The Influence of Japanese Kaizen Philosophy on Modern Project Management Practices in Industrial Settings


  • Chi K. Youngh Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech)
  • Shinya Y. Yoshino Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech)



This research sought to elucidate the extent to which the traditional Japanese Kaizen philosophy has impacted contemporary project management methodologies in industrial contexts. While the principles of Kaizen, emphasizing continuous improvement and waste reduction, have long been recognized in manufacturing realms, the explicit integration of these principles into modern project management practices remains under-investigated. A mixed-methods approach was employed, comprising quantitative surveys of project managers across various Japanese industries and qualitative interviews with a subset of these participants. Additionally, case studies of three major industrial corporations in Japan were conducted to provide in-depth insights. Results indicated a strong permeation of Kaizen principles in modern project management practices. Approximately 87% of respondents claimed the incorporation of Kaizen techniques into their project management routines, with a notable emphasis on iterative feedback loops and regular team reflections. The case studies further unveiled the adaptive methodologies by which companies have merged traditional Kaizen with contemporary project management tools, yielding hybrid strategies tailored to the challenges of modern industrial projects. The Japanese Kaizen philosophy is not merely a historical or manufacturing-restricted concept but has dynamically evolved to influence today's project management practices in Japanese industrial settings. Its principles have been integrated and adapted, leading to innovative project management methodologies that emphasize continuous improvement, adaptability, and efficiency. Companies worldwide, particularly in industrial sectors, are encouraged to study and possibly integrate the Kaizen-inspired project management techniques observed in Japanese industries. Tailoring these techniques to fit the unique challenges of different industrial contexts could foster enhanced project outcomes and organizational efficiencies.

Keywords. Kaizen Philosophy, Project Management, Industrial Settings, Continuous Improvement, Japanese Industries


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How to Cite

Youngh, C. K., & Yoshino, S. Y. (2023). The Influence of Japanese Kaizen Philosophy on Modern Project Management Practices in Industrial Settings. Journal of Entrepreneurship & Project Management, 7(13), 1–13.