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revitalization of the workplace and urge more comprehensive changes in
education and, perhaps, even in parenting.
Before we end the chapter, we present a more positive view of the
workplace from a high-level manufacturing executive.
An Industrial Sector Executive Discusses the Impact of
Culture on Worker Satisfaction and Productivity
Jacob Fox is a high-level executive with over 30 years of experience
managing many thousands of industrial workers in the United States and
Canada, Germany, Japan, and Mexico. He is in a unique position to
answer questions about the workforce and whether the work ethic is
stronger in some countries than it is in others.
Fox believes that workers are primarily influenced by the culture they
grow up in. When products are not well made it's less the fault of work-
ers than basic flaws in the design of a product often caused by budgetary
restrictions. In describing workers in each of the five countries, he
believes that American and Canadian workers are highly individualistic
and are most productive when their needs and aspirations coincide with
those of the organization. North American workers want to build quality
products but are often unable to because funding is insufficient in many
industrial sectors to adequately do the job.
Japanese workers have been socialized to practice harmony and coop-
eration and to be dedicated and disciplined workers able to work together
as loyal team members. They have fewer unproductive and openly dissat-
isfied workers than America because the culture they live in values coop-
eration and using one's energies to advance the goals of the company.
German workers believe in precision and unity of purpose and have a
high degree of satisfaction when the products they build are very high in
quality. They also have a long tradition of trade unions which provide a
stable, well paid, and respected work force.
Mexican workers are generally without unions or legal rights, have
no job protection, have low wages, and can be terminated at any time
for any reasons. Because of the difficulties of life in Mexico and the lack
of suitable employment, they work very hard and are highly productive
even though they are poorly paid, have no job protection, and have few
legal rights. When asked if nonexistent legal rights led to strikes and
other indications of worker discontent in Mexico, he said that in his
experience, labor unrest seldom happened in modern day Mexico.
When asked about removing manufacturing jobs from the United
States and Canada and moving production to other countries with lower
costs, Fox believes that most company executives are loyal to North
American workers and want to keep manufacturing employment in the
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