- Term Papers and Free Essays

Team Toyota

Essay by   •  December 7, 2010  •  1,635 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,370 Views

Essay Preview: Team Toyota

Report this essay
Page 1 of 7

Team Toyota

Strategic Human Capital Management

Gabriel Coitiсo


1) Overview of the book

The book that I read was Team Toyota, Transporting the Toyota Culture to the Camry Plan in Kentucky, wrote by Terry L Besser, in 1996. She did interviews with employees in all the levels of the company, but with a very small population, fact that she points every time during the book as a limitation of the study. They main idea of the book is to discuss the introduction of the Japanese model of management and its implications in the Americans employees. Besser gives us a panorama of the American model of management, as well as the traditional bureaucratic western model. The author right in the introduction of the book points some of the key differences in the Japanese model:

* Both structures are pyramidal, but the shapes are different, the Japanese is tall, thin, and finely grained, the reason for this is to allocate the seniority promotions.

* In bureaucratic pyramids, the decisions are made in the top, and are communicate to the lower levels. In contrast, in Japanese organizations, decisions are made by group of people close to the issue under consideration, and then sent to upper managers to authorize changes.

* The welfare corporatism, the community of fate ideology, and self contained company-sponsored unions.

The question that guides the book is: Will American workers respond to the Japanese style of organizing by working hard to help the organization achieve its goals? The book start explaining how the structure of the Japanese model: work team, company teams, and corporate team. She also spent a chapter talking about two main issues for the company: employees on restriction - workers that are injured or ill and can't perform their normal job but do not require rehabilitation at the hospital or home, and how the employees do almost all the tasks on automatic, and benefits and challenges of that. Besser will also give a special chapter about how is the environment for the women at Toyota. At the end Besser will summarize the perceptions, and show some facts on whether or not the transplantation of the culture was a success.

2) Topic Analysis and Correlation

The main idea of this chapter is to relate the topic with the discussion we had throughout the semester. To better organize the ideas, I will separate the discussion with the same titles used for classes, and relate those topics with the book.

Compensations and Benefits: All team members mentioned the relatively high salary offered by Toyota as a prime motivation. That helped the company to hire "the top of the cream". The bonus system was based on whether or not the goals were achieved, and not only if a profit was made. All member of the team in the same category received the same performance award regardless of their individual performance. The system structure follows the company policy of equal payment. The company used also non-monetary awards, as letters of "thank you" from the president, recognition on Toyota publications, etc. As parts of its benefits the company built a gym, cafeterias and a nursery for the children of the employees. To improve the feeling of equality, there were not specials places for management in the parking or the cafeterias.

Unions: There is one particular difference about Toyota and the relationship with unions. As we saw in the overview in the Japanese management system the unions are self contained company-sponsored unions. However, the company has taken great pains to avoid working with American type union. As a result the plant in Kentucky was not unionized. Toyota usually shows in the internal television programs and newspapers all the problems created by the unions in the other automobile companies. And all the interviewees were the unionization. For me, the most important key to avoid the unions was the way that Toyota structures its HR department. The author calls it the Powerful Human Resources Department. Every employee had an assigned HR representative that was familiar with his or her work area and is accessible whenever questions or concerns occur. The presence of the HR rep was required before any disciplinary action or any promotion. This created an atmosphere of equality. Slider, one of the interviewees, linked the HR rep's role to that of the union steward in unionized organizations in the sense that the HR rep is an advocate of the hourly workers. As it would happen with any normal union, the specialist and managers complained of the power of HR in that it dictated the inflexibility in their work schedules and contributed to coddling the team members. Toyota perception of threat of unionization has given team members more power within the organization than they might otherwise have.

Discipline and Termination: When I reading the book, there was a specific case that relate to the fire/don't fire situation of Scott Wells in the Pro-Soft case. In the p. 102, Ruddlehouse, one of the interviewees, describe a situation where a team member in her area had a problem with drinking. He repeatedly violated the rules regarding attendance and performance. Toyota had all the reasons to fire him. Instead, his supervisor and the HR representative worked with him to join the AA and see a counselor. This kind of situation was normal in the Toyota environment, and as a result of that the feeling among the employees was that the company really cares about its people, and this helped improve the personal commitment with the company. Some terminations were necessary, but only if the employee "screw up royalty", using the words of one interviewee.

Learning Teams: When talking about the Toyota manufacture system is impossible not to talk about team work. For sure it is the central theme of the Toyota culture and the most relevant topic of the book. I will



Download as:   txt (9.7 Kb)   pdf (139.9 Kb)   docx (12.5 Kb)  
Continue for 6 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 12). Team Toyota. Retrieved 12, 2010, from

"Team Toyota" 12 2010. 2010. 12 2010 <>.

"Team Toyota.", 12 2010. Web. 12 2010. <>.

"Team Toyota." 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010.