Kazuo Inamori, a living legend in business management, is widely respected as one of Japan’s three giant entrepreneurs along with Konoske Matsushita and Soichiro Honda. I was also motivated by his book ‘A Compass to Fulfillment’ when reading the book. Inamori’s book has become a bestseller in Korea.
After establishing ‘Amoeba Management (changing organizational structures and others flexibly and instantly to cope with changes in environment), Inamori jumped into the telecom market to pursue the cause of breaking monopoly while he was developing Kyosera into a global enterprise. He founded KDDI to counter telecom giant NTT and restructured the monopolized market into a competitive one. Even after the retirement, he applied amoeba management to Japan Airlines, which was under court receivership, and transformed the company to post the largest ever profit only in a matter of a year.
Inamori pushed to follow a theory completely opposite of Milton Friedman’s theory, which considers ‘the maximization of shareholders’ interest as the goal of business management,’ by putting altruism and great cause first. His argument that if a company works hard to secure employees’ happiness and contribution to society, it will naturally bring about shareholders’ interest, a view that came as positive surprise to readers.
His theory suggests that a company takes responsibility for employees’ livelihood and happiness by generating profit, fulfills social responsibility by paying various taxes, and contributes to the progress of humanity by providing best quality goods and services to customers, which makes us think about social responsibilities of companies.