Journal Name: Asian Business & Management: November 2002, Vol. 1, No. 3
Industry Policy in East Asia
Fred Robins (Graduate School of Management, Adelaide University, Australia)
This commentary examines the future of industry policy in those countries of East Asia where it has a track record of apparent success. Particular attention is given to the attitudes of the policy-making elite in the aftermath of the Asian Crisis. The author judges that the priority given by regional governments to industrial development and their confidence in state-assisted industrialization is undiminished. At the same time, there is broad recognition of the need to take the WTO and greater global business integration fully into account. The consequence is likely to be changes in the mechanisms of industry policy, but not to the important place given to industry policy in 'developmental' states.
Japanese Competition Policy in the 1990s: Remaining Uniqueness in the Policy Network
Kenji Suzuki (European Institute of Japanese Studies, Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden)
Having been relatively closed to foreign businesses for a long time, Japan is being required to make efforts toward a more open market. Pressure from the United States at the beginning of the 1990s initiated a number of reforms, but how much Japanese competition policy has developed since then is controversial. The present study aims to discuss it with particular focus on relational structures in the policy process, or 'policy network'. The scope of collective action has been reduced as a result of economic internationalization, but the remaining business-government connection seems to have been strong enough to compen-sate for the lack of a comprehensive approach. On top of that, the Fair Trade Commission remains vulnerable to the pressure from politicians and other ministries, despite recent organizational reforms. Those relational stru-ctures are clearly reflected in the current enforcement manner of Japanese competition policy. The policy process toward the removal of holding company prohibition also exhibits the weakness of competition policy authority in the policy network.
Foreign Capital and Sovereignty: A Comparative Study of Malaysian and South Korean Experience during the Asian Financial Crisis
Mohd Nazari Ismail (Department of Business Policy and Strategy, Faculty of Business and Accounting, University of Malaya, Malaysia)
The impact of foreign capital on a country's sovereignty is a subject of continuing debate. However, most discussions fail to differentiate between the different forms of investments - whether they are in the form of foreign lendings, portfolio investments or foreign direct investments. This paper discusses this issue by comparing the experiences of Malaysia and South Korea during the Asian financial crisis.
Prior to the crisis, the two countries adopted very different attitudes towards FDI. Whereas South Korea discouraged it, relying instead on foreign loans to develop indigenously owned corporations to protect its economic sovereignty, Malaysia on the other hand actively sought FDI. Ironically, when the Asian financial crisis struck in 1997, South Korea was forced to seek the help of the IMF for additional sources of finance to prevent the country from going bankrupt, thereby leading to a significant loss of sovereignty. On the other hand, Malaysia was able to avoid borrowing from the IMF. The most important lesson that can be learnt from comparing the experiences of the two countries is that a country's reliance on foreign capital is not necessarily bad for its 'economic sovereignty', as long as it is in the form of FDI rather than loans.
Multiple Paths to Adoption: The Role of Actors in the Appropriation of Japanese Work Systems
Ayse Saka (Department of International Economics and Business, University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
This paper builds on a context-dependent view of work systems diffusion within the manufacturing context across conflicting governance structures. It adopts an integrated understanding of the social constitution of work systems and appreciates the role of strategic choice, beliefs and power in the adoption of alternative work systems. The study is founded on a systematic comparative study of the ways in which alternative work systems are adopted and sustained in the UK subsidiary firms of two Japanese MNCs and concludes that there is a multiplicity of adoption processes rather than a 'single best solution' to organizing resources. Taking into account the complex ensembles of routines that can mould what is being communicated across national boundaries, the adoption process is displayed as an active process involving actors' decisions to accept new ideas, where the links between implementation and internalization processes are important in determining the outcome of the diffused system.
Australian Expatriates' Experiences in Working Behind the Bamboo Curtain: An Examination of guanxi in Post-communist China
Kate Hutchings1 and Georgina Murray2 (1School of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Australia and 2School of Humanities, Griffith University, Australia)
Existing literature examining business relationships in China suggests that China has a business culture that is based on strong family networks or cultural ties secured in guanxi connections, which are underpinned by strong Confucian ethics. We agree that Chinese business may have cultural attributes that are distinctly national (that international businesses and their expatriates ignore at their peril), but we also question the continued significance of these historical cultural concepts in a globalizing world. We query whether a system of networks arising from existing state-owned enterprises that has been consolidated during 50 years of communism can still be applicable on the considerably larger scale of multinational corporate business on which Chinese capitalism in the 21st century operates. Interview data collected from Australian expatriates in Shanghai in November 2001 is used to assess the relevance of guanxi. Our findings suggest that the necessity for expatriates to establish guanxi is determined by company size and the individual expatriate's length of service in China.
(This journal is available online: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/abm)
Posted with permission from the publisher.