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Economics / Business

The Japanese Firm: The Sources of Competitive Strength

(Oxford University Press 1994)

Masahiko Aoki / Ronald Dore (eds.)

This volume is comprised of a group of papers written by experts in their various fields, all deeply concerned with Japanese companies, their structures, their purposes.
The editors of this collection direct the reader’s attention to four qualities which distinguish it.
First is that the papers are interdisciplinary and catholic in their approach, relating the author’s interpretation to those deriving from other disciplines.
A second distinction of the collection is that no one claims to have discovered the secret of the Japanese firm—some autonomous factor that would explain its competitive strength.
Rather the rich complexity of the Japanese firm is comprehensively acknowledged.
It follows that the third distinction is the diversity of structure, particularly in the large corporation whose difference from its competitors in other countries is most marked.
Thus (the fourth quality), the comparative perspective adopted, the issue of the transferability and adaptability of Japanese practices, whether they are even practical elsewhere.
Provided here, then, is an overview of the Japanese firm in all of its protean forms.
A definition is provided and a question is asked: what sort of society will this sort of economy sustain and be sustained by?

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