The American Edge

American companies do things differently to Japanese companies says Tsuyoshi Kawanishi former CEO of Toshiba Semiconductor, who has sat on American company boards and US company boards.

‘In Japan most board members have worked for the same company ever since they graduated from college,’ writes Kawanishi in his book Chip Management, ‘they all share the same company culture, experiences and sometimes they have worked for the same boss.’

‘This is a big difference from the board of directors of an American company, most of whom have come from the outside with different backgrounds and different experiences.’

‘I think that this practice stems from the nature of America itself,’ adds Kawanishi, ‘America is a heterogeneous country. The country has problems, but when something goes wrong it is often able to correct the problem and set a new direction. This has made America a great country.’

‘American companies do not have a village mentality and confine their governance to the opinions of a few insiders,’ says Kawanishi, ‘the system has a self-correcting mechanism which helps to prevent power from being concentrated into the hands of a few people who may mislead the company.’

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