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The Toyota Way a quantitative approach

Phillip Marksberry
Center for Manufacturing, College of Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to quantify Toyotas managerial values known as the Toyota Way to understand the cultural aspects of the Toyota production system (TPS). Design/methodology/approach The research methodology in this paper utilizes latent semantic analysis and singular value decomposition to analyze corporate memory documents to determine from organizational view how TPS is prescribed ideally to achieve Toyotas culture. Findings This work shows that the Toyota Way heavily centers on the principle of Genchi Genbutsu which is the practice of seeing problems rst hand. Findings also show that Toyotas widely popularized Kaizen philosophy is de-emphasized compared to team work and respect for people. Toyotas culture is somewhat balanced between individualism and collectivism which disagrees with most national Asian cultures. Finally, results show that Toyota reinforces both long- and short-term orientations which disagree with most national views of Japans national culture. Research limitations/implications Future work using latent semantic analysis should include a broader spectrum of literature on which to perform the analysis. This analysis is limited to developing theories about Toyotas culture but does not actually describe the culture that exist in the workplace. Practical implications This work provides a broad guideline with which to structure a lean culture. It provides the reader with knowledge of what parts of a corporate culture to deem the most signicant. Improving upon each of these company values with the weighted signicance elicited in this document could provide a positive impact within an organization. Originality/value The methodology used in this paper is a brand new, edgling technique that could provide signicant improvements in studying lean cultures. The concepts of this technique will be useful to researchers in this eld and the results will be of value to management who wish to create a more efcient organization. Keywords Semantics, Lean production, Organizational culture Paper type Research paper


International Journal of Lean Six Sigma Vol. 2 No. 2, 2011 pp. 132-150 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2040-4166 DOI 10.1108/20401461111135028

1. Introduction Throughout the history of successful, multinational companies, there have been many attempts to study what makes those companies great. The heart of what makes a company great is their corporate culture. Research has shown that the main building blocks of culture are: the sum of the values, customs, traditions, and meanings that make a company unique. Most importantly, how an organization invests in its network of executives to achieve the corporate culture mainly denes how management manages (Weiss and Delbecq, 1987; Schein, 1985; Ajiferuke and Boddewyn, 1970). The Toyota Way, the underpinning of Toyotas culture, has been one of the most studied corporate societies in the world. Toyotas culture can be described as a mutual understanding between people and the work they perform. Workers will not be motivated to eliminate waste if they are not part of the system and the decision making that accompanies it (Liker and Hoseus, 2008). Toyota believes that the work environment should make full use of their workers capabilities. Toyotas work environment is

strongly inuence by the concept of Monozukuri (process of making or creating things) and Hitozukuri (the process of educating people) (Sugimori et al., 1977). Specically, managers have the obligation to teach, train, nurture, guide and mentor people, while making things (Cho, 2005). The Toyota Way represents the collection of these core business principles and managerial values that have over the years become a source of competitive strength (Cho, 2001). While the Toyota Way has been recently formalized and made aware by outsiders, Toyotas customs, traditions, and business practices have remained the same for over 60 years. Many different research methods ranging from deductive and inductive have been attempted over the years to study culture (Sackmann, 1991). One side of the spectrum consists of studying from an outsiders viewpoint namely behavioral observations (Lander and Liker, 2007) while the other extreme attempts a more empirical approach by conducting employee surveys using self-administered questionnaires. Argyris argues that insiders cannot articulate important aspects of an organizations culture because there are unconscious beliefs and attitudes taken for granted and are invisible to those inside the culture. Meaning that employee surveys cannot explicitly say or dene culture values (Badurdeen et al., 2008). Outside observations using behavior studies also show difculty in examining organizational cultures. Actions that are observed do not mean that they are desired or expected by anyone, nor that they accomplish the intended functions, nor can they be institutionalized into a social system (Biddle, 1979). There is theoretical work that attempts to dene what corporate culture is by studying communication structures and artifacts such as organizational documents (Craig and Douglas, 2006). The work of Ochi (1981) shows that Japanese leadership styles tend to emphasize intra-organizational communication which makes the study of organizational documents relevant. A proposed technique that may offer an alternative to traditional inductive and deductive techniques is the use of latent semantic analysis (LSA). LSA is a theory and method for extracting and representing the contextual-usage and meaning of words and phrases by statistical computation applied to text. LSA is based on singular value decomposition (SVD) which is a mathematical matrix decomposition technique using factor analysis (Golub et al., 1965). LSA has proven to be a successful method for analyzing management systems as it relates to knowledge representation (Landauer, 2004; Wolfe et al., 1998). LSA is a newly developed approach used in management science that can mathematically interpret an organizations dominant views on how it chooses to operate and the factors that inuence it. By analyzing Toyotas culture from a data mining perspective, various analytical relationships can be derived mathematically to better understand the types of managerial values most important in Toyotas culture. Finally, a quantitatively analysis can provide a theoretical foundation for understanding the variables and factors that contribute to successful lean practices. 2. Literature review Organizational culture has been a popular behavioral science topic in recent years, but very little empirical research has been conducted to give real insight into its nature (Sackmann, 1991). There have been a plethora of different approaches but none seem to quite elicit the values from which a culture arises. From ethnographies to questionnaires (Cameron, 1992; Gordon, 1985), structured interviews (Weiss and

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Delbecq, 1987) to participant observation (Gregory, 1983; Sapienza, 1985), the sheer number of different methods and multitude of studies utilizing those methods can be overwhelming. Methods range from inductive, meaning from an insiders perspective, to deductive, or from an outsiders perspective. Table I shows a short list of the more widely used methods on a continuum between the inductive and deductive methods used to study culture. Culture is an extremely ambiguous phenomenon. There are as many meanings of culture as people using the term (Ajiferuke and Boddewyn, 1970). In their classic review of culture in the Peabody papers (Krober and Kluckholn, 1952) listed over 160 different denitions of culture, and were sufciently dissatised with all of them to add one more of their own (Craig and Douglas, 2006). The most widely accepted denition is most likely given by Tylor (1881) who described culture as that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. However, existing denitions of culture do not facilitate its study (Sackmann, 1991). Many of these denitions are not equivalent in what they include. They have a wide variety from a denition of single components of said culture to a more all-encompassing approach including beliefs, mores, customs, rites, rituals, value systems, behavioral norms, and ways of doing business (Trice and Beyer, 1985; Tunstall, 1983). There are many obstacles to effectively studying culture. Many make the mistake of assuming studying culture can be accomplished by simply observing the tangibles (artifacts, buildings, logos, etc.) or noting the verbal and non-verbal interactions. These manifestations are signs of the cultural reality, but not of the structuring devices for this reality (Sackmann, 1991). The underlying beliefs that create this reality are what need to be studied. However, these are hard to elicit as they are tacit and not observable. The various methods heretofore utilized in studying culture have been inadequate for many reasons. Questionnaires are useful in that they are effective in covering large samples at a low cost. However, respondents tend to conrm their answers to what they believe the researcher is really asking instead of using their own language to describe their cultural setting (Sackmann, 1991). Also, the researcher asking the questions must have prior knowledge of culture in organizations and the structure of the questions will tend to skew to the researchers biases. Structured and in-depth interviews suffer this same pitfall and end up lacking objectivity. Document analysis (Clark, 1972) is another utilized method that proves inadequacy. The inherent problem in document analysis is that the researcher tends to get closer to the culture in question in order to better understand the results of the analysis. This often affects the neutrality of the researcher and thus compromising the objectivity. In this work, research is centered on a deductive point of view but utilize an ofcial Toyota document for analysis. This combination, along with the fact that LSA is, at its most basic level, word and phrase counting, ensures that objectivity is held intact. Using LSA, along with a framework with which to categorize the obtained phrases and words, is a very strong tool to analyze a corporate culture. Many frameworks of culture have been proposed by sociologists and anthropologists. Particularly inuential has been the schema of national culture developed by Hofstede (2001). Hofstede conducted an extensive study that evaluated the work-related goals and value patterns of managers in a large multi-national company (Craig and Douglas, 2006). Hofstede identied four dimensions, namely: power distance,

Insider perspective Inductive Concepts emerge Research as a participant High N/A Individual interviews Weiss and Alderfer and Delbecq (1987) Smith (1982) Schein (1985) Martin et al. (1983) Group discussion Case methods N/A Low Low Cross-sectional case study/panel approach Low to high N/A N/A N/A High Participant/direct observation/informants (natural setting) Gregory (1983) Sapienza (1985)

Participation by employee Degree of observation N/A by the researcher Traditional techniques Self-administered questionnaires/surveys Cameron (1992) Gordon (1985) Kilmann and Saxton (1983)

Outsider perspective Deductive Concepts are introduced Researcher as a onlooker Low

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Table I. Continuum of established approaches used to study organizational culture



individualism versus collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, and masculinity versus femininity to measure the human environment in which affects the management process. Hofstede added a fth dimension, long-term versus short-term, when Chinese scholars examined the cultural explanation for the economic success of East Asian countries in the past century (Chinese Culture Connection, 1987). While there is work that suggest that business cultures cannot be compared to national cultures (Kondo, 1991) debate continues on the best way to measure and evaluate the complexities of culture and management practices. Importantly, Hofstedes work has been shown to evaluate organizational cultures that are unitary, differentiated or fragmented (Martin, 1992). Toyotas organizational culture is often seen by researchers as a strong (unitary) culture (Liker, 2004; Liker and Hoseus, 2008); however, Toyotas competitive strength has been their ability to adapt and continuously improve. This contradiction demonstrates that Toyotas strong unitary culture which is also adaptable, may be a unique form of differentiated or fragmented culture. To investigate further and perhaps resolve this apparent contradiction, an initial study using Hofstedes framework is proposed. Three of Hofstedes dimensions are used in this study, namely power distance, individualism versus collectivism and long-term versus short-term. While Hofstede has identied ve national cultural dimensions, fewer dimensions can be studied without any affect since each dimension is largely independent of one other (Hofstede, 1994). 3. Research methodology This work will use a research method called LSA in order to quantify the importance of Toyotas managerial values by analyzing corporate memory documents. LSA is a theory and method for extracting and representing the contextual usage and meaning of words and phrases by statistical computation applied to text (Landauer and Dumais, 1997). LSA is based upon SVD which is a mathematical matrix dimensional-decomposition technique. This algorithm collapses large matrices into a much smaller set of dimensions allowing it to be more readily utilized to compare and contrast the implied importance of certain variables the matrix represents. LSA has proven to be a successful method for capturing the underlying relationships between documents by accurately simulating human learning as it relates to the theory of knowledge representation (Wolfe et al., 1998). The psychological theory that supports LSA is based on the fact that people learn by associating perceptual objects and experiences, including words that are met near each other in time (Landauer, 1998). Interestingly, this similarity based or object recognition phenomena of LSA has been shown to predict learning by correctly mapping new relations by statistical association (Landauer, 1998). This learning phenomenon occurs by LSA grouping and organizing mental frames of knowledge much like how the human brain organizes existing domain knowledge. Once domain knowledge exists, knowledge transfer can occur by linking new concepts to foundational knowledge. LSA provides the framework for representing the organization of foundational knowledge in text. When LSA is used to study organizational documents it provides an internal representation of how the organization is intended to originally operate. Thus, the ideal or intended role prescription of organizational members can be identied and the factors acting upon them. LSA is favored over traditional document analysis techniques and is impacted less by traditional term and word count models (Garcia, 2006). In traditional term count

models, repeating terms many times becomes articially relevant. In turn, long documents are favored because more words bring about higher scores and relevance. Term count models also do not consider relative global frequency of terms across document collections. In LSA repetition does not imply relevance because LSA looks at both the local weights and global weights and normalizes them. A proven alternative to traditional approaches in studying culture is the use of statistical data mining. Table II shows how LSA could be applied in various deductive and inductive environments, by analyzing various forms of documentation, ranging from public to company specic information. The study of organizational documents has often been used to understand how vital functions of an organization are achieved, planned, and expected (Wickham and Parker, 2007). Organizational documents describe the social network of task activities associated with the division of labor and the theoretical starting point of role expectations held by the organization (Katz and Kahn, 1978). These role expectations are often referred to as the role prescription and provide guides and standards on how the role should exist within the organization. Organizational documents such as role prescriptions are important because they provide a means to manage the expectations of the company and its employees. Role prescriptions describe obligations (the behaviors expected of the person in the role) and rights (those behaviors that others are expected to direct toward him or her). Thus, role prescriptions provide the norms, rules and contextual cues of how to act within the organization. Role prescriptions are one of the most potent factors in the control of human behavior. In fact much of the social behavior is affected by role prescriptions (Katz and Kahn, 1978; Biddle, 1979). LSA may be an acceptable substitute for traditional research methods; however, there are noted concerns in this new area of study. First, it is assumed that employees within the organization are aware of these organizational documents, work instructions, job procedures, policies and can follow the intended approach if asked. It is also assumed that these expectations produce a conforming behavior. Also, it is assumed that these expectations have been communicated by leadership and by management through out the organization. It is also unknown how leadership and management sanction these expectations, which is the positive or negative reinforcement for engaging in the desired behavior. There are also problems analyzing written expectations from organizational documents. Organizational documents could be biased by those who originally assembled the records for their own purposes. Additionally, each person shares a unique semantic space in their creation of the expectation that may vary in interpretation. In this work, several measures and precautions were used to increase the overall validity of LSA to avoid these common problems in data mining. First, phrase passages were employed compared to the use of individual terms to avoid syonymy and polysemy. The types of documents analyzed were assembled from a wide variety of inductive and deductive sources to rate the overall image of maintenance development. The document sources were collected at the department and corporate level which insured a company-wide policy or image of tasks compared to an individual perspective. To safeguard against individual biases, this work used corporate memory documents. Corporate memory documents are procedures, forms, policies or any other written documents used by a department, section or division that has gone through a cross-functional approval process. While this does not guarantee that employees within the organization have learned or can learn from using such documents, inscriptions that

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LSA study areas Public

Documentation examples Annual reports

Table II. Continuum of potential LSA practices used to organizational culture Types of communication/documentation forms Stake holders Inductive Concepts emerge Research as a participant Management related communications Internal memos Meeting notes Company intranet Leadership/corporate information Corporate memory documents Procedures Business operating documentation Suppliers, vendors General employee information Company news letters Supplier/vendor agreements Contracts Employee handbook

Outsider perspective Deductive Insider perspective Concepts are introduced Researcher as a onlooker

Public announcements

Press releases

Advertisement/marketing communications

have gone through an approval process do represent a more continuing existence and permanent intention of how an organization achieves certain outcomes. A document-term(s) matrix was created from several corporate, regional, and plant level organizational documents namely the original Toyota Way document, training materials from the North American Production Support Center, the team member handbook, and several other Toyota Way documents for human resources, sales, engineering, and design. Table III summarizes the text corpus properties of the documents under study. A representation of a document-term(s) matrix is shown in Figure 1. A document-term(s) matrix is created by tabulating the number of term(s) that occur throughout a document. Term(s) count can be identied using a variety of different software programs and synsets or lexical database standards. Tables IV-VII summarize the types of terms used in this analysis. A natural characteristic of the document-term(s) matrix is their highly sparse nature that is they contain a high proportion of zeros. This is normal, because very few terms in the collection as a whole are contained in any one document. Other distinguishing characteristics of the matrix are the document vector and the word vector. The document vector is a weighted average of the vectors of words it contains. A word vector is a weighted average of vectors of the documents in which it appears. Next, the SVD algorithm is used to reduce the document-term(s) matrix using equation (1):
Document property No. of document vectors No. of word vectors Total document pages Total number of words Avg. revision date on documents Value 8 122 422 10,121 2005

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Table III. Text corpus properties

Term(s) 1 10 Term(s) 2 Term(s) 3 Term(s) 4 Term(s) 5 Term(s) 6 Term(s) 7 Term(s) 8 0 0 6 0 0 0 0

oc um oc ent u 1 D me oc n t2 u D me oc nt u 3 D men oc um t 4 D oc ent u 5 D me oc nt u 6 D me oc nt um 7 en t8 D

0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 8 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 18 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 Word vector (passage vector)

Document vector

Figure 1. Representation of document-term(s) matrix




where U is an m r orthogonal matrix whose columns make up the left singular values vectors, S is an r r dimensional diagonal matrix whose diagonal elements are termed singular values named k, and V is an r n orthogonal matrix whose columns for the right singular vectors of A. VT is the transpose of V. Figure 2 shows a schematic representation of A, U, S and VT. Calculating USVT consists of nding the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of AAT and T A A. The eigenvectors of ATA from the columns of V, the eigenvectors of AAT form the columns of U. Also, the singular values in S are square roots of eigenvalues from AAT or ATA. The singular values are the diagonal entries of the S matrix and are arranged in descending order. The singular values are always real numbers. If the matrix A is a real matrix, then U and V are also real.
Quadrants 1 (, ) and 2 (2, ) Side of Toyota Way Hard Soft Values included Kaizen Genchi Genbutsu Challenge Teamwork Respect Description Continuous improvement Go and see for yourself Meet challenges with creativity Maximize team performance Respect others, build trust

Table IV. Semantic theme dimensions for the ve pillars of the Toyota Way

3 (2, 2 ) and 4 ( , 2 )

Quadrants Aspect of power distance Table V. Semantic theme dimensions for power distance 1 2 3 4 (, ) (2, ) (2, 2 ) (, 2 ) Honesty Respect Motivation Personal and professional growth

Description Honesty between workers Mutual respect between superiors and subordinates Importance of superiors motivating workers Importance of both personal and professional growth

Quadrants Table VI. Semantic theme dimensions for individualism versus collectivism 1 (, ) and 4 ( , 2 ) 2 (2, ) and 3 (2, 2 )

Type of corporate culture Individualist Collectivist

Description Focused on the individuals progress and contribution Focused on teamwork and group contributions

Quadrants Table VII. Semantic theme dimensions for long-term versus short-term

Type of business focus Description Focused on the long-term outcomes of decisions made in the present Focused on the immediate ramications of decision making

1 ( , ) and 4 (, 2 ) Long-term 2 (2 , ) and 3 (2, 2 ) Short-term

The factorization of A removes the noise and exposes the effect of the largest k singular values. The highest k singular values are selected as the means for developing latent semantics. They also indicate the dimensions affected most when a vector is multiplied by a matrix. One of the goals in LSA is to select the right k value that optimally reduces the noise in the semantic space. A technique that is used in selecting an optimal k value is a scree plot. Figure 3 shows the scree plot used in this work, which indicates an optimal rank value of 3. The nal step in LSA is to map the semantic space using dimensions based on the major themes. Dimensions can be organized in various ways depending on the similarity of the topics in question. In this work, the dimensions were established based on the various cultural values of the Toyota Way. Table IV shows the major semantic themes of the ve pillars. These maps can be generated based on various semantic spaces as long as terms appear at least once in the document collection. Three more tables are describing the other semantic spaces used in this work. The last step in LSA is to map the semantic space using the reduced dimensional space VT and the singular value ranks. 4. Interpretation of results in latent semantic analysis in a reduced dimensional space In this analysis, VT is used to plot the dominance (i.e. magnitude) of each semantic theme. Each data point represents a term used in the document of study and the proximity and location of each data point with respect to other terms. Term frequency affects magnitude up to a point depending on the frequency of term(s) within a document but
n documents m r r Zeros Dense m terms Sparse matrix (mostly zeros) = Dense Zeros r r n

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Singular values (k)

Singular value squared 1,000 800 600 400 200 0 1

Five pillars Collectivism Individualism Long-term Short-term

Figure 2. SVD representation of the document-term(s) matrix

Power distance

Figure 3. Scree plot of the squared singular values corresponding to Toyotas cultural values



also the co-occurrence of words linked through other documents. Ultimately, words that are used over and over through all document collections bear more weight than words used allot in only one local document. Therefore, the length of the vectors in LSA (largely inuenced by the singular value k) represents the magnitude of what is centrally said about a given theme or topic. Longer vectors (up to a unit length of one) emphasize topics more than shorter vectors. LSA is sensitive to the reemphasizing of term(s) which bears similarities to learning and cognitive development. Since LSA normalizes all vectors when making comparisons, plots can be evaluated locally and globally. 5. Results Results are shown in Figures 4-7 detailing the four cultural dimensions of the Toyota Way, namely the ve pillars, power distance, individualism versus collectivism, and long-term versus short-term. 6. Discussion In Figure 4, the ve pillars of Toyotas culture are analyzed. This shows how each pillar relates to one another and which pillars Toyota nds most important. The two pillars that stand out as the most meaningful to Toyota are respect and Genchi Genbutsu. Without respect, the support and satisfaction of the parties that Toyota interacts with is not possible. Toyota interacts with stockholders, employees, business partners, and host societies who all derive benets from mutual respect that Toyota provides. This is emphasized throughout the company. They pride themselves on how much respect their employees have for others, the company and the companys beliefs. Employees are encouraged to respect others and the company by working together and taking responsibility for themselves. As a result of this, the company can benet by ensuring that no ones time is wasted.
1 Genchi Genbustu 0.8 0.6 Reduced dimension space Y 0.4 Challenge 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 Kaizen 0 0.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1


Figure 4. SVD plot: the Toyota Way the ve pillars



1 Reduced dimension space X

1 II. Respect 0.8 0.6 Reduced dimension space Y 0.4 0.2 0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 IV. Personal and professional growth 1 Reduced dimension space X 0.8 I. Honesty

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III. Motivation

Figure 5. SVD plot: power distance

Success created by 1 teamwork 0.8 0.6 People are important assets 0.4 Long-term trust and respect 1 0.2

Decision making

Reduced dimension space Y

0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0.2 Respect others contributions 0.4 0.6 0.8





Importance of individual role Individual contribution

1 Reduced dimension space X

Figure 6. SVD plot: individualism versus collectivism

Also, Toyota emphasizes respect by focusing on mutual trust and mutual responsibility. An example of this is Toyotas role as a good corporate citizen. Toyota must work within their country of residence to ensure that they are being as respectful as possible. This respect is mutually benecial to both Toyota and the country because as Toyota grows the local economy also grows. If this shared respect

Reduced dimension space Y

1 Genchi Genbustu 0.8 0.6

Company values


0.4 Customer satisfaction 0.2 Attitude/confidence 0 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 Focus on 0.2 Jidoka long-term results 0.4 Change management 0.6

Figure 7. SVD plot: long-term versus short-term

0.8 1 Reduced dimension space X

Fact-based decision making

were to dissipate, it would be very challenging for either one to take advantage of the relationship. Mutual trust and responsibility also translates down to the worker level. To provide support and satisfaction to all of the parties that Toyota interacts with, everyone must work together with respect. This is achieved when an individual takes responsibility for their actions, which in turn respects the company resources, other coworkers and customers time. A big responsibility of the individual is to incorporate the notion of Genchi Genbutsu or go and see for yourself. Genchi Genbutsu is the second most important pillar in Toyotas ve pillar culture. Toyota believes that the best way to solve a problem is if the problem is right in front of you. The Genchi Genbutsu method differs from the typical method of problem analysis. Typically, an employee on the assembly line oor will report an issue and a different employee in a remote location will analyze the data and try to nd a solution. Toyota believes that this method is erroneous because the employee performing the remote analysis method might not have all of the information needed to solve the problem in front of him. If this is the case, a solution could be delayed or incorrect. The key purpose of Genchi Genbutsu is that extensive study and gathering of all relevant facts is necessary to obtain a full understanding of situations and problems. Once the study is complete, the widest range of options is considered in designing countermeasures. Then, Toyota seeks full consensus between members of their own groups and other Toyota organizations to nd a solution. Once a solution is agreed upon, remedies are implemented quickly and efciently to meet deadlines. In Figure 5, power distance between superior (more powerful members) and subordinate (less powerful members) is analyzed. Power distance was analyzed because Hofstede (2001) considers power distance to be one of the primary dimensions of culture. This dimension was studied using LSA to further understand how Toyota

expects superiors to treat subordinates and vice versa. The two concepts that stand out the most are growth and respect. The most important way that Toyota can benet from the power distance relationship is if the superior supplies the subordinate with an environment that harbors both professional and personal growth. This is evident from the semantic map by observing the data point that represents growing as very close to 1. In providing a nurturing environment, leaders energize others, willingly give realistic challenges and development opportunities, and promote the achievements of subordinates. These data are in agreement with Hofestedes ndings that Japanese cultures tend to not have a high degree of separation or inequality among employees within the organization (Hofstede, 1994). This scenario allows the subordinate to feel empowered as though they may be on the same level as their superior. In reality, Toyota leaders monitor individual and team performance, holding people accountable for their actions and taking responsibility for their activities. The responsibilities listed show the actual power distance is much greater. Respect is another important factor in the power distance dimension of culture. It also shows up in Figure 4 (the ve pillars) as the most important of the ve pillars of Toyota culture. It is no surprise that power distance, the direct relationship between powerful members and less powerful members, would also emphasis respect. The amount of respect that superiors and subordinates show for one another directly affects the power distance. If no respect is given, the distance will be great. However, if mutual respect is given towards one another, people will be able to relate to one another more as equals regardless of formal positions. In this situation, the power distance would be fairly small. In Figure 6, another one of Hofstedes cultural dimensions, individualism versus collectivism is analyzed. In Hofstedes dimensions, a culture is deemed as either collectivist or individualist (Hofstede, 2001). The Toyota culture is different in that it does not rest on an extreme of being either a collectivist or an individualist culture. As an alternative, elements of both types of culture were identied and analyzed. Terms that were important to the collectivist culture centered around success created by teamwork and long-term trust and respect. Terms that were important to the individualist culture centered around decision making and the importance of the individual role. According to the semantic map, success by teamwork is the most important of the collectivist nature of the Toyota culture, this is evident by the strong emphasis that Toyota places on teamwork. Toyota brings team members together to share values in a team in an effort to exceed the results of the total achievements of the individual. As seen in Figure 6, the phrases success by teamwork and people are important assets have a lot in common with one another. This is further explained when viewing Hofstedes denition of an individuals role in a collectivist culture. Hofstede (2001) believes people are dened and act mostly as a member of a long-term group, such as the family, a religious group, an age cohort, a town or a profession, among others. Toyota recognizes that people are important assets of the professional group and must be treated as such, this facilitating teamwork, which in turn generates success. The semantic space for collectivism also recognizes the relationship between long-term trust and respect. The relation is realized by observing that the two data points are dimensionally close to one another. Toyota feels that these two ideas are

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similar and important in their collectivist culture. To have a large professional team work together, each individual member must feel as though they matter to the company. An effective way to instill a feeling of self-importance is if team members have long-term trust and respect with one another. The semantic space highlights that the best way to do this is to respect others contributions. This increases self-importance within the individual and displays long-term trust and respect at the same time. In Figure 6, the data shows that decision making and the importance of the individual role are the two most important aspects of Toyotas individualist culture. Toyotas culture stresses the importance of empowering the individual. As evident from Figure 6, the best way to empower an individual is to give them the ability to make decisions. Toyota does this in a big way. One of the ve pillars, Genchi Genbutsu, which gives the individual the responsibility to investigate problems rst hand and make decisions. This attitude also allows for many different viewpoints depending on who is actually doing the investigation. Toyota works so well as a collectivist culture because they embrace the fact that they are the sum of all of the individual employees. The individual role facilitates many different contributions from people of all races, faiths and beliefs. A lot of respect is given to other cultures laws, traditions, ceremonies, symbols, and observances. Hofstede makes this point in describing an individualist culture, where people are expected to develop and display their individual personalities and choose their own afliations (Hofstede, 2001). If an individual is allowed to work in their natural environment, they will be feel more respected and be more willing to be responsible for their work. In Figure 7, another one of Hofstedes cultural dimensions, short-term versus long-term, is analyzed. Hofstede believes that in short-term oriented societies, people value actions and attitudes that are affected by the past or present. He also states, that in long-term oriented societies, people value actions and attitudes that affect the future. Similar to individualism versus collectivism, the SVD plots show that Toyota has characteristics of both types of cultures. This data disagrees with Hicks and Kondos view that an organizational culture like Toyota may not be aligned towards its national culture (Hicks and Redding, 1983; Kondo, 1991). In viewing the short-term half of Figure 7, Genchi Genbutsu and Jidoka, dened as automation with human touch, are the most important points that Toyota focuses on in the short-term. Both of these points can be related to Hofstedes example of a short-term society. The core concepts behind Genchi Genbutsu and Jidoka are centered on an action that require immediate response. Genchi Genbutsu emphasizes investigating a problem rst hand, nding the facts, and making a correct decision based on those facts. The goal of following these processes is to maintain immediate stability on the manufacturing oor. If this stability is not met, there is a risk for problems to arise. Toyota also recognizes that this stability might not always be kept, as in the case of Jidoka. Jidoka interrupts the stability of the process by stopping the process when a problem occurs. Even though the workow is stopped, the intent is to immediately x the problem and resume operations as soon as possible. If the problem is not xed as soon as it arises, more problems could be caused by not taking immediate action, however, this is seen as a necessary evil. Figure 7 also highlights the most important aspects of the long-term goals of Toyota: fact-based decision making and company values. Fact-based decision making

is the core of one of the most important pillars, Genchi Genbutsu. If you consistently rely on facts to make decisions, reliability and quality will go up. When considering long-term goals, Hofstede explains that people value actions and attitudes that affect the future (Hofstede, 2001). Decisions would not be made on popular opinion or emotion therefore the correct outcome can be realized. The most inuential way that Toyota is long-term is by focusing on their company values. Toyota has spent a fair amount of time and effort becoming the most efcient, lean company they feel that they can be. By dening the values that make up their company, the company can continue to thrive as it has so well in the past. The SVD plot in Figure 4 shows the ve most important values that Toyota incorporates into their company. It is no mistake that an entire SVD plot was dedicated to company values. 7. Conclusion Many different methods of studying culture have been explored in the past; however, the methods chosen have many drawbacks that have been outlined above. This paper employed a new method of linguistics analysis, LSA, in addition to SVD to study Toyotas culture. The results of this new mathematical approach were straightforward and compelling. Overall, Toyota believes that respect is the most critical item needed to make a successful worldwide business. Every team member, from the factory worker to upper management, must show respect in every aspect of his or her job. This respect, along with the other values of Toyota discussed in this paper, have lead Toyota to be a forerunner in lean manufacturing for decades. In the future, more work and effort is needed to empirically and theoretically justify the complexities of Toyotas unique culture and management practices. Research is needed to evaluate Toyotas culture from several theoretical perspectives, namely from a Japanese and American view to understand the differences in Toyotas leadership and organizational practices. A more comprehensive review can reveal insights into Toyotas culture and the managerial values that support and develop Toyota production system (TPS). There are also many opportunities to utilize data mining techniques to develop theoretical models to describe and examine effective organizational cultures. Such models could be used to help identify, to a larger extent, how TPS can function more effectively.
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Levine, E., Ash, R., Hall, H. and Sistrunk, F. (1983), Evaluation of job analysis methods by experienced job analysts, The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 339-48. Phillips, M.E. (1990), Industry as cultural grouping, unpublished doctoral dissertation, Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. Robison, J. (2007), Can the Toyota Way be transplanted?, Gallup Management Journal, available at: aspx (accessed 13 September 2007). Saruta, M. (2006), Toyota production systems: the Toyota Way and labour-management relations, Asian Business & Management, Vol. 5 No. 4, p. 487. Stewart, T.A. and Raman, A.P. (2007), Lessons from Toyotas long drive, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 85 Nos 7/8, pp. 74-83. Vinton, K. (1983), Humor in the work-place: its more than telling jokes, paper presented at the Western Academy of Management, Santa Barbara, CA. About the author Phillip Marksberry is a Faculty Member of the College of Engineering, with an appointment in the Institute for Research for Technology Development. He received his BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky in 1997 and became board certied as a Professional Engineer in 2001. In 2000, he received his Masters in Business Management at Brescia University and his PhD in 2004 in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky while working full time in the automotive industry. Dr Phillip Marksberry currently supports the prestigious UK and Toyota partnered Lean Manufacturing Program at the University of Kentucky. Phillip Marksberry can be contacted at:

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