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So say productivity experts -- provided American managers are willing to make radical changes. According to a Hitachi representative -- in the US to tell about his firm's $ 13 billion success story -- one key element is developing far better worker-management relations. Japanese managers share a similar life style with their workers, meet regularly with them, and encourage, listen to, and incorporate workers' suggestions -- which average 40 per worker, per year at Hitachi.

American industries, the Japanese explain gently, concentrate on year-to-year profits and thereby fail to develop the long- term objectives that spell stability and success for all concerned.

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It's no use importing Japanese productivity ideas piecemeal, say those who have studied the situation , because they are likely to be disappointing.m

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