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Japanese Companies

I was talking to a friend who works for Sony in the Middle East, he was telling me that only the Managing Director has a private office, everyone else works in the open, so called "Open office system".

How about the japanese companies in the US? Do they have the same kind of system?

Anyone with similar experiences?

Prakash S
Friday, August 08, 2003

I used to work for NEC America, and they had standard cubes. The cubes were small in comparison to most US companies, but whenever visitors came from NEC Japan they would marvel over our spacious working conditions.

After I took a trip to Japan, I understood why. The staff engineers all had ~3'x5' desks abutted side-to-side in a row. They sat facing another row abutted back-to-back with theirs. There was a ~3' aisle for chairs (each person's and the person behind them). At the each of the row, the managers 3'x5' desk was oriented perpendicular to the row to watch over his staff. Very senior managers had cubicles off to the side. The only people with small private offices were senior vice presidents.

The president, however, had a nice spacious office.

Nick
Friday, August 08, 2003

hey prakash. i worked for a japanese web development firm for a year. (i'm a white american guy)

the office environment was a long, narrow office. the desks were lined up side by side the long way, like in a long, narrow column. so...there were 20 guys, i'd be facing one guy on the other side, and there were guys on either side of me...about 3 feet away. i was a consultant, so i had my own laptop. the other guys had desktops. so yeah, that sounds normal. also in my office you could actually smoke at your desk. none of the developers did, but the boss guy did occaisionally. he was seated at a desk arranged perpendicular to the line of desks. that might sound horrible, but the japanese dudes were actually extremely quiet. meetings were held in another room.

i have no idea if this was typical, but space is at a serious premium in japan, and every other office in the building i was in was arranged the same way, so i'm guessing it is not uncommon. japan is a real trippy place to work, it was kind of horrible, but i'm glad i did it.

.
Friday, August 08, 2003

It's the standard layout in Japanese offices. Saves space and supposedly, enhances communication.

Also a very good way to tell when people are leaving for home :-)

Frederic Faure
Friday, August 08, 2003

Shouldn't care when people are leaving for home. Should care that they do their work.

Philo

Philo
Friday, August 08, 2003

philo, this isn't america, it is japan!

.
Friday, August 08, 2003

I can say firsthand that there are american companies that are *very* interested in when their employees go home; you have to be there for 9 hrs/day (and work at least 8 of those) and you can't be 'creative' with your work hours. Either 8:30-5:30, or 10-7.

</rant>

jedidjab79
Monday, August 11, 2003

Hey, maybe this is the reason Japan has never risen to it's true potential in software ...

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, August 11, 2003

"Hey, maybe this is the reason Japan has never risen to it's true potential in software ..."

Who says they haven't?  imode cell phones still seems to be the only popular way to access the web through a cell phone.  You could argue that the best video games are Japanese (they certainly at least rival the U.S. in this regard).  I believe Japan is still the world leader in robotics, which is probably the toughest software domain there is.  I imagine all of the embedded software written by the Sony's, Matsushita's, and Toyota's of the world is more widely deployed than PC software.

So they may not be the dominant mover in PC software, but that's just one part of the market.

ps If you're looking for the reason Japan isn't a leader in business software, not being native English speakers and a funky character set probably has more to do with it.

Jim Rankin
Monday, August 11, 2003

"philo, this isn't america, it is japan!"

Excellent point.  One thing that cannot be overstated in Japan is the need for consensus.  It takes a long time to make a decision in a Japanese organization because of the need to get everyone on board first.  However, once a decision has been made, implementation can take place very rapidly because everyone has already assented to the plan.

In the U.S., executives hand down decisions from on high, and then try to get everyone going in that direction after the fact.

Jim Rankin
Monday, August 11, 2003

I should have added the smiley.

Maybe they all got into robotics because it at least provided them with a developer friendly person/sq. ft. ratio :-).

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, August 11, 2003

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