We are going to win and the industrial west is going to lose out; there’s not much you can do about it because the reasons for failure are within yourselves. Your firms are built on the Taylor model. Even worse, so are your heads. With your bosses doing the thinking while workers wield the screwdrivers, you’re convinced deep down that it is the right way to run a business.
For the essence of management is getting ideas out of the heads of the bosses and into the heads of labour. We are beyond your mindset. Business, we know, is now so complex and difficult, the survival of firms so hazardous in an environment increasingly unpredictable, competitive and fraught with danger, that their continued existence depends on the day-to-day mobilisation of every ounce of intelligence.
Konosuke Matsushita, quoted in Pascale, R 1990 ‘Managing on the Edge: How Successful Companies Use Conflict for Competitive Advantage’ New York: Simon and Schuster p.51
In post-war Japan, Matsushita’s company became one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electrical goods, sold under well-known trademarks including Panasonic and Technics.
Command and control management is our summary of conventional management thinking, where managers make decisions and workers do the work, in Matsushita’s terms. Deming described it is the ‘prevailing style of management’.