Toyota "Most Respected," "Most Overworked" Company

toyota most respected most overworked company

Toyota has been the matinée idol of mainstream automakers for some time now. Car buyers want to be with it, and car makers want to be it. But how does the Toyota stack up against other well-known (non-car) brands? The Global Pulse survey (pdf) by research firm The Reputation Institute shows that even compared against 1,000 of the worlds top brands, Toyota is the Worlds Most Respected Company. Setting aside the pure hyperbole of the title, and the fact that it comes from a firm that should have been voted "Most Pretentiously Named Company," this is a huge achievement. Indeed no other automaker cracked the list, save for Volvo Bilar and Tata Motors' parent company, Tata Group. And whence cometh these godlike achievements by ToMoCo? Very, very committed employees is one possible answer. Motor Authority reports that a Toyota engineer involved in developing the Camry Hybrid died as a result of overwork. Although overtime work is common in Japan, the late engineer was working 80 hours of overtime per month prior to kicking the bucket from ischemic heart disease. The last time we heard about a Toyota employee being worked to death was back in 2002, when a 30-year-old worker died after carrying 70 hours of overtime per month. Apparently, that's the kind of improvement that it takes to stay at the top.

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  • Rpol35 Rpol35 on Jul 09, 2008

    I have to agree with jwitch; I worked for a Class One railroad for eighteen years and 60 hours per week was pretty standard stuff. And I knew many who did more than that. Not to take anything away from this poor engineer who prematurely took a knee but I have to imagine he had other issues going on as well.

  • Nemphre Nemphre on Jul 09, 2008

    My understanding is that they work long hours but they don't actually do more work. You're perceived to be lazy if you leave on time even if you're more efficient with it. People stay longer but do less work and take a lot of smoking breaks.

  • Brettc Brettc on Jul 10, 2008

    I worked in IT at a bank for a couple of years. Toward the end, I was working 60 hour weeks and was getting sick of it because it was taking a toll on my marriage and my boss didn't really care because he didn't like his family. The sad thing is that I got out of that job and now work at a non-profit where unnecessary OT is a big no-no. But yet I still make more money than the bank paid me. I've read about karoshi, and I can see how it can kill these poor workers. Work should not be the only thing in life. I knew there was a another reason I didn't like Toyota, besides their toaster cars.

  • Macarose Macarose on Jul 10, 2008

    Hmmm.... I used to do about 7 to 8 auto/motorcycle auctions a week. I worked about 16 to 20 hours at the sales but it really depended on the load of vehicles. Often times the travel time is longer than the work time, and that was especially the case when I was traveling to four different states. Compared to my past life as a financial analyst though, it was like a dream vacation and I've never looked back. The only time in the last ten years that I've ever been beholden to someone is when I foolishly got another company to pay for my MBA. In exchange, I left home Monday afternoon and wouldn't come home until Thursday evening. Of course it wasn't real work. I inspected and appraised cars (an hour), dealt with a few issues (an hour), sold them (usually a half hour) and then more or less got treated to lunch and dinner or some type of event. I honestly can't say strippers in New Orleans and Memphis constituted a workload but, well, we all have to carry our weight in the corporate world. Anyone who is working 'overtime' and NOT getting paid for it is either working for their own company, got a screw loose, or has some financial obligation that's keeping them on the treadmill. #1 and #2 are fine... but #3 is where the heart attacks reign supreme. I see enough 'reminders' in my industry to know that the workaholic life will never be the one for me. Besides, why bother working if you can't be a glorified bum.