Journal Name: Asian Business & Management: April 2002, Vol. 1, No. 1
Harukiyo Hasegawa (General Editor, Centre for Japanese Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Welcome to our new international journal of business studies! Asian Business & Management (ABM) is a new international journal for a global audience, a forum for fresh and original insights and research in its field.
ABM seeks to provide a significant and overdue venue for the discussion of Asian management issues, approaching these from both functional and social aspects and moreover, from a perspective rooted in our geographical circumstances. A medium for such an approach has long lacking despite the flourishing development of these issues in our region, and this is of course attributable to mainstream management studies being hitherto focused on already developed economies, particularly the United States. This can unwittingly lend a certain bias to managerial perceptions and interpretations, a point we intend to address in our pages. _ _ _ _ _ .
I am delighted to have in our launch issue six excellent commissioned papers, plus one selected from among those submitted by young academics. We open with some thought-provoking remarks by Ronald Dore, critically reviewing the nature of Anglo-Saxon capitalism in comparison with other variants, particularly that of Japan. Glenn Hook then goes on to identify Japanís ambivalent position in the East Asian political economy, following which Min Chen dexterously overviews general and specific changes in management after the Asian economic crisis. The fourth paper has Ki-An Park and others quantitatively examining the most recent strategic investment policy of South Korean firms in China, while Tain-Jy Chen and others discuss, in the fifth article, an interesting theoretical issue of market imperfections by taking up the case of Taiwanese firms in China. In the sixth paper, Hiroshi Itagaki persuasively explains the paradox of high efficiency and low profitability of the Japanese multinationals. The last paper comes from Carlos Noronha, who presents his recent empirical study of TQM in China and argues the need for TQM theories to be based upon a culturalist approach.
I hope you will enjoy these articles and find them stimulating. I very much welcome your comments, and encourage, where pertinent, your future participation in Asian Business & Management as contributors and/or reviewers.
Will Global Capitalism be Anglo-Saxon Capitalism?
Ronald Dore (Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)
Once 'the Labour Movement' really was a 'movement', with an organisational complex, part industrial, part political and a programme for social transformation from capitalism to socialism. Today, trade unions have more modest ambitions, but the notion that industrial relations are fundamentally adversarial relations remains universal, if the reality of adversarial confrontation varies widely. Three patterns can be discerned; the Anglo-American, in which the confrontation is real and trade unions are losing the battle, the European, in which a relatively stable system of co-operation between 'social partners' nevertheless retains a strong sense of opposing, if balanced interests, and the Japanese pattern of fragmented firm-level co-operation based on assumptions of almost wholly shared interest. The global spread of Anglo-American business influence and cultural assumptions is more likely to transform the European than Japanese scene.
Japanís Role in the East Asian Political Economy: From Crisis to Bloc?
Glenn D. Hook (School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield, UK)
The role of Japan in the East Asian political economy has been to gradually reintegrate the region by deploying a range of economic means. Although at the time of the East Asian crisis some commentators saw the fragmentation of the region as a likely outcome, the intervening years have rather demonstrated that the greater integration of the region has been the result. Japan has played a crucial leadership role in promoting regional integration. In the wake of the crisis, this has been manifest as both short- and longer-term responses, with the Japanese government offering immediate financial support to the affected economies, as well as technical and other assistance on softer conditionalities than the International Monetary Fund. Over the longer term, Japan has put forward policies to promote the internationalization of the yen, seeking to increase its use for regional trade. It has also moved away from a sole commitment to 'open regionalism' by holding negotiations on Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Singapore and other countries. The article concludes that, although Japan has indeed played a crucial leadership role in promoting regional integration, the continuing importance of relations with the United States and Europe means a regional 'bloc' is unlikely to emerge in the foreseeable future.
Post-Crisis Trends in Asian Management
Min Chen (The American Graduate School of International Management, Arizona, USA.)
This article reviews recent major changes of management practices among Asian companies and analyzes trends of development. The 1997 financial crisis, combined with the 'Information Revolution' and globalization, brought unprecedented pressures on traditional Asian companies to change. Japanese keiretsu, Korean chaebol, ethnic Chinese family businesses and even China's state-owned enterprises have begun to transform themselves, though the pace of such transformation varies from country to country.
One Western concept of management that has uniformly received attention from these Asian management systems is that of shareholder value, as most Asian companies previously cared much less about building up shareholder value than increasing market share and pursuing rapid growth. Asian business practices are Asian companies' reaction to a relatively unique business environment in Asia. Without that environment being fundamentally changed or modernized, it would be unthinkable for Asian companies to completely transform themselves from what they have been. Nor is it necessary for them to completely shed their traditions. Their practices led to growth in the past and in some situations could continue to permit short-term growth.
Strategic Investment Policy in a Growing Market Factors for the Management Strategy of Korean Firms in China
Ki-An Park, Chan-Kyung Kim & Joon-Young Lim (Kyung-Hee University, Seoul, South Korea)
This paper reviews the factors determining the types of management strategies of Korean firms in China and identifies their relative importance. For the verification of the relationship between influencing factors and preference of management strategy type, variables are classified into two groups: independent variables and dependent variables. Independent variables comprise components related with the social-cultural value system of Chinese employees and the political-legal structure of China. Dependent variables are internally and externally oriented management strategies.
The relationship between the management strategy of South Korean firms and the environment factors of social-culture and political law in China is tested empirically. The result shows that South Korean firms have been influenced by the obstacle elements of the social-cultural environment more than those of political-legal ones. Several factors like 'inconsistent application of law', and 'corruption of public officials', etc, are regarded as the obstacle elements of the political-legal environment. Among the difficult factors of the social-cultural environment, more influencing ones are revealed as 'lack of communication between management and labor', 'lack of employee's responsibility for their tasks', 'excessive demands of wage allowances over productivity', and 'employees' immature work attitudes', etc. Surely, this has resulted from the immature capitalism of China.
Creating Competitive Advantages Out Of Market Imperfections: Taiwanese Firms in China
Tain-Jy Chen (Taiwan National University, Taipei, Taiwan) & Ying-Hua Ku (Chung-Hua Institute for Economic Research, Taiwan)
In this paper, we highlight foreign direct investment (FDI) as a strategic move by foreign investors to exploit host country resources that are not equally available to all firms in order to create a competitive advantage. Using Taiwanese firms in China as an example, we find this resource-based FDI strategy to be most effective among large firms in mature industries. Large Taiwanese firms take advantage of market imperfections and institutional deficiencies in China to create barriers for small firms to access valuable local resources, to orchestrate a relocation of production networks that favor themselves, and to pursue vertical integration that forecloses the competition from small firms. As a result, large firms gain shares in world markets, which in turn, enable them to diversify product lines or to engage in risky R&D.
Japanese Multinational Enterprises: The Paradox of High Efficiency and Low Profitability
Hiroshi Itagaki (Faculty of Economics, Musashi University, Tokyo, Japan.)
The fundamental characteristic of Japanese MNEs is revealed in the paradox between their high-performance operational efficiency, as reflected in quality control and inventory management, on the one hand, and their low-performance profitability, on the other. The key to unraveling this paradox lies in the organizational features of those Japanese corporations that emphasize the accumulation and utilization of managerial resources to increase operational efficiency. The paradox and the type of business management are characteristics that Japanese corporations at home and abroad share. Moreover, features that have come to be considered characteristic of Japanese MNEs, such as the high ratio of Japanese expatriates, a home country-oriented style of management, and the importance of informal information networks, have a common root with the paradox. These features can be explained by the endeavors of Japanese MNEs to compensate for the insufficient transfer of their organizational characteristics which are preconditions for high operational efficiency.
Culture-specific TQM in China: Case Studies for Theoretical Consideration
Carlos Noronha (Faculty of Business Adminstration, University of Macau, Taipa, Macau.)
Over the past few decades, Total Quality Management (TQM) has become a worldwide phenomenon. Research has indicated that it enables organizations to achieve both hard and soft outcomes. Instances of improved product and service quality, reduced costs and waste, as well as enhancements in the quality of working life, participation, and commitment of organization members are often documented. Although TQM is frequently labeled as having its cultural origins in Japan, this paper argues that it is a self-emergent and independent set of philosophies. TQM may be implemented in any cultural setting and its success or failure depends largely on how it is fused with the relevant national and organizational cultures. This theoretical model of a culture-specific TQM is exemplified through three cases of Chinese TQM companies operating in Hong Kong and mainland China. Using in-depth interviews, some salient characteristics of how TQM is implemented in line with indigenous Chinese cultural values are identified. Implications for further development of TQM theories based on a culturalist approach are suggested.
(This journal is available online: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/abm)
Posted with permission from the publisher.