Amoeba Management: Lessons From Japan’s Kyocera Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

A persistent challenge for firms as they grow is the way to maintain the high level of dynamism and worker dedication that drove success in the early days. Over the years, management theorists and sensible supervisors have formulated several approaches for coping with the complexity, all directed at giving more responsibility and accountability for the performance of their very own profit centers to workers and supervisors. However the authors argue that few firms have taken things as far as Kyocera Corp. Headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, Kyocera creates a variety of industrial ceramics, semiconductor components, electronics devices and information and telecommunications gear. During its more than five decades in business, a vital driver of Kyocera's growth and success, the authors say, has been its distinguishing entrepreneurial culture, known internally as "amoeba direction."

Kyocera founder Kazuo Inamori built-up the amoeba management structure to assist everyday workers with no operations or finance background see how they really can contribute to the success of the business. Find methods of working with other amoebas to achieve profitable growth and they are expected to operate independently. Amoebas share their plans with senior supervisors at plantwide assemblies. Hourly efficiency is the primary measure of amoeba functionality. The ratio enables management to make profitability comparisons across amoebas and time. The writers note that the system of Kyocera is better suited for business environments characterized by intense competition and technological change that is quick, because decentralized structures are required by businesses in such environment.

PUBLICATION DATE: October 01, 2012 PRODUCT #: SMR430-HCB-ENG

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