Dr Kosaku Yoshida is a professor of Quantitative Methods in the School of Management of California State University. He studied under Dr Deming at New York University and has spoken at many of his seminars. He is one of the very few recognised master teachers of Dr Deming’s teaching.

Dr Yoshida was invited by the Chinese government to give lectures on quality improvement in Beijing and Shanghai. He was also invited by the Mexican government as well as by the Venezuela-Japanese Chamber in Caracas to present seminars on implementing the Deming philosophy. He is an advisor to the Quality Insurance Congress and served as Productivity Commissioner to the City of Los Angeles from 1988 to 1992. He is the mentor to the Deming Management Alliance Improvement Roundtable of Southern California. He is an internationally recognised consultant and frequent guest speaker on quality and productivity.

One of Yoshida’s main recurring themes is competition versus co-operation; where each is appropriate, and how it can be shown that quality and productivity respond favourably when the energy absorbed by internal competition (within work groups, between departments and between parts of a common supply chain) is re-directed towards relationship building and process improvement. This is not to deny that competition in other areas is necessary, e.g. for scare resources, for share of market, for beneficial alliances, etc.

In order to help to understand the differences between the Western and Japanese standpoint he draws on the historical perspectives of the US and Japanese experiences. The USA enjoyed enormous economic success in the 19th and parts of the 20th centuries on the basis of the exploitation of natural resources, rapidly growing population and the intellectual underpinning provided by such as Adam Smith and other disciples of laissez-faire economics. This led to individualism and free competition becoming the most important characteristics of the US and some other Western economies. Unfortunately this has been at the expense of co-operation.

Historically, Japanese society has emphasised co-operation in order for all to survive and prosper in Japans extremely limited geographical environment. Resulting from exposure to Western individualism and free competition, the Japanese have developed a balanced blend of co-operation and competition at all levels.

Yoshida argues that the decline in the US economy is associated with excessive emphasis on free competition which ignores, firstly, the changes which have occurred over time in the American environment and secondly, that Adam Smith acknowledged that the principles of the invisible hand and division of labour needed to operate within co-operative and civilised norms for society to function.