Akio Morita

Japanese businessman

Akio Morita (January 26, 1921October 3, 1999 in Nagoya, Aichi) was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony Corporation.


  • We tell our young managers: 'Don't be afraid to make a mistake. But make sure you don't make the same mistake twice'.
    • Akio Morita, cited in: Nick Lyons (1976) The Sony vision. p. 101.
  • More people are interested in trying to shuffle paper assets around than building lasting assets by producing real goods.
    • Akio Morita (1989) in: Peter Krass ed. (2000) The Book of Management Wisdom: Classic Writings by Legendary Managers. p. 235.
  • Executives of the company must have the necessary qualities to direct the personnel by showing them the way to do things.
    • Akio Morita, cited in: Mark Fisher (1991) The millionaire's book of quotations. p. 80.
  • A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management.
    • Akio Morita, cited in: John Raymond Phillips (1994) The future of labor-management cooperative programs. p. 6.

Made in Japan (1986)

Akio Morita, Edwin M Reingold; Mitsuko Shimomura (1986) Made in Japan : Akio Morita and Sony Autobiography, ISBN 0525244654.
  • There is no secret ingredient or hidden formula responsible for the success of the best Japanese companies.
    • p. 130.
  • The most important mission for a Japanese manager is to develop a healthy relationship with his employees, to create a familylike feeling within the corporation, a feeling that employees and managers share the same fate.
    • p. 130.
  • The effect of three things - the new laws, the revision of the tax system, and the elimination of the zaibatsu conglomerates - was to make Japan an egalitarian society for the first time.
    • p. 135.
  • 'There is a major difference between you and me,' I told him. 'Yes, I am rich. But you are wealthy. And that is why you can buy such (expensive jewelry (for your wife and why I cannot.'
    • p. 136.
  • The concept of lifetime employment arose when Japanese managers and employees both realized that they had much in common and that they had to make some long-range plans.
    • p. 137.
  • What we in industry learned in dealing with people is that people do not work just for money and that if you are trying to motivate, money is not the most effective tool.
    • p. 138.
  • The investor and the employee are in the same position, but sometimes the employee is more important, because he will be there a long time whereas an investor will often get in and out on a whim in order to make a profit.
    • p. 143.
  • We want to keep the company healthy and its employees happy, and we want to keep them on the job and productive.
    • p. 144.
  • ...I established the rule that once we hire an employee, his school records are a matter of the past and are no longer used to evaluate his work or decide on his promotion.
    • p. 145.
  • I believe one of the reasons we went through such a remarkable growth period was that we had this atmosphere of free discussion.
    • p. 146.
  • I have always made it a point to know our employees, to visit every facility of our company, and to try to meet and know every single employee.
    • p. 148.
  • A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management.
  • p. 149.
  • The important thing in my view is not to pin the blame for a mistake on somebody, but rather to find out what caused the mistake.
    • p. 149.
  • In all my years in business I can recall very few people I have wanted to fire for making mistakes.
    • p. 151.
  • ...the remarkable thing about management is that a manager can go on for years making mistakes that nobody is aware of, which means that management can be a kind of a con job.
    • p. 154.
  • Of course we have to make a profit, but we have to make a profit over the long haul, not just the short term, and that means we must keep investing in research and development - it has run consistently about 6 percent of sales at Sony - and in service.
    • p. 156.
  • To gain profit is important, but you must invest to build up assets that you can cash in in the future.
    • p. 157.
  • ...if you are nothing but profit-conscious, you cannot see the opportunities ahead.
  • p. 157.
  • Advertising and promotion alone will not sustain a bad product or a product that is not right for the times.
    • p. 158.
  • Once you have a staff of prepared, intelligent, and energetic people, the next step is to motivate them to be creative.
    • p. 160.
  • We all learn by imitating, as children, as students, as novices in the world of business. And then we grow up and learn to blend our innate abilities with the rules or principles we have learned.
    • p. 161.
  • We made a completely new kind of transistor (the NPN BJT, and in our development work, our researcher, Leo Esaki, demonstrated the electron tunneling effect, which led to the development of the tunnel diode for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize seventeen years later, after he had joined IBM.
    • p. 162.
  • ...the key factor in industry is creativity. I said there are three creativities: creativity in technology, in product planning, and in marketing. To have any one of these without the others is self defeating in business.
    • p. 163.
  • From a management standpoint, it is very important to know how to unleash people's inborn creativity. My concept is that anybody has creative ability, but very few people know how to use it.
    • p. 164.
  • My solution to the problem of unleashing creativity is always to set up a target. The best example of this was the Apollo project in the United States.
    • p. 164.
  • The "patron saint" of Japanese quality control, ironically, is an American named W. Edwards Deming, who was virtually unknown in his own country until his ideas of quality control began to make such a big impact on Japanese companies.
    • p. 165.
  • (Japanese Government believes that if you have a big laboratory with all the latest equipment and good funding it will automatically lead to creativity. It doesn't work that way.
    • p. 166.
  • Management of an industrial company must be giving targets to the engineers constantly; that may be the most important job management has in dealing with its engineers.
    • p. 168.
  • Only with these three kinds of creativity - technology, product planning, and marketing - can the public receive the benefit of a new technology.
  • ...without an organisation that can work together, sometimes over a very long period, it's difficult to see new projects to fruition.
    • p. 170.
  • "While the United States has been busy creating lawyers, we have been busier creating engineers." '
    • p. 173.
  • ...if you have so many lawyers, they have to find business, which sometimes they have to create. Sometimes nonsensical lawsuits are generated by lawyers. In this country (the United States everybody sues everybody.
    • p. 174.
  • I often say to my assistants, "Never trust anybody," but what I mean is that you should never trust someone else to do a job exactly the way you would want it done.
    • p. 175.
  • In the United States businessmen often do not trust their colleagues. If you trust your colleague today, he may be your competitor tomorrow, because people frequently move from one company to another.
    • p. 175.
  • I have had my difficulties with the American legal system, and so I feel qualified to talk about it.
    • p. 175.
  • The American system of management, in my opinion, also relies too much on outsiders to help make business decisions., and this is because of the insecurity that American decision makers feel in their jobs, as compared with most top Japanese corporate executives.
    • p. 178.
  • ...the differences between U.S. and Japanese companies go beyond the cultural.
    • p. 179.
  • Amenities are not of great concern to management in Japan.
    • p. 181.
  • We want everybody to have the best facilities in which to work, but we do not believe in posh and impressive private offices.
    • p. 182.
  • Japanese attitudes toward work seem to be critically different from American attitudes.
    • p. 184.
  • ..I believe it is a big mistake to think that money is the only way to compensate a person for his work. People need money, but they also want to be happy in their work and proud of it.
    • p. 186.
  • I believe people work for satisfaction.
    • p. 186.
  • ...the company must not throw money away on huge bonuses for executives or other frivolities but must share its fate with the workers.
    • p. 187.
  • You can be totally rational with a machine. But if you work with people, sometimes logic often has to take a backseat to understanding.
    • p. 202.
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