The Adaptation of Western Management Ideologies: The Revised Capitalism of Keizai Doyukai in Postwar Japan

Yuzuru Suzuki

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Abstract: Keizai Doyukai (The Japan Committee for Economic Development) proposed a unique management ideology known as “revised capitalism” immediately after World War II. Doyukai was a totally new business association established by young managers in 1946, and this was in sharp contrast with Keidanren, which evolved from its prewar predecessor. The concept of revised capitalism consisted in the equilibrium of management, labor, and capital on an equal power basis, and had a solid theoretical foundation. Although it was an important milestone in the history of management ideology, it has been misinterpreted to date. In particular, it is commonly believed that Banjo Otsuka, one of Doyukai's inaugurators, imitated the ideas of Western management thought in Burnham's The Managerial Revolution and Berle and Means's The Modern Corporation and Private Property in formulating revised capitalism. This comparative analysis reveals otherwise. I hold that Otsuka enhanced the role of labor and blended the prewar management thought of Japan with the ideologies of Burnham and of Berle and Means. The role of labor was critical because the initial occupation policy of SCAP (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) encouraged the labor movement. It also explains why revised capitalism disappeared so rapidly once SCAP changed its policy and started to suppress labor unions in 1948. In broader terms, this analysis has two theoretical implications: that political context can strongly influence the rise and decline of a management ideology; and that a management ideology can retain certain traditional elements even under radical political changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Japanese Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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