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Management Theory of William Ouchi

Jeanne Dininni

Ouchi's theory of management can add a little more humanity to leadership

The management theory of William Ouchi, often called the Japanese method of management, adds an extra component to the X and Y Theories of Douglas McGregor.

Dubbed "Theory Z" because of this relationship, Ouchi's management model goes farther than McGregor's Y Theory.

While Theory X refers to the old-fashioned, autocratic approach to management which is sometimes referred to as "hard" management and Theory Y represents a more "enlightened" and empowering management style generally thought of as "soft" management, Theory Z incorporates elements that make it an even more participative style than Theory Y. Some features of William Ouchi theory include:

1. Collective decision-making is a core tenet of Ouchi management theory.

2. Long-term employment and job security also mark William Ouchi theory.

3. Job rotation, generalization and overall understanding of company operations, replace job specialization as a key component of the model.

4. Slow advancement/promotion is another feature of William Ouchi's theory.

5. Emphasis on training and continual improvement of product and performance are common to the model.

6. Holistic concern for the worker and his or her family further personalize management in Ouchi's theory.

7. Explicit, formalized measures, despite implicit, informal control, ensure efficiency of operations.

8. Individual responsibility for shared accomplishments rounds out the theory.

Understand the concepts of Ouchi's management theory

Numerous websites provide valuable information about Ouchi management theory and practice. In addition to diagrams and summaries of William Ouchi principles, you'll find various videos and instructional materials that can help you develop the background knowledge and practical expertise to put Ouchi management theories to work for your company.
Pamela A. Braden, Professor at Parkersburg West Virginia University, provides a chart which compares Ouchi's Theory Z with Douglas McGregor's Theories X and Y. YouTube offers a video on the Japanese management method which forms the basis of Ouchi management theory. The video demonstrates the transformation of General Motors after the company adopted the management and manufacturing methods in use by Toyota.

Connect with a consultant who offers insight into Ouchi's theory of management

Consultants with knowledge and experience in the management theory of William Ouchi can guide you in maximizing the benefit of his principles in your own company's unique environment.
The Resource Connection offers consulting and training which mesh nicely with Ouchi's Theory Z concept. Barry Maher provides consulting services to help you better understand leadership, motivation and corporate culture issues, making a more participative management style easier to adopt.

Let William Ouchi's management theory lead you to other helpful online tools

Widely available online tools and resources can help you more easily implement Ouchi management theories. Training programs and other products, information and services let you choose the resources most valuable to your business.
Web-based e-learning programs from The Resource Connection are just one kind of tool the company provides to help your managers more closely connect with and motivate employees. ASTD offers numerous products, through its online store, which can prepare you and your managers for successful Ouchi-inspired leadership.

  • Never underestimate the value of Ouchi management theory to your company. While some components of the theory are culturally based, both you and your employees will gain a great deal from applying the tenets of this theory. If your budget is small, take advantage of free information and tools available online and consider advancing to paid products, training or consulting services when they become more affordable to you.
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Jeanne Dininni