Cover image for Strategic networks : the art of Japanese interfirm cooperation
Strategic networks : the art of Japanese interfirm cooperation
Richter, Frank-Jürgen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : International Business Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
205 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


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HD2907 .R53 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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With Strategic Networks: The Art of Japanese Interfirm Cooperation, you will examine the structure and dynamics of Japanese business networks and discover successful Japanese business practices and opportunities. For professors of business and Japanese studies, as well as managers of firms throughout the world, this book analyzes new and innovative networks through case examples from the Japanese automobile, chemical, and electronics industries. Strategic Networks offers you insight into the management of these company partnerships and how they work to increase the competitiveness of businesses and allow firms within the network to share important knowledge.

Unknown to many, several of the management concepts that made Japanese companies successful in the 1980s, such as total quality control (TQC) and continuing improvement processes (CIP), were only a part of the formula for a successful business. This book discusses types of Japanese strategic networks, another element of Japan's thriving business structure of today, how they are influenced by Japanese cultural values and state interventions, and why all of the businesses involved are benefiting from these networks.

Evaluating the theoretical foundation of these business relationships and intercompany cooperation, Strategic Networks offers you up-to-date information on the structures of Japanese firms by: examining Karl Popper's ideas on critical rationalism and how Japanese companies follow his theories of problem solving, questioning, and developing knowledge explaining the system, growth, and game theories in order to completely understand a network and all of its facets exploring the ability to work with and navigate strategic networks when they are managed without strict plans or with unforeseen circumstances recognizing how networks enable the activation of interpreneurs to develop future visions, innovations, and responsible leadership for the network

Complete with illustrations to emphasize important points along with insight into networks in the twenty-first century, Strategic Networks offers information and research that will help you understand how Japanese networks operate and how Japanese firms are conducting business differently. As a result, you will learn how the changing values in Japanese society influence company structures and procedures and come to understand the unique workings and effective structures of strategic networks.

Author Notes

Dr. Frank-Jurgen Richter holds a senior management position with a European multinational company and works in Beijing, China. He is a member of EAMSA (Euro Asia Management Studies Association).

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The 1980s saw dozens of books touting Japanese management methods and Japanese industrial policy. Those are the books that begot TQM, reengineering, and lean management. The restructuring that took place to implement those techniques often also resulted in downsizing. What proponents failed to recognize, however, is that Japanese companies never similarly downsized. Richter, who works for the German megaconglomerate Robert Bosch, investigates another Japanese business practice that not only accounts for but also encourages the "organizational redundancy" of Japanese companies. Intercompany cooperation, or strategic networks, have institutionalized a duplication of effort that paradoxically leads to increased sales and operational efficiencies because the cooperating partners remain in competition. Although transaction costs are minimized between cooperating partners, the real benefit, says Richter, is the sharing of knowledge. Richter provides empirical evidence documenting the extent of strategic networks in Japan and then lays their theoretical foundation, offers practical applications, and suggests implications for the future. --David Rouse

Choice Review

This volume offers an extremely interesting and subtle analysis of Japanese keiretsus and related strategic networks. Richter maintains that these networks, which are common in Japan, are "strategically guided by one or more focal firms" and impart a distinct competitive advantage on member firms by permitting them "to gain access to and exploit valued external resources and expertise through the network." Specific chapters focus on the networks' process of knowledge creation, the "driving forces" of the networks, and the management of logistics, technology, and globalization. The author argues that these networks are deeply embedded in Japanese culture, which suggests that they cannot be transferred to the West. He also acknowledges that problems in Japan over the last decade have transformed these networks but maintains that these are positive transformations indicative of the vitality of the networks. This book contains few concrete examples or in-depth case studies and may appear extremely abstract to some readers. Unfortunately, those most likely to object to this level of abstraction are also the same individuals who might significantly benefit from this discussion. This is an important book that should be read by anyone interested in Japanese management and economic organization. General readers; upper-division undergraduate and up. C. H. A. Dassbach; Michigan Technological University

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Chapter 1. Japan and Strategic Networks: Site Determinationp. 9
The Concept of Strategic Networksp. 11
Empirical Evidence for Strategic Networks in Japanp. 19
Chapter 2. Knowledge Creation Through Strategic Networksp. 39
Network Culturep. 42
Organizational Learningp. 55
Cooperative Competitionp. 67
Chapter 3. Driving Forces of Strategic Networksp. 79
Permeabilityp. 81
Autopoiesisp. 94
Symbiosisp. 107
Chapter 4. Management of Strategic Networksp. 121
Logistics Cooperationp. 123
Technology Cooperationp. 134
Globalization Cooperationp. 145
Chapter 5. Entrepreneurship in the Twenty-First Century: An Outlookp. 159
From Entrepreneurship to Interpreneurshipp. 161
Chapter 6. Final Remarksp. 175
Referencesp. 179
Indexp. 197