In Akio Morita’s “Never Mind School Records” he states that “a company is not an amusement part” and explains in detail what is enjoyable about a company. He starts out by questioning the often-used expression “a fun workplace”. It is something of a problem to mix-up the fun we associate with play and the fun we associate with work.
“A company is not a place of fun, and I don’t want people to make this basic mistake. People come to a company to work. Through work they make money and with this I want them to live happily outside of the company. It’s not necessary for the company to be like an amusement park.” (Never Mind School Records)
Akio said that he saw many cases where employers and staff were making this mistake. Providing recreation facilities is important but if carried too far, it is in conflict with the fundamental purpose of the company. A company is a place to make profit and having fun should be kept for days off.
But in Japan employers and staff consistently stick together and think it's good to spend weekdays and weekends together, whether at work or having fun. There are recreation facilities in-house and resort facilities in the mountains or by the sea, and employees regularly use these facilities and have fun with their co-workers. On the company side, there is an aspect of building loyalty to the company by providing recreation and resort facilities, but if taken to excess it will become a burden on the company.
Akio said that Americans looking at Japanese businesses would “feel they are nothing more than adult amusement parks.
This trend can't be seen abroad. In particular, in America, work at a company and play are distinctly separated and the company is where one works hard, while outside work or with the family is where one plays hard. Akio would have said that this was natural and he emphasized that if employees look for amusement from their company, or companies offered excessive amusement to their staff, the company will not take shape as it should.
From:The Sayings of Akio Morita, published by Sony Magazines.