Personality Dimensions®: We’re Big In Japan

A group of non-Japanese-engineers, who had never worked at client-oriented services, joined together and found out how insightful it is to discover one’s uniqueness in Japan! While they are colleagues, they work independently and don’t communicate much in the workplace. They worked on several different teams. Every day they follow a set schedule and deal with machining work individually. Their desire to pave a new career path brought them to Japan to work at a Japanese engineering company.

People are impressed by the Japanese work culture. There is a great deal of attention to detail, schedules are tightly maintained and there are frequent checks to ensure that they are responsible. The high quality of products made in Japan and service here is always being appreciated. Yet, in the background, there are exceptions, as shown in these participant comments.

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“Finally I realize why I easily get mad with the workplace and the leaders! They just don’t follow the manual which originally a good guide to preventing mistakes but they just don’t follow it! Even the leaders don’t do so! Everyone just takes the tools and put them on the table but not back on the corner of the table for the tools! That really puts me under stress.” said an Organized Gold engineer.

“I was so depressed when they kept asking me to find the root cause of the incidents. I explained, but they asked me to keep asking myself Why.” said a Resourceful Orange participant.

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Japanese companies always emphasize the sense of “collective” but not the individual.

They view Teamwork as having a team goal only and do not always look into the strengths and weakness of the individual, especially when placing someone in a position to raise productivity. They view Communication as the report related to the work between each process, but not as providing ways for sharing opinions from the bottom to the top. The deep collectivist working culture makes employees hesitate to express their thoughts and they may feel very guilty when human mistakes occur. This confuses foreign employees to a large extent.

“I found it’s not the REAL me now. I owned a company in my country and I took a lot of effort on the various tasks for my business. I really hate repeating the same work.” said a Resourceful Orange engineer.

“Okay, now I understand why you just told me “Okay,” and seemed unwilling to answer me any more questions when I asked if your leg was okay after the accident.” “Yes, I just wanted to stay alone and not to get any attention as I made a very loud noise when the product dropped.” An Inquiring Green and introverted engineer replied to the extravert.

“I learned how each person is unique from the other, how they behave and what makes me annoyed.” said an Authentic Blue engineer.

Quote from Aristotle, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” We hope that this small step of Personality Dimensions® entering Japanese societies will bring a new insight into human resources management and gain more popularity in Japan.

“I’ve always wanted to do such a personality assessment. I think our company should actually have something like this!” said a Pilipino engineer who has worked for over 5 years in same the company.

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Lok Cheung, Director of Always Alive Workshop, Registered Social Worker, Personality Dimensions® Facilitator (Level I)

Living abroad in Japan. Proficient in Cantonese, English, Mandarin, Korean. Working hard on Spanish and Japanese.