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Some years ago I worked for a language-teaching service that offered in-house classes for companies. One client was a major electronics manufacturer, and many of the students were trained engineers assigned to the sales division.

This human resources tactic always struck me as counter-productive, since those men (always men) possessed practical technical know-how that seemed to be wasted on eigyō (sales), but the longer I worked with them the more I grasped the logic, even if I never bought it. Rotating employees throughout the company by means of regular interdepartmental transfers engendered loyalty because they came to understand the workings of the organization, and not just the part they were ostensibly hired to serve.

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