The almost total absence of outside control, the 'inbreeding' of the directorate as consisting of men who have worked all their careers in the same company and who are under the president, strengthened enormously the commitment of top management to the growth of the company. Since, according to the new com­ mercial code, no stockownership is required to become an officer of the company, profits had to take a back seat after growth and stability, even more so than in America. On the other hand the power of the president is very great - depending of course on the role the chairman wants to play - but on the other hand the operating committee has a strong group identity and, with the general staff acquiring ever greater importance, com­ panies often tend to be moved ahead by an undefined consensus of top management and general staff. Therefore, even when a president is old and does not exercise energetic leadership, a company moves ahead vigorously. In such cases the president can effectively play the role as father-figure as well as general public relations man, signing his authorisations almost blindly knowing that his staff and his operating committee take care of the rest. Therefore, if something goes wrong or a scandal shakes the com­ pany, the president usually resigns, taking the responsibility upon himself, while the company business goes on almost unperturbed.

b Personnel management Few people will deny that the 'Japanese System of Management' has substantially contributed to the phenomenal post-war growth. Actually, managers were anxious, at various stages, to introduce American personnel management techniques in a straight fashion, but in the end they always wound up with an adapted version that incorporated much traditional thinking and acting. Initially rather hesitant, and almost ashamed, of the remnants of pre-war prac­ tices, managers discovered after 1955 how well these worked, and until the late 1960s the Japanese style of personnel management was praised highly as one of the main pillars of the Japanese performance. Western scholars, too, joined in the praise of this system which was sometimes even hailed as model for the West to imitate. Of late, however, serious doubts have spread in Japan on whether this system can continue at this age of fast-changing