1961: A Labor Dispute Leads Inamori to the Company's True Purpose
Creating the Management Rationale
Three years after Kyocera was established, 11 young employees, who had joined the company the previous year, came to Inamori with a petition demanding that the company provide guarantees for annual pay raises and bonuses.
The company was originally created to test the viability of Inamori's technology in the marketplace. From the start, the founding members had all worked strenuously to achieve this dream, so it was second nature for them to work as hard as they could. On the other hand, these new young workers who had recently joined the company had to work overtime regularly and their discontent and concern for their futures grew. This manifested in the form of demanding guarantees for their future security.
They were not happy with Inamori's explanation when he replied, "I cannot guarantee your future security as Kyocera is a start-up company with only a few years' experience, but I promise that I will work hard for all of you." The discussions at the office did not go anywhere, so further discussions continued at Inamori's home. After three days and nights of face-to-face talks, this confrontation came to an end at last because the passion of Inamori's words finally reached their hearts: "If you cannot believe in me, can't you have the courage to take a chance on me? If I betray you, you can stab me to death."
After this incident, Inamori seriously pondered, "What is the true purpose of a company?" He realized that it must be to provide for the livelihood and well being of the employees and their families, now and in the future. Furthermore, for the company to continue growing far into the future, we also have a responsibility, as a member of society, to contribute to the advancement of humankind.
From this experience, Kyocera decided its management rationale should be:
To provide opportunities for the material and intellectual growth of all our employees, and through our joint efforts, contribute to the advancement of society and humankind.
Having established this rationale, Kyocera was transformed from a company that tested its technologies in the marketplace to one that seeks to provide for the well being of all its employees, while also establishing a strong foundation for business management.