Americans and Europeans have contributed substantially to evolution of management thought, theory and concepts. On the other hand, Japan’s contribution is majorly in the area of quality. I also find their concept of workmanship interesting. Japanese say that just as there is a concept of sportsmanship in sports arena denoting attitude and temperament of a sportsman, and that of seamanship for seamen, workmanship refers to the right attitude that every workman needs to have while at work. Sportsmanship is a desirable attribute of every sportsman on the field whether he/she is a player playing in the backyard or is a top international player playing in world cups or Olympics. Similarly, workmanship is not an expectation from a typical white collar or blue-collar worker alone, but even from the highest executives working in any organization.
This is not just an empty slogan. They mean it and training programs on workmanship are held for all levels in many, if not all Japanese organizations. So, when I was head of HR in a Japanese auto company in India, I was also made to undergo this training. Subsequently, of course, I developed proficiency to conduct such training for other employees too, and did many such programs.
Training program on workmanship propagates right values around work, teamwork, perspectives on role and importance of work in the life of a workman (that is anyone who does work for a living, irrespective of level), including issues like consciousness of cost, safety, quality, customer-centricity, methods of reporting and giving instructions (including the famous, Ho-Ren-So- when should one report, contact and consult while doing work in an organization). It also covers approaches on holistic development of human mind, body, heart and skills.
I do feel that it is a beautiful concept and must be institutionalized in any organization anywhere in the world for better work-climate and productivity.