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Internationalization of university from the viewpoint of global companies

The attitude of challenging and learning paves the way.

Mr. Tatsuya Yoneda,
the personnel planning group,
the personnel department,
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

How do global companies recognize the ability to flourish on the global stage? How do people expect university to function? We interviewed Mr. Tatsuya Yoneda of the personnel planning group, the personnel department, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., which has its strongholds around the world.

Understanding and sympathy toward diversity

----For Nissan Motor, what kind of personnel (*1) can flourish globally?

We have a lot of offices around the world. This is based on not the philosophy of doing international businesses as a Japanese firm, but the philosophy of doing businesses as a global company. For instance, if we find a competent worker in a foreign country, the worker will be promoted to leader without fail. Unless we remove the "precondition that leaders should be Japanese," our company cannot be said to be a true global company.

Especially, Japanese employees inside Japan should become aware of it. There are an increasing number of offices employing people of foreign nationalities, but such offices are still insufficient. To particular, unless we become able to highly evaluate competent personnel no matter nationalities, our company cannot be said to have been globalized. Nissan established "Diversity(*2) Development Office" in 2004, in order to change the consciousness of employees. The first condition for becoming the one who can flourish on the global stage is the capacity of understanding and accepting this trend.

----What motivated you to pursue diversity?

Nissan originally has the belief that the skills of individuals can be improved if people with different values and cultures make sound discussions. Diversity is part of this trend. I think that we can improve our corporate level, by pursuing diversity.

Supporting the attitude of challenging and learning

----What are the necessary skills for working with people with different values and cultures? I often hear that one of such skills is linguistic ability.

In Nissan, English is used during a meeting if there is any foreign person. Linguistic ability is required on a daily basis, for overseas business trips and videoconferences, etc. English proficiency increases business chances.

However, this is not everything. The most important is the attitude of challenging and learning. Those who have such an attitude can learn in a humble manner and produce good results, even when facing different language or culture.

----What is university required to do, in order to nurture the personnel with a challenging spirit?

Any student who has devoted him/herself to one thing, including study and club activities, during his/her school days can leave a strong impression. An outcome leads to the experience of success, and even if a good outcome is not produced, the experience of completing one thing enhances confidence. I hope that university will develop an environment where students can make a challenge freely.

The most effective method for acquiring an international sense is to study with people of foreign nationalities. Any university that enrolls various personnel from overseas can be highly evaluated.

(*1) Nissan Motor uses the word "jinzai (human assets)" instead of "jinzai (personnel)" based on the idea that employees are assets of the company.
(*2) Idea of accepting each employee's distinctive characteristics, regarding gender, nationality, and age, etc. and taking advantage of them for activating the organization.

Biography of Mr. Tatsuya Yoneda

After experiencing the personnel and labor affairs work in other fields, he entered Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in 2003. At Tochigi Factory, he engaged in the personnel and labor affairs work in the production section. Since 2005, he has been in charge of designing global personnel strategies.