The paper examines the symptoms of a current “Japanization” of management of large firms in Westem Europe from an institutional and cultural point of view. “Japanization” is understood in a threefold sense as “direct Japanization” via foreign investment of Japanese firms as well as “mediated” and “permeated” Japanization in the sense of an intentional or unintentional copying of Japanese methods by Westem European firms. The paper starts from the assumption that internal as well as external transactions of Japanese organizations are characterized by a particular pattern of social relations that combines trustful “generalized exchange” with unequal power, and it is shown briefly how the productive efficiency of Japanese companies rests upon that pattern. Taking Britain and West Germany as examples the paper examines how far the Japanese combination of unequal power with generalized exchange fits ino the institutional framework of Westem European societies. The answer is on balance negative in spite of the formal adoption of certain Japanese management techniques.