our ethical perspectives, and how in the global workplace we need to develop a cross-culturally sensitive and relativistic ethical perspective.


A variety of methods like lecture, group discussions, experiential exercises, case studies, and films will be used.

You will write a 10-page paper, critically evaluating some aspects of management comparing the U. S. and Japan. This will help you polish your critical thinking and writing skills and apply the knowledge you acquire during the course. You will write a special section on ethical issues facing this particular management topic in US and Japan, and evaluate it from a cross-cultural perspective.

To help you develop skills to work in groups, you will work in small groups to write a 25-page report comparing the management practices of a Japanese and an American company in the same industry. You will write a special section evaluating and critically examining how socially responsible or otherwise these two organizations have been in the past, and recommend a course of action for these organizations to become more responsible in the future. You will present your report to the class, which will provide you an opportunity to make a team presentation.

You will also write a book review of the book The Steel King. The 10-page book review should focus on critically analyzing what you learned from the book in light of the concepts discussed in the course. Evaluate if you would consider Mr. T. J. Park an ethical leader, and explain why.

Syllabus addresses Hallmark 1: writing promotes the learning of course materials

In the take-home final examination you will report what you learned in the course during the entire semester covering all the assigned readings, material covered in the lecture, and students’ class presentations. You will write a special section on what you learned about management of ethics in organizations, and the ethics of managing people and organizations across cultures.

You should participate in the class by asking interesting questions, sharing ideas from your critical papers, and discussing what you learn from your group projects. Be ready to take a stand on some management issues and defend your position.

You must conference with me at least two times during the semester to discuss progress made on your written assignments and the effectiveness of the course in facilitating your learning. This will contribute to your class participation grade.


  • PLAGIARISM will result in failing grade for the course. Copying a paragraph from a source without citing it is an example of plagiarism.

  • There will be NO compensatory quizzes or exams

  • Late submissions will NOT be accepted.

  • Late comers will be marked ABSENT.

  • If you re ABSENT for FOUR times, you will get an F GRADE.


You can earn extra credit in two ways. Read an article from Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, and Sloan Management Review on Japanese management or ethical issues facing multinational organizations and write 3-5 pages about what you have learned from it (10 points; maximum of 50 points; Submission date: March 20, 2003). Read a book on Japanese management (my approval of the book is needed) and write a 10-page summary about what you have learned from it (50 points; Submission date: May 01, 2003). PLAN HOW MUCH EXTRA-CREDITS YOU WANT TO DO. DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL IN THE END. IT DOES NOT WORK OUT.

Syllabus addresses Hallmark 2: interaction between teacher and students while students do assigned writing

Syllabus includes a statement regarding plagiarism and consequences.

EVALUATION (Suggested Submission Dates)

Book report (…) 150 points

Critical paper (…) 300 points

Company report (…) 300 points

What I Learned (…) 150 points

Class participation 100 points

Total 1000 points

GRADEA+ > 975A > 950 A- > 900

B+ > 875 B> 850 B- >800

C+> 775 C > 750 C-> 700

D > 675 D > 750 D-> 600

F < 600



SET YOUR OWN GOALS AND submission dates. Remember, if you don’t control your life, somebody else will.

Syllabus addresses Hallmark 3: writing contributes significantly to each student's course grade


Day/Date Quiz/Paper Topics

Wed Course overview

Why comparative management?

Overview of Japanese Management


Wed IR systems in the US and Japan

Wed CP outline: 3 page HRM systems in the US and Japan

Wed Quality control in the U. S. and


Wed CP draft #1: 6 page Worker participation in the U. S. and Japan

Wed Taylorism, Fordism, and Toyotism

Wed Book Report Negotiation, Mediation, and Conflict Resolution

Wed Company Report - 10 pages Culture and management

Wed CP draft #2: 10 page Individualism and collectivism

Wed Ex-Cr Articles Review Ethics in Business Practices in US and Japan

Wed Organizational commitment in the U. S. & Japan

Wed Company Report -25 pages Workgroups in the U. S. & Japan

Wed CP draft #3: 10 pages Leadership in the U. S. & Japan

Wed Presentation and group


Wed Ex-Cr Book Review Presentation and group


Wed Summing Up

Reading Assignments

[Contact Professor Bhawuk for the reading list]

Syllabus addresses Hallmark 2: interaction between teacher and students while students do assigned writing.

Weekly class schedule builds in a writing process (assignments are broken into manageable parts and students receive guidance as they complete each part)


You should take the critical paper as an opportunity to learn about the objective of this paper is to learn about a management issue by analyzing secondary information available on that issue on Japan and the United States. You could write about environmental protection in US and Japan, business education in US and Japan, sexual harassment in the workplace in US and Japan, and so forth. Any topic or issue is acceptable, as long as you connect it to the business world.

Focus on management and human resource management topics rather than finance and marketing topics. For example, one student whose major was finance compared the organizational structure of the U. S. and the Japanese organizations, specially the board of directors, and explained why the boards are different in these two countries. It was an interesting comparison, and something that was not covered in the course.

Don't write a critical paper on a topic listed in the syllabus (e,g., human resource management in US and Japan, quality in US and Japan, negotiation in US and Japan, etc.) using the material I have provided in the reading package. You will learn that material and will be rewarded for doing so through the credit earned for the exam, class participation, etc.



It will require some research (10 to 12 references) beyond the prescribed material.

Remember, the internet is a rich BUT NOT THE ONLY source of information.

See Some Writing Challenges and Writing Tips (below).

Syllabus addresses Hallmark 1: increases students' understanding of course materials

The professor lets students know what the professor expects (e.g., an issue not covered on the syllabus; focus on management topics, not finance topics). He also provides advice and tips in the following sections.

Some Writing Challenges

Challenge #1: Constructing an inquiry

Once you have a topic to investigate, you must find in it questions to answer. A good place to start is with what you don't know, including the standard who? what? when? and where?

Give special attention to why/how questions that move beyond matters of fact into inquiry:

  • Why are hotel employees leaving corporation X after four weeks?

  • How can the corporation retain new employees?

  • How is the high turnover rate impacting the corporation?

Another strategy for creating questions from a topic is to work through a sequence: name the topic, state what you want to find, and provide the rationale for the research. For example,

Topic: Women in Management

Research Question: To find out why women in Japan have made slower progress than women in the US

Significance/Rationale: in order to understand what social conditions exist and what changes can be made to alleviate this situation.

Challenge #2: Making sense of the readings

A. Evaluate your readings

Do not attach equal weight to everything you read because "it was published." Evaluate what you read:

  • What do you know about the source's background or biases?

  • When was the material published? Does the author define terms?

  • Does the author support assertions?

  • What evidence does the author use to test or support his or her hypothesis?

  • How do this author's conclusions match the conclusions of other authors you have read?

B. Compare / contrast perspectives

Read several articles on a topic and answer these questions for each one:

  • Before I read this text, the author assumed that I believed ___________.

  • After reading this text, the author wanted me to believe _____________.

  • The author was/was not successful in changing my views because _____________.

Challenge #3: Composing the report or argument

Do "rhetorical analysis." To get a sense of the overall shape of your report, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the message I want to convey?

  • What's the purpose of writing this report? What impact do I want to have on my readers?

  • Who are my readers? What do they already know about my subject? What do they expect me to say?

  • What stance do I assume? Should I analyze critically? Review a controversy? Analyze a controversy? Synthesize current thinking on an issue?

Writing Tips

Organize your paper. Check for the following:

  • Did you write an introduction and overview paragraph?

  • There should be three to four main ideas in your paper.

  • Can you identify the main ideas in your paper?

  • Do you have a thesis? You may start with a thesis based on some conception you have about a management practice, or you may develop your thesis after reading a number of articles.

  • Did you systematically follow through and build on those three or four ideas in the body of the paper?

  • One way to ensure it is to have subtitles for each of the ideas.

  • Did you write a conclusion emphasizing your findings?

  • This should include what you have learned, what you found contradictory, or what you think is a myth.

  • Try to write your paper in a page. This will help you identify your main ideas and supporting arguments.

Proof read your paper

  • Use Spell Check. Use Grammar Check, if it is not already built-in in your word processor.

  • Read aloud (allowed may sound like aloud. J.).

  • Ask a friend to read it for you.

  • Some of you DO need to find a friend to help you.

  • Watch out for some common mistakes you make (e.g., it’s / its, where / were, etc.).

These tips will help:

  • Finish your paper at least two days before the deadline. Don’t look at it for a day. Then read the paper, and proof read using the steps given above.

  • Make a list of problem areas and name the problems (e.g., syntax, spelling errors, word choice, long and windy, etc.). If you cannot name the problem, ask a friend. Or ask me. Then work on those every time you write something.

  • Write a process journal. Detail the steps you took to write the paper. Be honest, it is not to be used to defend how hard you worked, but to see for yourself how you can improve the process of writing.

  • Contact Writing Workshop (walk in to Kuykendall 415, sign up for an appointment in Kuy 402, or call 956 – 7619) for help.

EFFORT COUNTS (also for grade!). PLEASE TRY!

Guidelines for Comparative Company Report

1. Introduce your paper or report in a paragraph or two: Briefly describe what you have presented in the report.

2. Introduce the industry in an opening paragraph or two. Who are the key players in this industry?

3. Introduce the two companies in the next two sub-sections (2-3 paragraphs). Give global market share of the companies as well as their share in US and Japan.

4. Compare and contrast the practices of the two companies along four or five dimensions (10-12 pages).

The following chart may help you to organize general comparative material about these companies:

Topics for comparison

The U. S. Company

The Japanese Company

Historical evolution (present a time line)

Mission Statement

Role of Founder(s)

Management of Innovation and Inventions

Globalization strategy

Quality Management

HR practices (selection, training, compensation, promotion, etc.)

Environment management/corporate social responsibility

Market Share, Gross Sales, Profit/EPS, etc.

5. In the discussion section (5-6 pages) include the following:

  • What are the practices followed by these companies that are similar to the general stereotypes of their respective countries discussed in the course?
  • What theories that you learned in the course are supported or not supported by your findings about the two companies?

It is very important that you spend some time thinking critically about some issues.

6. Describe what you have learned from this exercise (1-2 page).

7. Do not use ONLY generic Japanese management practices (e.g., lifetime employment, Nenko wage system, enterprise union, etc) to describe the Japanese company in your report. Do more research to find out some of the unique practices followed by the company.

8. Do try to get details about the management practices you describe. For example, if a company has a unique selection procedure or a unique training and development program, then do describe the system or practice in some detail. Do not spend too much effort on learning about the nitty-gritty details of the company, unless you can use it to describe a management practice.

The next four sections of the syllabus demonstrate Hallmark 2: providing for various interactions between teacher and students while students do assigned writing.

The professors gives students tips and advice on how to write for the course.

My Teaching Philosophy

· Teaching is a complex process of multiple interactions between the teacher and students in the classroom, and outside of the classroom. I try to keep my classroom environment friendly, two-way communication going, and communication barriers at bay to get the students involved in the learning process. I strive to achieve excellence in teaching, and work hard to match the high standards of the best professors I have known personally.

· Application of Theory Y in the Classroom: Every student is interested in learning, will take responsibility for learning, and will rise to the occasion if challenged, if the professor is enthusiastic about teaching, is accessible, is open to student feedback, gives timely feedback, and rewards performance. You can learn what you want, and are responsible for your learning. Make your own schedules of submission of individual assignments, and focus on your individual learning goals while doing term papers, self-reflection papers, etc.

· Celebration of Learning: Rather than telling student what they don't know, I prefer to focus on what they have learned, and spend the first 15 minutes of the class on what individual students have learned in the past week. This approach strengthens the Theory Y approach in that it keeps students' learning at the center of the class room stage.

· Students as Customers: I treat students like customers and try to meet their individual needs and demands within the realm of fairness to all. I encourage you to negotiate a learning contract with me that serves your unique needs.

· Respect for Diversity: Every student is different and every class is different. Therefore, I approach every class with an open mind, consider the uniqueness of every individual, and try to fine tune with the spirit and energy level of the class. This also helps individual students to focus on their individual learning needs.

· Integration of Theory and Practice: I think it is my duty as a professor to expose the students to the latest theories, ideas, and thinking in the field, and invite them to think of ways of applying them in the workplace. I believe in the Lewian philosophy: THERE IS NOTHING SO PRACTICAL AS A GOOD THEORY!

· Presentation of Current Knowledge: I include current articles for both the graduate and undergraduate courses that I teach, and include recent findings in my lectures. This allows me to keep on top of the subject matter, and the students get current knowledge.

· Student Participation in the Learning Process: I allow students to influence the course structure with their input. I only propose the submission dates for assignment, and students decide their own schedule. I also allow them to reschedule, if necessary. However, since managerial life is full of deadlines, I remind them that they should respect their self-made schedule. This allows them to balance their schoolwork and social life.

· Interaction with Students: I try to be friendly and approachable to students. To achieve this, I start my class with jokes. Not all of them fly, but that makes the task all the more challenging. Also, if I make a mistake, I say sorry. I reflect on my interactions with students, and avoid being defensive. I prefer to look at my students as a whole human being, and I am happy to listen to their personal problems, and this has helped many students pull themselves through difficult personal times.

· Grading Philosophy: Grades are like wages earned and should be linked to effort. Therefore, I allow opportunities for improving assignments, and also students can negotiate extra-credit opportunities.

Syllabus addresses Hallmarks 1 & 2: the course uses writing both in and out of the classroom and promotes interaction between teacher and students