1.7. Conclusion

The first step to better understanding Toyota is to recognize that contradictions, opposites, and paradoxes are a way of life within the company. Toyota relentlessly pits opposing forces against each other to realize continuous innovation and constant renewal. We identified the six contradictions that characterize the relationship between the hard and soft sides of Toyota and pervade its culture. But what is it that pushes Toyota onward and upward to the never-ending next phase of development? If contradictions, opposites, and paradoxes are simply recognized and embraced without any movement to a higher-order resolution of these tensions, then the organization stalls. The two wheels joined by the shaft (Figure 1.1) must produce movement forward in the right direction. In the case of the Lexus, if the development team at Toyota had recognized the need to achieve both fuel efficiency and high-speed capability but could not resolve this apparent conflict by moving to a higher-order resolution (in the philosophical language of Hegel, this is a dialectical resolution called aufheben),[] the Lexus LS400 would not have been a class leader in both fuel efficiency and performance and would have been subject to the gas-guzzler tax, preventing the Lexus from becoming the number one selling luxury car brand in the United States.

Contradictions, opposites, and paradoxes within Toyota are self-generated and deliberately imposed. Toyota strives to remain "extreme," a state of ...

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