OPEN DOOR POLICY: Its Meaning, Effects & Significance

Open door policy
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Every manager’s door is open to every employee under an open door policy. Good communication is one of the most critical factors for productivity, and an open-door policy facilitates this. When an office implements open-door policies, it improves transparency and promotes communication between management and employees. However, the effect of an open door policy in the workplace may vary. Consider the examples of open-door policy and imperialism.

What Is an Open-Door Policy?

The “open door policy” dates back to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It was a proposal put forth by the United States to establish a system of equal trade and investment. This action prevents one country from controlling trade in another. Furthermore, this establishment is to provide access to foreign businesses seeking to establish themselves in China. Typically, this means that all countries with “spheres of influence” must allow China to engage in equal trade with other countries.

It was a set of principles that the United States established between 1899 and 1900. It urged the protection of equal rights for all countries trading with China. Also, this was to increase support for Chinese territorial and administrative integrity. The statement was delivered in the form of two circulars (diplomatic notes) to different countries. According to United StatesJohn Hay, they include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and Russia. Until the mid-twentieth century. The Open Door policy was a cornerstone of American foreign policy in East Asia.

Open-Door Policy Workplace

An open-door policy in the workplace allows employees to meet with supervisors and top management about any job-related issue. This is a practice in which management and employees can freely communicate. It promotes transparency and liberty between employees and management. As the name suggests, “open doors,” means doors are open to any employee who is having difficulty understanding a problem. Consider working in an office where managers and employees can effectively communicate ideas and suggestions.

Examples of workplaces that implemented open door policy:

Many companies across every sector are using the open-door policy in their workplace. This has generated a lot of positive feedback from the employees, which includes IBM, HP, and Keka. In these companies, employees are allowed to access the machinery.

  •  Discuss concerns
  • Asking questions
  • Giving suggestion
  • Seek guidance
  • Report and complaint

How to set up an open-door policy in a workplace

Setting up an effective open-door policy in your workplace doesn’t take much effort.

Meet with the employees before implementing an open-door policy. Explain the open door policy and solicit feedback from them. Speak with employees who will participate in the strategy and gain their trust and support for the process. Consider asking them what they want from this policy, such as a set time for an appointment. These discussions can help you understand your team’s policy needs and desires.

One way to increase employee trust in open-door policies is to establish a chain of command that specifies who they can speak with. Putting together a group of people who will be available for access is a great start.

When it is set up, ensure employees stay within their boundaries and create time to listen to their concerns. Try to listen attentively and tell them the solutions to the problem.

“Open Door Policy Significance”

The open door policy plays a significant role in supporting China’s territorial and administrative integrity. It also contributes to the establishment of an international protocol of equal privileges for all countries trading with China.

Effect of Open Door Policy

Though the open door policy has been successful in carrying out efficiency in the office, it can cause more harm than good if not set correctly. The effect of an open-door policy can be negative or positive.

The positive effect of the open door policy

#1. Make accessibility available.

Employees can discuss issues with management through the “open door” policy. Being in an office where you can freely communicate promotes productivity. In the sense that when a situation arises that affects the well-being of employees, it allows subordinates to voice their opinions and suggests ideas that will promote efficiency. When employees are not happy with the system, the office environment can suffer.

Many organizations encourage subordinates to freely interact with their superiors. And because of this, most businesses maintain a first-name basis for interactions at all levels of their organization.

You can break down barriers between managers and subordinates by implementing an effective open-door policy. This results in improved communication, actionable feedback, and results. Being able to approach senior management when faced with a problem at work is critical to the company’s success. It is a positive effect of the open door policy.

#2. Encourage constructive debate.

Companies that have open-door policies benefit from a friendly environment that encourages healthy discussions between management and employees. Managers who use the policy, rather than a rigid and formal environment, create an informal environment. This can give the individuals the freedom to speak freely without fear of official reprimand.

#3. It motivates the employees.

It also encourages team members in the office to fully commit to the common good and share goals. Employee morale is boosted by factors other than pay and benefits. An environment that allows employees to express themselves freely can be empowering, liberating, and motivating.

The negative effect of an open-door policy

#1. Wasting Management’s Time

Managers may find it difficult to concentrate and stick to their work schedules due to constant interruptions from employees. This may result in inefficient production at the end of the day. Because of the open-door policy, the company’s owner may have to spend a significant portion of his day listening to employees vent their concerns. This is the time that the owner is not spending on his or her important responsibilities and duties. Furthermore, the conversation may veer away from business-related topics and toward non-work-related topics such as hobbies, sports, and current events, which may be of little or no interest to the owner. However, if they make appointments, it can subside.

#2. Developing Dependence

Dependence is another negative effect of an open-door policy. Employees who seek guidance or answers from their managers for every minor issue will be unable to make decisions. It might cause employees to become overly reliant on the company owner rather than learn how to solve problems on their own. To advance in their career, an employee must learn to make difficult decisions and accept responsibility for those decisions. Depending on the owner or supervisor to guide them in all aspects of their job can stymie their development as an employee should be ready for advancement.

#3. Authority is being undermined.

It can sometimes result in the development of colleague-type relationships between the owner and his employees. rather than adhering to a company’s traditional supervisor-employee hierarchy. Because they have become friends, it may be difficult for the owner to criticize or even direct the employee.

#4. Disrupting the Command and Control Chain

Another negative effect that open-door policies seem to have is the unintended consequence of disrupting the reporting relationships a business owner has established. A lower-level employee may come into your office and request a reprisal from the supervisor to whom she reports directly. If the supervisor discovers that the employee has “gone over his head” and spoken with the owner, the employee may be disciplined for violating the chain of command. Furthermore, it places the owner in the awkward position of determining whether the employee had a legitimate grievance or whether she was wrong to involve him in the matter.

#5. Abuse of the Policy

Some ambitious employees may see the open-door policy as a way to impress the company’s owner and gain an advantage in the promotion process. An employee may attempt to disparage those vying for the promotion, or he may boast about his own accomplishments and achievements to the “boss.” The policy may encourage chronic complainers and employees with negative attitudes to express their dissatisfaction with the company’s system. These complaints will provide very little constructive value to the owner. They will not assist him in making the company’s working environment more productive.

Open Door Policy Imperialism

“Open door policy” Imperialism is the policy of extending a country’s power and influence through colonization wh

The “open door” policy reflected the attitude of global powers during the age of imperialism, as economic markets expanded globally. Imperial nations sought as much economic control as possible, expanding into and claiming any un-colonized territory they could find. Furthermore, the policy fostered some goodwill between the Chinese and Americans, leading to American conflict with Japan over China later on.

What Was the Open Door Policy of Imperialism and What Drove It?

On September 6, 1899, the US Secretary of State, John Hay, articulates the “open door note.” Therefore, this was circulated among representatives of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and Russia to propose that all countries should maintain free and equal access to all of China’s coastal trade ports, as stipulated by the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, ending the First Opium War.

The Nanking Treaty’s free trade policy lasted well into the late nineteenth century. However, the conclusion of the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895 put coastal China in danger of being divided and colonized by imperialistic European powers competing for “spheres of influence” in the region. And after gaining control of the Philippine Islands and Guam in the Spanish-American War of 1898. Moreover, the United States hoped to expand its political and commercial interests in China in order to increase its own presence in Asia. The United States implemented the Open Door Policy, fearing that it would lose its opportunity to trade with China’s lucrative markets if European powers succeeded in partitioning the country.

It was circulated among European powers by the Secretary of State, who stated that all nations, including the United States, should be allowed reciprocal free access to any Chinese port or commercial market.

Trade-related taxes and tariffs should only be collected by the Chinese government.

No power with a sphere of influence in China should be exempt from paying harbor or railroad fees.

In a diplomatic irony, Hay promoted the Open Door Policy’s imperialism at the same time that the US government was taking extreme measures to prevent Chinese immigration to the US. For example, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years, effectively eliminating opportunities for Chinese merchants and workers in the United States.

Reaction to the Open Door Policy

To say the least, Hay’s Open Door Policy was met with skepticism. Every European country was hesitant to even consider it until all of the other countries agreed. Undaunted, Hay declared in July 1900 that all European powers had agreed “in principle” to the policy’s terms.

The Yangtze Agreement, signed on October 6, 1900, implicitly endorsed the Open Door Policy by stating that both nations would oppose the further political division of China into foreign spheres of influence. However, Germany’s failure to keep the agreement resulted in the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902, in which Britain and Japan agreed to assist each other in protecting their respective interests in China and Korea. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance shaped British and Japanese policy in Asia until the end of World War I in 1919, with the goal of halting Russia’s imperialistic expansion in Eastern Asia.

While it was mentioned in various multinational trade treaties ratified after 1900, the major powers continued to compete for special concessions for railroad and mining rights, ports, and other commercial interests in China.

Following the failure of the Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901 to drive foreign interests out of China, Russia invaded the Japanese-held Chinese region of Manchuria. Theodore Roosevelt’s administration protested the Russian incursion in 1902 as a violation of the Policy. When Japan regained control of southern Manchuria from Russia following the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, the US and Japan pledged to maintain the Open Door policy and trade equality in Manchuria.

The Open Door Policy’s Demise

Japan’s Twenty-one Demands for China in 1915 violated the Policy by retaining Japanese control over key Chinese mining, transportation, and shipping hubs. The United States-led Washington Naval Conference resulted in the Nine-Power Treaty, which reaffirmed the Open Door policy of imperialism.

In response to the Mukden Incident in Manchuria in 1931 and the Second Sino-Japanese War between China and Japan in 1937, the US increased its support for it. Predictably, the United States tightened embargoes on oil, scrap metal, and other vital commodities exported to Japan. The embargoes helped Japan declare war on the United States just hours before the December 7, 1947, attack on Pearl Harbor, which drew the United States into World War II.

The defeat of Japan in World War II in 1945, combined with the communist takeover of China following the Chinese Revolution of 1949, effectively ended all opportunities for foreign trade and rendered it meaningless a full half-century after it was conceived.

China’s Modern Policy of Open Doors

Deng Xiaoping, the new leader of the People’s Republic of China, announced the country’s own version. of the Open Door Policy, literally opening its formally closed doors to foreign businesses. During the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping’s Special Economic Zones enabled China’s industry to modernize in order to attract foreign investment.

Between 1978 and 1989, China’s export volume rose from 32nd to 13th in the world, roughly. doubling its overall global trade. According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), China had a 10.4% share of the global market in 2010 with merchandise export sales of more than $1.5 trillion, the highest in the world. China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest trading nation in 2010, with total imports and exports totaling $4.16 trillion.

The decision to encourage and support foreign trade and investment proved a watershed moment in China’s economic history, putting the country on the path to becoming the “World’s Factory” that it is today


An open-door policy literally means the doors are open. The purpose of an open-door policy in the workplace is to ensure cooperation, transparency, and productivity. Setting it up the right way will make the business progressive. Open-door policy imperialism involves the United States’ attempt to extend power to China.

Employees should report complaints to the management in cases of sexual harassment, discrimination, and other factors. As an employee, you should stay within the boundaries and not take the policy as an opportunity to gain favor.


Who made open door policy?

John Hay

It was the Secretary of State, John Hay, that first proposed the open door policy to the “sphere of influence”. On September 6, 1899, the US Secretary of State, John Hay, articulates the “open door note.”

What is closed door policy?

A policy where the government allows foreigners from within the country to be made inferior is called a “closed-door policy.

How effective is an open door policy?

An open-door policy creates an effective communication channel between the employees and management. As we all know, the company benefits whenever the employees are happy with the system.

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