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Program Assessment The AFOSR program is unique in that its focus is on J/TIM. Although many universities have Japanese language and culture courses, and perhaps even academic majors in Japanese, these courses are typically part of humanities programs based in the Asian Studies department. By focusing on training engineers, scientists, and managers, the AFOSR J/TIM program can create a new academic specialization that combines traditional Japanese studies with the technical training provided in engineering and business schools. Each of the schools currently being funded by AFOSR has the resources and talent needed to achieve this goal. Although the mechanisms being used vary widely among the awardees, each is making progress in certain areas. The universities and centers receiving awards during the first three years of the program are shown below. (For a summary of the programs of the first four awardees, see the committee's interim report [NRC, 1993]; Appendix D summarizes the programs of the 1992 awardees.) In almost every case, the resources of Asian studies departments in language and culture are being integrated with engineering or management schools. In some cases, courses in various aspects of Japanese management practice are beginning to be included in the curriculum. And relevant research is being performed to build the knowledge base, strengthen the curriculum, and support faculty. This pattern of program elements has become fairly consistent across almost all of the awardees, though the relative emphasis varies somewhat according to each school's history and resource availability. There is more variation across the schools in terms of the issues and audience each is targeting. Some of the universities manage this program through the engineering school (e.g., Stanford); others through the business school (e.g., University of California, Berkeley); and others create independent programs, separate but linked to the engineering and business schools (e.g., MIT). Furthermore, many of the schools have focused their programs on graduate students (e.g., Stanford and Berkeley); others on midcareer professionals (e.g., New Mexico); and still others on a mixture of both of these, in addition to more emphasis on undergraduates (e.g., MIT and Wisconsin/EAGLE [Engineering Alliance for Engineering Education]). These different levels of student are the primary "product" of the programs, and how much emphasis is placed on each type of student tends to dictate the priorities in each aspect of the program. The committee explicitly discussed this issue of program content and program participants. The committee's consensus is portrayed graphically in Table 2-1. 15
16 Learning From Japan 1991 Massachusetts Institute of Technology The University of Michigan Vanderbilt University The University of Wisconsin/EAGLE*/NTU* 1992 University of California, Berkeley University of New Mexico/University of Texas at Austin University of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon University Stanford University 1993 Massachusetts Institute of Technology University City Science Center The University of Michigan University of Washington The University of Wisconsin/EAGLE*/NTU' * EAGLE is the Engineering Alliance for Engineering Education, a consortium of 13 engineering schools. ** NTU is the National Technological University. TABLE 2-1 The Program Output Model* Program Content Participants Young Technologist Technology Manager Middle Manager Japan-ready professional Strategist/ Senior Manager University Faculty Technology Management 3 5 4 4 5 3-5 Culture 2 3 5 4 4 34 Practical Experience (Internships) 5 3 1-2 1-2 0 34 Language 4 3-4 3 3 1 34 * This matrix describes the importance placed on various key elements of training provided to program participants. The Program Content reflects the pattern of that has emerged in the schools funded by the Air Force. The numbers indicate the level of emphasis each of these parts should receive for different types of program participant: 5 signifies the heaviest, 1 the lightest (0 = not applicable). The rankings are row relative only. In effect, the committee is arguing that the emphasis placed on different aspects of each program must reflect the mix of participants and their changing needs at different career
Program Assessment 17 stages. To illustrate, younger participants should receive more language training than older managers, not only because they tend to have greater aptitude to learn the language but also because they should realize greater benefits from their language ability as their careers progress. In contrast, young technologists have little experience in management situations and therefore are not likely to benefit as much from rigorous comparisons of different technology management practices as more senior managers are. dearly, this assessment of the types of participants the programs should be addressing and the emphasis placed on the training each type receives has implications for the committee's assessment of the program as a whole. Although recognizing that variations in the different awardees' programs are due to the strengths of each of the schools and the degree to which Japan- related programs existed before the Air Force awards were made, the committee believes that a more consistent, focused approach to research, target audiences, and marketing efforts is desirable. Expectations for language training and internships need to be realistic. Although the programs have gotten off to a good startâall the awardees have made progress in implementing the plans described in their proposalsâthe committee believes that enough effort and money has gone into the program so far to begin to identify a desirable evolutionary path that will meet the dual goals of creating an academic specialization in J/TIM and improving U.S. technology management practices. To address the relevant issues, the following sections will provide the committee's assessment of the programs' research, curricula in J/TIM, language and culture training, and internships, particularly as these program elements relate to creating a strong academic specialization in J/TIM. RESEARCH No academic field can build without a continually renewed, solid base of knowledge. Research is essential to the long-term strength of the J/TIM programs. It develops the expertise at each of the programs and has the potential to provide industrial participants with timely information, thereby providing a basis for industrial support for the programs. Research results also are essential to develop case studies and other auricular material. Several of the awardees have placed a great deal of emphasis on research, and the range of topics being studied is impressive. Across all of the awardees, research projects can be grouped into three broad categories: 1. Industry-specific technology assessments are favored by programs managed by the engineering school. For instance, Stanford has research projects examining the optoelectronics, semiconductor, flat-panel display, and advanced computing industries in Japan. 2. Studies of management practices are favored by programs managed by the business school. For instance, the University of Michigan is focusing on various aspects of the automobile industry, such as approaches to product development and the role of suppliers, on management of global manufacturing networks, and on technology strategies in the Japanese pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Berkeley expanded its research
18 Learning From Japan program in management of technology with projects in the semiconductor and software industries, plus projects in human resource management in high-technology manufacturing. 3. Policy-related studies, such as market access, technology transfer, and defense policy studies, are favored by schools with new or separate Japan programs. An example is MITTs large research project examining U.S.-Japan technology cooperation in defense industries. Another example is New Mexico's planned study of U.S.-Japan technology transfer policy. All of these research efforts have merit. Taken together, this research should provide a basis for strengthening the curricula of the program, build faculty expertise, and improve U.S. companies' knowledge of specific technological developments. Several of the research projects are connected directly to sponsoring companies in the schools' regions. New Mexico, for example, is emphasizing sponsored research and has already completed a project for Sandia National Laboratory on emerging energy technologies in Japan. Sponsored research ensures that specific needs of client companies and laboratories are known and addressed, which helps to meet a major goal of the program. Despite the merits of the research being performed, the committee believes that research efforts could be improved by more coordination across the awardees and better focus on those aspects of Japanese management practices that appear to be the main sources of their success. Several shortcomings in the program's research efforts are identified and ideas for overcoming them offered. Relabeling One of the shortcomings seen by the committee is that, in several cases, AFOSR funding has been used to add a Japanese context to previously existing research efforts. Research topics had already been defined, the research itself had already been started, and the AFOSR funds were seen as an opportunity to include Japanese site visits and companies in the research process. Relatively few research projects appeared to have been created as a direct result of AFOSR funding; the primary exception is the New Mexico program, which was started from scratch with the AFOSR award. This situation of subsidizing preexisting research projects made it very difficult for the committee to judge just what the Air Force was getting for its money. Duplicative Research A second shortcoming perceived by the committee is too much duplication in research emphasis across awardees, especially in the areas of electronics and semiconductors. Part of this emphasis is due to the concentration of these industries around such awardees as Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, and New Mexico and therefore may be relatively unavoidable if awardees are responsive to their local industrial base. And, of course, these industries are a major part of Japanese success. However, in a program as small as the AFOSR program, the level of emphasis on these few industries creates too much redundancy in the total
Program Assessment 19 program's research effort and neglects other industries. Michigan works in the automotive industry, and New Mexico has done some work in energy technologies, but important industries such as aircraft and aircraft engines, machine tools and other capital equipment, biotechnology, and materials science are not being investigated to an extent commensurate with their importance in either the Japanese or U.S. economies. The committee recognizes that this issue is difficult to address, given the interests of participating faculty, the need to involve local industry, and the differences in technology management practices across different Japanese companies. Some degree of duplication of research may be desirable to begin to capture the many idiosyncracies of how technology is managed in Japan, but strong coordination among researchers is essential to achieve these benefits. For instance, explicit efforts to compare and contrast product development in automobiles, software, and computers, based on the results of several research projects being funded by AFOSR, should be required. As more industries and, therefore, companies are included in the research efforts, such coordination should result in an especially rich understanding of J/TIM practices. Gaps A third shortcoming is the lack of attention to several aspects of J/TIM that the committee perceives as ripe for research. Perhaps the most obvious gap in research is the relative neglect of the experiences of Japanese transplants in the United States. Although some of the programs have researched, or have plans to research, transplants, notably Carnegie-Mellon/University of Pittsburgh, the insight that could be gained from examining their experiences has hardly been tapped. Just in the automotive transplants, there is invaluable knowledge to be gained by examining the experience of implementing Japanese management practices in unionized U.S. plants. For instance, what union rules impede the use of quality circles or team-based work cells? How does the legal environment impede supplier relations? Which efforts have worked and which have not? What have the companies done to adapt? If the focus of this program is really Japanese management of technology, then these Japanese experiences in the United States, mixing industries, companies, and sizes of companies, need to be carefully examined. This research could be further enriched by including studies of Japanese investments in other countries, particularly those in Europe and southeast Asia. Given the importance of culture in applying and modifying J/TIM practices, the degree to which Japanese firms have adapted their practices and modified their expectations in different countries deserves significant research attention. Other areas that deserve greater research emphasis are the success factors identified in Chapter 1: continuous learning, robustness, and market responsiveness. Current research projects in product development, technology transfer, and human resource management begin to address the relevant management practices, particularly as they are applied in different industries. The committee is concerned, however, that too little research is focused on the management of technology, as opposed to management or technology as separate topics. One specific area on which the committee believes more research should focus is
20 Learning From Japan Japanese failures, and the response to those failures. There are many examples of Japanese failures in product development, government-led research projects, and industrial policy. Studies of the assumptions and decisions that led to the failures, and the learning processes that occurred after the failures, would convey important lessons to U.S. managers and policy makers. Summary The aim of the research efforts funded by the AFOSR program should be to strengthen U.S. industry's understanding of J/TIM practices, in all their cultural and corporate contexts. Many of the existing research efforts funded by AFOSR contribute to this goal. In the context of each individual school's areas of expertise, current research efforts make sense. Mostly, they build on existing efforts and faculty strengths and therefore are effective resource expenditures for the short term. In the longer term and across the total AFOSR program, however, the committee believes there is room for improvement. Although a truly comprehensive research agenda is not possible given the scale of this program, there are opportunities to improve coordination, fill gaps, and focus research efforts to support the emergence of an academic specialization in J/TIM. Research efforts should be viewed from a total program perspective, so that all of the funded schools could build on and profit from the variety of industry- and management-related expertise residing in each school. Explicit cooperation in defining research projects and coordination to ensure the broadest possible industry and company coverage are essential. Emphasis on sponsored research is also important to ensure its relevance to U.S. industry. CURRICULUM IN J/TIM A consistent, well-defined curriculum is a central aspect of a strong academic specialization in J/TIM. Given what is already known about J/TIM practices, there is a basis for implementing such a curriculum. Unfortunately, this is the area in which the programs funded by AFOSR appear to be weakest. Instead of providing courses in J/TIM, most of the course material is in language and culture, with the objective of preparing students for internships. J/TIM Courses and Seminars Only a few, new, for-credit J/TIM courses have been created or proposed as a result of the AFOSR grant. The most aggressive program has been at the University of Texas at Austin where five new or wholly revised semester-long courses have been or are being developed with the help of the AFOSR grant. These include "Marketing Advanced Technology," "Intercultural Technology Transfer," and "Managing the Product Cycle." The
Program Assessment 21 University of Michigan has created a new course on Japanese Technology Management that covers important Japanese practices such as concurrent engineering, technology deployment, organizational learning, and approaches to applied research and development, all with contrasts to U.S. practices. The University of Wisconsin offers a course in Science and Technology in Japan and has proposed creating a new course in Management of Technology in Japan, which would also be carried by the National Technological University (NTU). Finally, the University of New Mexico has proposed creation of several new courses in U.S.-Japan comparative technology policy; production and operations management; service operations management; the history of U.S.-Japan relations; and computers in manufacturing, with cases from Japanese companies. Although a start to J/TIM curriculum development, these few courses do not span the breadth of subjects and information that students at all levels should have in order to understand the unique elements of J/TIM and the conditions in which those elements are implemented. This relative lack of attention to new courses in J/TIM is not necessarily an indictment of the programs, particularly when creating such courses was not addressed in their funding proposals. Obviously, most of the schools have engineering and management courses, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, that include important aspects of J/TIM. Most have programs in management of technology (MOT). Berkeley's approach has been to use the AFOSR funding to augment its certificate program in MOT. Berkeley's MOT certificate is available to students as an adjunct to a master's degree in business or engineering. Core courses in the MOT certificate program are "Management of Innovation and Change," "Operational Management of Technology," "Management of Technology Seminar," and "Intelligent Manufacturing Systems: Technology and Management." A large number of MOT-related courses are also available in the business and engineering schools. Though there does not appear to be much Japan-specific content in most of these courses, the emphasis seems to be on teaching world-class MOT practices, regardless of their source. Although little attention so far has gone to creating specific J/TIM courses (with the exceptions noted above), each school has created new seminars, workshops, and conferences using AFOSR funds. Stanford has created a new fall-quarter seminar on Japanese manufacturing and technology research and development that uses speakers from both U.S. and Japanese companies and universities and a new weekly seminar series on Japanese technology research and development and management that uses speakers primarily from Japanese firms and government laboratories. The University of Texas has held seminars on topics such as "Japanese Distribution Systems," "Japanese Information Sources," "Bridging the Culture Gap," and "Japanese Manufacturing." Other schools have created similar workshops and conferences, primarily as part of their initiatives to reach midcareer technologists, managers, and laboratory personnel. Language and Culture Courses In describing their curricula for this program, virtually every school emphasized the extent to which language training has been made available to engineering and management students. In most cases, the programs draw on language courses already available in Asian
22 Learning From Japan studies or language departments. In many cases, AFOSR funds have been used to augment language faculty, particularly to add experts in technical and business Japanese, and to add new courses, usually in advanced technical Japanese. Most schools also offer some form of intensive language training in Japan, typically during the summer for eight to ten weeks; the EAGLE program is a good example, in which upcoming seniors spend a summer in Japan for language training and cultural instruction. A single, consistent approach to language training, and consistent expectations for the language capability of graduates, is difficult to perceive. While every school has extensive language training available, there remains a range of opinions on how much language instruction is realistic to expect from different students. Courses range from intense 25-hour- per-week courses to part-time and weekend courses aimed at basic understanding of words and sentence structure. The consensus seems to be that the first is appropriate and possible for undergraduates, particularly humanities students, and the others are right for graduate engineering students and part-time, midcareer students. Other types of students, such as management students (both undergraduate and graduate), would be expected to go beyond basic conversational Japanese to learn more technical and business language. This ad hoc approach to language training conforms to the committee's view of what it is realistic to expect different students to learn (as reflected in Table 2-1). For a language as difficult as Japanese, the time required to progress beyond a social conversational level is substantial. A minimum of three to five class hours per week, plus at least that much time out of class, is required to make steady progress in technical Japanese. Requirements as heavy as these on top of a rigorous technical curriculum are likely to dissuade students from participating in the program. Therefore, the approach that seems to be emerging, of rigorous language training for a few students; less rigor but more technical emphasis for most students; and basic reading and speaking for others, especially midcareer students, seems to be valid. An approach that is not being rigorously pursued by the awardees so far is to offer courses in Japanese history and culture separate from language courses. New Mexico has created nonlanguage courses on topics such as intercultural communication, cross-cultural organizational systems, and technology and social change. Stanford has an introduction to modern Japan course, and Michigan offers a course on "Japanese Culture and Management of Technology." Other awardees offer seminars and short courses on various aspects of Japanese culture, particularly as it relates to management practices. However, it appears that most of the schools rely on language courses to convey cultural knowledge. More emphasis on courses in culture is needed, not only because of the close relationship of culture and business but also to spark student interest and to prepare the student for subsequent language training. Given this assessment of the various approaches to language and culture training, a few key points deserve emphasis. First, students who want to participate in internships in Japan should be required to meet rigorous language requirements. The intern should have proficiency not only in conversational Japanese, to be able to function in Japanese society, but also in the specific technical area engaged during the internship. Technical reading and writing capability, together with strong speaking ability, is virtually essential to interact well with technical colleagues and to maximize the learning process provided through the
Program Assessment 23 internship. The suggested language requirement implies that candidates for internships should be carefully selected, that eligibility for an internship be determined at (roughly) the end of the first year of participation in the program in order to judge language ability, and that the internship itself become the incentive for technical students to devote the time to language training. Second, the committee believes that everyone who participates in the program, regardless of age or professional experience, should receive some language training, mainly because of the links between Japanese language and culture. It is widely thought that Japanese is a language that is closely connected to its nation's culture (Jordan and Lambert, 1991). Given that culture is a critical aspect of J/TIM (see Chapter 1), culture cannot be well understood without some foundation of language capability. Third, serious approaches to teaching Japanese must have a way of measuring success. The College Board Achievement Test is now available for Japanese language testing and could serve as a standard proficiency test. Alternatively, the AFOSR program could develop a series of proficiency tests, shared by all the awardees and targeted at different levels of participant. Fourth, awardees should be encouraged to experiment with different approaches to teaching Japanese language, with the goal of achieving the greatest fluency with the most flexible approach. Already, intensive summer courses and weekend courses are being used, the NTU is broadcasting language courses for distance learning, and several schools are using new audio-visual and multimedia technologies. Results using various approaches need to be captured and successes shared across the total program. Finally, culture should receive more emphasis in the programs' curricula apart from language courses and J/TIM courses. While a few schools have implemented such courses in English, and most schools offer seminars and workshops that provide participants with insight into Japanese cultural nuances, in general this area is not receiving the attention it should. Culture study is not just an adjunct to language training, but should be woven through all aspects of the programs' curricula and research efforts. Creative teaching approaches could be used in this area, such as the role-playing exercise MIT has developed on CD-ROM (compact digital disk, read-only-memory) which introduces the student to the importance of relationships in Japan (Gercik, 1993). Another approach is the lecture series at Pittsburgh/Carnegie-Mellon that offers discussions on a wide range of culture-related issues; these are offered in the evening to allow local business managers as well as students to attend. PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE Each of the schools funded by the AFOSR puts considerable emphasis on placing students in internships in Japan to gain experience in a specific science, engineering, or business environment. All of the program directors have strongly supported internships as the only mechanism for providing students with in-depth experience of Japanese practices and technology. The directors argue, and most of the committee agrees, that, in addition to accelerating the language learning process, internships provide considerable long-term
24 Learning From Japan benefits, such as the formation of long-term relationships, the globalization of business outlook, greater awareness of best practice, and considerable shortening of the time needed to stay abreast of Japanese technological developments. These benefits respond directly to the objectives of the Congress in creating this program and certainly justify the efforts each school makes to generate strong intern placements. However, the committee also has a few reservations about internships, which center on their implementation more than their intrinsic value. To realize their value, interns must be matched well with their placements. And they must be well prepared, in language skills, social skills, and technical knowledge. Without these conditions, the intern probably will not learn much from the experience, other than greater language proficiency, and will not be positioned to build on the experience in future studies and work endeavors. These conditions, therefore, demonstrate the need for thorough research and planning of intern placements and rigorous selection of intern candidates. The committee recognizes how difficult it is to meet these conditions and still place a significant number of interns. Despite the emphasis placed on internships, a majority of the schools noted difficulties in finding appropriate placements. For the most part, the programs find internships on a "catch as catch can" basis, dependent largely on personal relationships with Japanese managers or, in some cases, with U.S. managers whose firms have Japanese operations. Some programs are better positioned to find internships, such as Stanford with a permanent office in Japan or MIT with ten years of experience, but even these schools noted the increased difficulty of finding placements during the current Japanese recession. One result of this ad hoc approach to internships is that the same companies in Japan may be approached by several schools, thereby diminishing the chances of success for any one school. As a result, several program directors endorsed the idea of stronger coordination among the schools in intern placements, even perhaps Using a central office in Japan for the purpose or assigning this responsibility to an overall program director. A ramification of the current, uncoordinated approach is that it presents a confusing picture to potential Japanese sponsors. From their perspective, it can be difficult to discern the difference between the interns in this AFOSR program and those in other programs, such as the U.S.-Japan Manufacturing Technology Fellowships administered by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for the Department of Commerce. In fact, the University of New Mexico reported that Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry has requested an overview of the entire scope of the AFOSR program's internships and other internship and fellowship programs in order for it to do some long-term planning and budgeting. Budgeting is another difficult issue in internships. In the past, the typical pattern has been for the host company to provide financial support for the intern, at least some minimal living stipend. During the current recession, companies have been less willing to fund the interns, which makes placements more difficult. One result may be a tendency to shorten the length of stay. For instance, MIT has sought year-long internships in the past but may be forced to accept three- or six-month internships in the future. Another result is that more program funding must go toward supporting interns, which also has the effect of shortening the duration (in order to afford more student participation) and which reduces the funds available for other aspects of the program. The Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon program
Proffwn Assessment 25 finances the entire intern visit including the cost of living while in Japan. Although this approach limits the number of intern placements, it does offer the advantage of attracting bright engineers who would not otherwise get involved in Japanese study by offering the paid internship as an incentive to participate in the program. Given these difficulties in generating appropriate internships, and the committee's view of the need to select interns and placements carefully, there are a number of steps that could be taken to improve the process. First, the AFOSR should strongly consider funding a central office in Japan to organize and coordinate internships for the entire program. Although some schools with long-standing relationships in Japan may find this approach undesirable, the majority of programs seem to be having sufficient difficulty in intern placements to welcome such a coordinating office. This central coordinating office would work with the funded universities to build on their existing contacts and to develop further linkages with organizations in Japan. It would be better positioned to determine the nature of potential intern placements and which companies and situations are best suited for different types of internsâbusiness managers or engineers, undergraduates, or graduates. And it would be well positioned to assist individuals in residence in Japan and to provide and compile information needed to assess the quality of the experiences in Japan. A central office in Japan would have the added effect of reinforcing the government backing of the program, thereby potentially raising the stature of these internships to a level similar to the Manufacturing Technology Fellowships. Second, strict eligibility requirements should be imposed on potential interns, at least those funded by AFOSR. They should be required to meet rigorous language proficiency standards, be technically knowledgeable in the field relevant to the internship, and preferably have some practical experience in U.S. industry in order to understand better the differences in a Japanese environment. Such requirements are likely to reduce the number of eligible interns to better match supply and demand in the current recessionary environment in Japan. Third, for students who are not able to meet these requirements, other options should be explored. In particular, internships in Japanese transplants in the United States can provide a high degree of exposure to Japanese management practices and may also establish contacts with Japanese managers that will continue to benefit the intern. Although it is unrealistic to expect such placements to provide the same degree of exposure to Japanese technology and management practices, the diversity of Japanese companies with U.S. operations can certainly provide insight into which practices are most readily transferable to the United States. Finally, a formal debriefing process is needed for all interns regardless of the location or duration of the placement. Options could include periodic trip reports during the internship, a thesis due at the end of the internship describing lessons learned, group workshops for returning interns to compare experiences, and oral evaluations by faculty. The committee also suggests that the intern be required to give back something to their host companies, such as a research project done for them or feedback to the company managers suggesting ways to improve the firm.
26 Learning From Japan SUMMARY The committee has spent over a year visiting and talking to both faculty and students at the first eight programs funded by AFOSR. In reviewing their proposals and their program implementations to date, the committee has found that progress has been substantial. Each of the programs has added more students, created more internships, and expanded language training. Many have conducted useful, relevant research, and, in a few cases, books, software, and data bases have been produced or initiated. There is no doubt that the programs are adding value by exposing more engineers and managers to Japanese language and providing more internship opportunities. Although the committee recognizes the funding constraints faced by the awardees when defining research projects, creating new courses, and coordinating educational efforts across academic departments, the committee believes that much more is possible and needed. Teaching engineers and managers Japanese language skills has value, but they must also be taught J/TIM practices. As yet, little curriculum has been created to do this. Research in J/TIM is essential, but a broader span of industries and issues needs to be investigated, and results fed back into curriculum development. Although cultural aspects of the Japanese business system may be included in language courses, there is little evidence that the current programs funded by AFOSR are paying sufficient attention to the cultural aspects of J/TIM. If a strong national program in J/TIM is to emerge, complete with the creation of a viable academic specialization, the AFOSR program manager and the individual awardees, collectively, will need to address these issues.