This week an investigation into truck and bus manufacturer lies Hino Motors revealed why the brand looked at emissions data on gas engines over the past 20 years. Their excuse: the corporate culture.
Hino Motors, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp, was found in March to have falsified data on the carbon emissions and fuel efficiency of four engines – a deception dating back to at least 2003.
Unfortunately, show scandals are nothing new.
The company joins the ranks of the big dirty liars Volkswagen and Stellandiswho tried to downplay the impact of their vehicles on the environment.
Both companies used software to manipulate exhaust settings and cheat emissions tests.
VW initially blamed some software developers goes rogue about the scandal, but later admits to having insider knowledge.
But the Hino survey results in how and why you blame an introverted and conservative corporate culture.
“It prevents every worker from carrying out his work with a sense of participation and solidarity.” This led to a lack of psychological security, with engineers feeling unable to challenge their superiors.
What is psychological safety?
According Amy Edmonsonprofessor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School, psychological safety is:
The belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes, and that the group is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.
According to ReutersHino research committee chairman Kazuo Sakakibara told reporters that past successes blinded the company to “changes in the external environment and values or ability to see itself directly.
“The organization has become a poorly organized one where people can’t say what they can’t do.”
A team with a high level of safety gives people the confidence to admit mistakes, contribute to discussions, raise concerns, question decisions (including those of their superiors) and ask for help.
How much is Japanese work culture to blame?
When you think of Japanese work culture, you probably imagine an old, deeply hierarchical company with overly polite people working long hours.
They are committed to the company until they retire. Fortunately, that is changing, thanks to the integration of hybrid workplaces due to COVID and the fact that almost half of university students in Japan are women.
But the auto industry isn’t exactly known for diversity in its corporate divisions. Cases of sexual harassment continue.
“You will be there most of your life. They don’t care about your life outside of work. Just make Hino Motors the MILLIONS they make every year. You’ll probably get divorced and your kids will probably forget who you are.”
How will Hino improve its corporate culture?
According to the report, Hino has committed to a number of intercompany changes, including:
- A revised “Core Philosophy System” that will guide all corporate activities in sharing values.
- Renamed “Hino Code of Conduct” to “Hino Way”.
- Greater opportunities for dialogue at every level and workplace.
- Regular communication from management. This includes efforts to create an environment where employees can speak up safely and are encouraged to do so.
- Establish a chief compliance engineer/team.
Sure, it’s a pretty ambitious wish list that says it all.
However, “Hino Way” sounds like another form of groupthink – what got them into this mess. But people watch until the next broadcast scandal breaks.