May 10, 2024

Corporate News / Feature Story


Panasonic Basic Business Philosophy Exhibition: Honoring the Legacy of Konosuke Matsushita

Panasonic observes May 5th as its foundation day, and a day to commemorate the announcement of Panasonic’s mission and the enduring legacy of company founder Konosuke Matsushita, the great 20th century industrialist whose influence has spanned the globe. This year special attention is being bestowed on a global internal initiative called the Basic Business Philosophy Exhibition, which curates Panasonic’s business philosophy and enduring insights on how to nurture and grow a large organization for the betterment of society and individual lives.

The exhibition, which has been staged at approximately 70 Panasonic Group sites worldwide so far in fiscal year 2024 (ending March 31, 2024), serves as a heartfelt reminder of Matsushita’s profound impact on the company’s ethos and values. The philosophy functions as the cornerstone of Panasonic’s identity, exemplifying its global workforce with the very essence of the founder’s philosophy, which they can readily apply to daily work situations.

Instilling a common set of corporate values across cultures

Konosuke Matsushita’s philosophy is not just a relic of the past; it’s a guiding light for our future,” says Junichi Mizuno, a manager of the Global Promotion Section of the Panasonic Corporate History Office. “The exhibition was designed to ensure that his vision, which is well established and practiced in Japan, will resonate across borders and generations.”

Photo: Junichi Mizuno

Embodying its global workforce with the company’s business philosophy is integral to the future of a cohesive and sustainable brand. “While it may seem like a broad concept, these form the bedrock of our corporate culture, directly influencing our daily actions and decisions,” Mizuno says.

The Panasonic Group has institutionalized the philosophy across its corporate activities worldwide, emphasizing the Basic Management Objective, Company Creed, Seven Principles, and some thoughts to put those principles into practice. The original philosophy was established by Konosuke Matsushita in the 1930s, and to this day, they remain integral to the Panasonic way of doing business. Now, for the first time in some six decades, the company has significantly updated the Basic Business Philosophy, taking into account changes in social conditions and the modern day business environment.

The updated Basic Business Philosophy shows the Panasonic Group’s determination to accelerate its progress toward realizing an ideal society offering material and spiritual affluence and the commitment to practicing it.

The globalization of Panasonic’s business philosophy

Panasonic’s journey towards globalizing its business philosophy has been a meticulous process, spanning decades. With over 233,000 employees worldwide (as of March 31, 2023), the company recognized the imperative of disseminating its philosophy to a diverse, multinational workforce. Thus, the Basic Business Philosophy Exhibition was established.

Manish Sharma, Chairman of Panasonic Life Solutions India, played an integral role in the globalization of the exhibition. Junichi Mizuno provides the back story.

“I was giving an English-language museum tour of our company’s history to Manish Sharma when he visited Japan, which inspired him to suggest that we arrange a similar demonstration in India,” Mizuno explains. “While providing multilingual guidance at the museum was manageable, fostering understanding of our management philosophy among overseas colleagues presented unique challenges. I was initially unsure how to proceed.”

Photo: Manish Sharma

Under Sharma’s suggestion, Mizuno and the local employees followed up with a reciprocal exchange of ideas, which then led to mutual understanding and agreement on how to create an experience that would inform and inspire employees and stakeholders outside of Japan. “I proposed conducting special management philosophy sessions in India, which was promptly approved, and that was the fundamental spark for the initiative,” says Mizuno.

“It was an honor to visit the exhibit on our founder back in Japan and now,” says Sharma. “I’m elated to bring it back to India to instill his philosophy at home to further strengthen our purpose. Philosophy is what drives value on multiple levels—for both our customers and stakeholders. Philosophy constantly drives meaning and extends it to our daily lives.

Triumphs and challenges: implementing the exhibition overseas

The global rollout of the Basic Business Philosophy Exhibition was not without its hurdles. The COVID-19 pandemic set back and threatened to derail Mizuno’s carefully laid plans. But he persevered and, by remaining true to the Basic Business Philosophy, leveraged adversity to result in something even better.

“Even amid challenges and setbacks, the post-pandemic revival of special exhibitions provided a new opportunity to extend our management philosophy globally,” Mizuno explains. The exhibition’s implementation across five regions by the end of March 2023 required collaboration with local management and HR departments in ways that have set an important precedent, emphasizing the significance of engagement at all organizational levels. “The exhibition has forged stronger ties between Japan and North America, Latin America, China, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East,” he says.

Photo: Junichi Mizuno (left) and Megan Lee

Attendees so far have literally been in the thousands. Mizuno notes a palpable eagerness among non-Japanese employees to grasp the intricacies of the founder’s teachings, citing examples of individuals who have embraced the philosophy wholeheartedly. At the exhibition ribbon cutting ceremony in North America, Megan Lee, CEO of Group company PEX North America, provided specific examples.

In North America, Konosuke Matsushita’s words resonate deeply with employees, serving as a compass in navigating the complexities of modern business. For me, the Basic Business Philosophy has served as guidelines for developing my career and leadership skills. It was also updated to strengthen our commitment to sustainability and DEI and enhance our business and workplace culture,” she says. Many local employees, in addition to Megan, are inspired by the founder’s words, and many of the founder’s books are their favorite reading material.

Outlook for the future: strengthening global engagement

Looking ahead to the coming months and beyond, Panasonic remains steadfast in its commitment to expanding the exhibition’s reach and impact. Plans are underway to extend the exhibition to 100 locations worldwide in fiscal year 2025, accompanied by initiatives to foster camaraderie and practical application of the philosophy.

For the next chapter of the initiative, the plan is to develop and expand a program called “Basic Business Philosophy + Personal Themes,” tailored to the characteristics of each region, with an aim to achieve localization in the local language, along with creating relatable content, linking with local businesses, and fostering deeper understanding through exchanges of opinions with local employees.

Photo: Megan Lee

As Panasonic commemorates its founding anniversary, the Basic Business Philosophy Exhibition stands as a testament to Konosuke Matsushita’s enduring legacy. Through the exhibition’s global journey, employees worldwide are reminded of the timeless values, stated as follows: “Devote ourselves to the progress and development of society and the well-being of people through our business activities, thereby enhancing the quality of life throughout the world.”

“The goal is to build relationships with key individuals in each location, particularly with top management, HR, and communication heads, to gather their needs and challenges regarding the understanding and penetration of our business philosophy,” says Mizuno.

“Embracing the business philosophy is not just a corporate mandate; it’s a moral imperative,” says Megan Lee. “I hope we can use such knowledge to make progress in terms of business, workplace, customer relations, and the world. It is a call to action for individuals and organizations alike to uphold integrity, innovation, and empathy in all endeavors, thereby honoring the spirit of Panasonic’s illustrious founder.”

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