The Roots of Toyota’s Global Business Leadership

Senior management is simply a flag bearer when a business decision is made. It is of no use unless others follow the flag.

—Eiji Toyoda, former chairman of Toyota

From its humble beginnings in the Japanese rice-growing district of Aichi prefecture almost 80 years ago, Toyota Motor Company developed into the world’s leading automobile manufacturer. Toyota’s story is remarkable by any measure, but it is particularly remarkable given the volatility that has shaken global manufacturing, and the auto industry in particular, over the last 30 years, plus the daunting challenges of the Great Recession, the recall crisis, and the East Japan earthquake.

Perhaps the most telling statistic is ...

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