Top-down and bottom-up

I am Yoshida, president of Yamada Shusei Ltd., a professional apparel garment repair group in Nagaoka City, Niigata Prefecture.


Naturally, there are many differences between myself and my predecessors in terms of experience, era, character, and leadership style. In order to maintain continuity in organizational management while making the most of my own personality, how should we balance top-down and bottom-up management?


Top-down and bottom-up approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages.


It is said that a combination of both, rather than being biased toward one or the other, will lead to organizational growth and revitalization through decision-making.


Top-down is a method in which management has the right to speak and make decisions, and directs the work site.


The advantages of this method are that quick management decisions and execution are possible, and the organization is unified. On the other hand, the disadvantages are that it is difficult for the voice of the front line to be heard and employee motivation may decrease.


The bottom-up approach is a method in which discretion is given to the field, and ideas and opinions generated by the field are consolidated by management.


The advantages of this method are that it is easy to notice changes in the workplace and that it fosters employee initiative and creativity. On the other hand, the disadvantages are that it is dependent on the abilities of employees and decision-making is slow.


In our case, we are shifting from a top-down initiative to a combined bottom-up approach.

In that case,

1) Top-down management addresses the need for change and direction.


2) Employees in the field work on projects to solve internal issues from the bottom up.


3) Top-down decisions are made based on what finally comes up from the field.


This is expected to promote communication and cooperation between management and front-line employees, thereby increasing organizational flexibility and creativity.


In practice, an appropriate balance must be found according to the company's industry, size, and organizational culture. When combining the two, it is also important to have a common understanding of principles and goals.


For managers of small and medium-sized companies, finding a balance between top-down and bottom-up management is a major challenge in organizational management.


We believe that taking on and overcoming this challenge is an opportunity to grow into a stronger and more attractive organization.