HomeDissertation:The ASICA Model and the Coming Hospitality-Powered Renaissance

The ASICA Model and the Coming Hospitality-Powered Renaissance

3.Corporate Systems and Hospitality

As yet another small-scale organization, we can point to the “workplace.” At households other than stores, there are in most cases members who are employed at some sort of company. Companies, meanwhile, are normally larger organizations where various assorted workplaces are pooled together. In the past such firms also featured scenes similar to local communities. Company presidents, the equivalent of community elders, treated their employees with ultimate importance. Whether the company was a large corporation or a small to medium-sized enterprise, the clear and common wisdom was to view employees as the company’s most precious asset.

With regard to employee education, despite the fact that specific programs were not as highly systemized as they have become today, newly hired workers would immediately receive thorough indoctrination in the work they were expected to perform from their coworkers, direct supervisors, or other colleagues at the company. The present-day tendency to consign all aspects of worker training to personnel departments or outside consultants was rarely if ever seen back in those days.

What employees learned from their work superiors, meanwhile, was first and foremost how to be of service to customers and definitely not how to curry favor with supervisors, the president, or other ranking personnel. The upshot was training systems that enabled employees to become naturally acclimated to the aforementioned genres of “forward-focused marketing” and “door-to-door marketing” carried out by family-run retail stores.

Employee welfare facilities were furnished commensurate with the scale of the specific enterprise and at degrees that were typically fully adequate to make employees regard the company as their home away from home. In the event that corporate performance worsened to the point of prompting doubts over the ability to pay salaries, presidents would inject their own personal assets into the cash flow to stave off the crisis. At the companies of that era, which stressed the importance of hospitality toward their employees, the types of cuts in pay or personnel implemented as a matter of course these days were unheard of. This practice was instrumental in strengthening employee trust in the company―a sentiment that furnished the leverage for devoting the full measure of hospitality to customers in the performance of their work.

At one point in time in Japan a disingenuous and fruitless debate was waged over the postulated question of “To whom does a company belong?” It goes without saying, however, that a company is the property of its employees. Considering that individual employees are members of the local community or society, it also stands to good reason that “companies belong to society.” This is a form of logic that exists in a realm distant from the view, emerging hand in hand with the narcotic of globalism, that companies belong to shareholders or investors and for that reason dividends are a form of hospitality indispensable for the preservation of the organization.

In that regard, almost all of the companies fitting this definition formerly maintained their own labor unions. The pros and cons of labor unions naturally lend themselves to wide-ranging debate. At the very least, however, from the significance of viewing the company from two distinctively separate perspectives, it can be said that labor unions were more effective than the current “outside auditor system”―a scheme that has increasingly lapsed into the status of empty formality. Rather than as forums for engaging in nonsensical ideological battles, I believe that labor unions best function as the driving force behind a company’s development, while likewise fulfilling the role of “auditing units” indispensable for ensuring proper corporate governance.

Only companies that provide adequate hospitality to their own employees are capable of furnishing such warmth to customers and the market as well. In that sense, it must never be forgotten that a critical mission of labor unions is to serve as in-house hospitality auditors.

There was also a system rooted in hospitality in the BtoB ties between companies. I am referring to the crossholding of each other’s stock. The custom of such cross-held shares was a forceful function for the purpose of preventing rapid and groundless declines in share prices, corporate takeovers, and other unwanted events and thereby maintaining stable capital status. Today, under the alleged pretext of globalism, such cross-shareholdings have come to be dismissed as the epitome of evil. In reality, though, and viewed in a global light as well, this is a system that exhibited a truly exceptional organization preservation function. If we accept that hospitality is an indispensable element in upholding organizations, then cross-shareholding may be categorized as an arrangement equally crucial for maintaining hospitality between different corporate entities.

This logic is by no means limited to cross-shareholding. Lifetime employment, employee welfare benefits, labor unions, and the existence of other systems have all come to be either eradicated or seriously weakened under the banner of globalism. It is rather interesting, therefore, to realize that all of these schemes were corporate systems in force throughout Japan’s period of accelerated economic growth―in short, during the boom era in which both the Japanese people and companies manifested their greatest vitality.

Today, under the grand command of globalism, we are witnessing the steady and ongoing introduction of cutting-edge US-style corporate systems. Despite this, however, there is a strong sense of apprehension that our society as a whole is not growing affluent as a result. This, I believe, can be attributed to the consequences of having jettisoned the concept of hospitality along the way in some not-so-distant past era.

So far, I have attempted to discuss just how important the concept of hospitality really is in the push to preserve organizations ranging from the household (as the smallest unit in the mix) to local communities, companies, and other larger institutions. Moreover, when we consider that clusters of communities essentially comprise municipalities, and that together these groups of local communities come to form the nation state, the level of interests grows even higher.

To preserve the nation, the largest organization of all in this context, it is critical for hospitality to flow steadily from the seat of the national government to local governments, from local governments to communities, and from communities to individual families. Simply stated, a nation that has forgotten how to provide hospitality to its people will find itself unable to continue to prosper. This cold hard fact becomes painstakingly clear when we examine the state of the current government and administrative powers that are in charge of Japan.

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