Cover image for Can Japan compete?
Can Japan compete?
Porter, Michael E., 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Basic Books/Perseus Pub., [2000]

Physical Description:
xvi, 208 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1370 Lexile.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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HF1601 .P67 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In Can Japan Compete? , world-renowned competition strategist Michael Porter and his colleagues explain why American assumptions about Japan have proved so inaccurate, what Japan must do to regain its strength, and what its journey can tell us about how to succeed in the new global economy.The research behind this book began in the early 1990s, at a time when Japan's economic success was overwhelmingly credited to the Japanese government and its unique management policies. Porter and his colleagues started by asking a crucial but previously overlooked question: If Japanese government policies and practices accounted for the nation's extraordinary competitiveness, then why wasn't Japan competitive in many of the industries where those policies had been prominently implemented? The authors and a team of colleagues surveyed a vast array of Japanese industries. This surprising book is the result of their work. The continuing influence of Japanese government and management strategies worldwide makes Can Japan Compete? a must read for anyone competing in the global economy.

Author Notes

Michael E. Porter is the C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. He is the author of a number of books on competitive strategy and international competitiveness, including the Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors , now nearing its sixtieth printing.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

For over half a century, Japanologists have argued over what built Japan, Inc. Porter (Harvard), Takeuchi (Hitosubashi Univ.), and Sakakibara (UCLA) argue that government guidance and financial support to chosen industries made these industries less competitive, the most competitive sectors being those the government did not subsidize. Therefore, they assert, "the great preponderance of evidence points to the Japanese government model as a cause of failure, not the source of the Japanese miracle." The authors do not tell what drove Japan's miracle. The government did master and Japan did become the world's second largest economy by growing faster than any other economy in the West and Asia for three decades. As to the title of the book, the authors answer affirmatively that Japan can compete, particularly through foreign direct investment and expanding multinationals; changes within the keiretsu and government; a new generation of CFOs willing to accept reforms; non-keiretsu companies finding room to succeed; and a current generation of workers willing to work for less. Finally, the Japanese have become equity holders, who will likely demand more for their money. The book is based on Porter-directed case studies built from interviews and rare data. A welcome addition to the literature, jargon free and highly readable, but serious readers will find it a bit of cheerleading. Public, academic, and professional collections. E. Pang Colorado School of Mines

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Notesp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Chapter I The Japanese Model of Competitivenessp. 1
Notesp. 17
Chapter 2 Challenging the Japanese Government Modelp. 18
Notesp. 67
Chapter 3 Rethinking Japanese Managementp. 69
Notesp. 98
Chapter 4 What Does Explain Japanese Competitiveness?p. 100
Notesp. 118
Chapter 5 How Japan Can Move Forward: the Agenda for Governmentp. 138
Notesp. 161
Chapter 6 Transforming the Japanese Companyp. 162
Notesp. 180
Chapter 7 Can Japan Compete?p. 181
Notesp. 190
Referencesp. 191
Indexp. 199