Title: Understanding KAIZEN practice in Japanese overseas manufacturing: a framework

Authors: Takafumi Nakamori; Kiyoshi Takahashi; Bernard T. Han; Derrick McIver

Addresses: Faculty of Policy Science, Ryukoku University, Kyoto 612-8577, Japan ' College of Comprehensive Psychology, Ritsumeikan University, Ibaraki, Osaka 567-8570, Japan ' Department of Business Information Systems, Haworth College of Business, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5412, USA ' Department of Management, Haworth College of Business, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5429, USA

Abstract: The ultimate purpose of KAIZEN is to assure that a company becomes stable with long perpetuity. While findings from existing research are broad and meaningful, none of them has focused on the explanation of how an environment can be created for successful KAIZEN deployment. Furthermore, it is unclear if companies studied by the prior research are still operating or not. In this paper, we collected data from seven Japanese overseas manufacturing subcontractors that have continued their long-term operations with KAIZEN since their founding year. We present a framework to interpret that two necessary and complementary factors, secure climate and collective mato, must co-exist to stimulate voluntary contributions that are essential to KAIZEN success, which may not otherwise occur if either factor is missing. From this study we present propositions that yield insights into KAIZEN's overseas applications along with a theory that deserves further study and validation.

Keywords: KAIZEN; knowledge sharing; secure climate; collective thinking; voluntary contribution; psychological attachment; 5S; knowledge management; collectivism; individualism.

DOI: 10.1504/IJKMS.2019.101481

International Journal of Knowledge Management Studies, 2019 Vol.10 No.3, pp.271 - 298

Received: 07 Feb 2018
Accepted: 10 Feb 2018

Published online: 11 Aug 2019 *

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