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Japanese corporate culture hurting Honda and Toyota
The failure of Jenson Button’s Honda has led to widespread speculation that there is a damaging schism between the research and development operation in Tochigi, Japan and the headquarters in Brackley, Northamptonshire.

Anyone who has spent time working with Japanese companies will provide testimony that for all the talent and dedication, there is considerable bureaucracy and a serious degree of decision-making inertia because of the cultural obsession with shame and failure.

Gary Anderson, the technical consultant to Autosport magazine and former Jordan technical director, said that he had significant problems getting decisions made when his cars were using Honda engines in 2001.

“I had to fly to Japan five times in five weeks and bang my hand on the table to get them to believe what I was telling them about the deficiencies in the engine,” he said. “They were cut off out there and could not get to grips with the fact that things were going wrong.”

This is something that is well understood by Mike Gascoyne, the chief technical officer at Spyker, who left Toyota last year because of “a fundamental difference of opinion with regard to technical issues”.

“The Japanese corporate culture is undoubtedly part of the problem,” he said. “Toyota and Honda were two of the teams with the highest expectations coming into this season and they are two of the teams that are doing the worst.

“They have each tried to do it the Japanese way, with lots of bureaucracy and control from Japan. And it is not working.” Timesonline.co.uk

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