The adoption of international best practices in a Western culture: East meets West

Mark A. Shadur, John J. Rodwell, Greg J. Bamber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Contemporary organizations facing changing economic and strategic realities have considered many models of organizational performance, in particular those based on ‘best practices’. The models of best practice have emanated from the USA, some European countries and Japan; however, the question remains - can international best practices be transferred to Australia or elsewhere? Since companies in Japan, in particular, have been seen as harbingers of these best practices, we compare the level of adoption in Japanese and non-Japanese companies in three Australian industries. Differences between Japanese and non-Japanese companies were more apparent in the automotive industry with only a few differences found for the information and tourism industries. The main differences between the two ownership categories were in areas of unionization and management-union relations, that is, areas that may be influenced more by institutional arrangements than by cultural differences. Perhaps the most interesting finding from the comparative research was that there were relatively few differences between the Japanese and non-Japanese companies. These characteristics include: organizational structure, labour turnover, teams as part of the organizational structure, levels of training, use of ringi-style decision making, security of employment, employee welfare schemes, the use of and success with performance appraisal and performance-related pay, and a wide range of quality systems. The key pillars of Japanese management are not being transferred, and we cannot expect to see identical arrangements regarding other management practices. But the differences between Japan and western countries such as Australia are very gradually declining.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-757
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1995


  • Best practice
  • Japanese management
  • automotive industry
  • tourism industry
  • IT industry
  • unionization
  • Organizational structure
  • labour turnover
  • Teamwork
  • training
  • security of employment
  • Performance appraisal
  • quality
  • performance-related pay

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