A few observations on working in Japan
Below are a few observations about the working environment in Tokyo. In summary, it seems that I have been transported in time about 10-15 years ago (don’t get me wrong, this does not mean it is bad).
1. Full employment policy – In Japan, layoffs are uncommon and employees usually work for one company in their entire career.
2. Tele-commuting – Most people work in the office and you will rarely see employees work from home so mobile or tele-commuters are very uncommon in Japan.
3. Organizational structure – Hierarchical organizational structure is normal or standard in Japan and a matrix environment does not work at all.
4. Attire – Most men work business suit and ties, actually dark suit and white shirt are most common, even in IT.
5. Diversity – The business environment is pretty homogeneous – Japanese males. Even worse, there are not very many women executives.
Again, I am not saying these conditions are bad, as the Japanese culture certainly has a big factor in the business environment in Japan today. In North America (and Europe) today, we don’t have full employment policy, tele-commuting is common, matrix organizations abound, female executives are well represented, and business casual wear is normal in IT.
Finally, in terms of Global Delivery, I believe Japan is also behind but not too far back – just like other geos, they don’t have a choice, Indian pure plays (like Satyam, Tata and Infosys) are already operating and competing here in Japan.