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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #195: May 27, 2005

Asian Business & Management

Journal Name: Asian Business & Management: June 2005, Volume 4, Number 2


The Future of Corporate Social Responsibility (pp95-115)
Fred Robins (Adelaide Graduate School of Business, University of Adelaide, GPO Box 498 (AGSB), S.A. 5005, Adelaide, South Australia.)
This paper offers a contemporary look at that part of corporate community involvement which in recent years has become known as 'corporate social responsibility'. The author adopts a broader perspective than Michael Porter's prominent article on 'corporate philanthropy'. Here, the voluntary and discretionary expenditures of business on social and environmental projects are seen to be more closely aligned with corporate risk management and reputation-building than with corporate strategy. After some observations about terminology and philosophical attitudes, the paper notes the growing pressure on business to undertake discretionary social and environmental expenditures and to account publicly for such activities through institutionalized annual reporting. Some recent international initiatives to foster and popularize corporate social responsibility are summarized and their features briefly assessed, as is one attempt to measure corporate social responsibility. The paper seeks to illuminate the 'hidden' issues in this increasingly popular contemporary movement. The most important of these are to identify who ultimately pays for such expenditures and who ultimately makes decisions about them. At the same time it is noted that the capabilities of private business in the social arena may sometimes exceed those of government. The paper concludes with a number of judgements about the nature and legitimacy of this contemporary development and also about its future.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; triple bottom line; corporate philanthropy; sustainability reporting

What's Bad About Crony Capitalism? (pp117-132)
Peter Enderwick (Faculty of Business, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.)
While there has been much discussion of the negative effects of crony capitalism, there has been little analysis of their precise nature. It is widely agreed that crony capitalism generates significant economic rents, which result in a misallocation of resources and lower incentives for wealth creation. In addition, the corruption that accompanies cronyism constitutes a considerable impediment to growth and development. This paper provides an analysis of the likely costs of cronyism and categorises them into four principal groups: allocative inefficiencies; dynamic inefficiencies; corruption and transaction costs; and problems of social and political stability. The analysis suggests that the most damaging aspect of crony capitalism is its tendency to discourage restructuring and adjustment at a time when such traits are central to economic success. The various linkages between the cost components are also explored. Examination of the claimed benefits of crony capitalism shows that they are more than offset by the negative effects.

Keywords: crony capitalism; Asian capitalism; corruption costs

What has Research into Japanese Industrial Relations Elucidated over 20 Years? (pp133-156)
Masao Inoue (College of Economics, Rikkyo University, 3-34-1, Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 171-8501, Japan.)
This paper addresses issues of current Japanese IR by assessing over 20 years of empirical research and the methodologies employed. A general overview of features of Japanese Industrial Relations (IR) since 1970, divided into three time frames, will broadly analyse the types of conditions and factors that have brought about change. We will then consider the major achievements of such empirical research, looking at the first half of the 1980s, the latter half of the 1980s and the 1990s, respectively. After a brief consideration of the critical awareness, analytical content and facts emerging since 1980, we will evaluate respective contributions and the issues presented; and on this basis, we will discuss the direction that future research should follow, by pointing out the features and problems of Japanese IR as a whole. The above will clarify the level attained by these studies and the characteristics of Japanese IR. Only by examining such research can we elucidate problems facing Japanese IR in a changing and harsh economic environment: how problems can be overcome (or not), what decisive factors are involved, and what new issues have arisen. The biggest problem of Japanese IR is the paradox that its highpoint came about through the unions' cooperative approach; but this was essentially a malfunction of labour unions, or a 'hollowing-out' of IR. Research into this area needs therefore to take a broader socio-economic perspective within the structural context of Japanese society, in order to elucidate reasons for union malfunction and investigate how to eliminate this.

Keywords: IR; labour movement; union control; workers' merit-oriented mentality; collective bargaining; corporate-centred society

Task Environment and Resource Deployment: Their Impact on the Performance of Telecommunications Firms in Asia-Pacific Countries (pp157-184)
Norlia Ahmad (Faculty of Business and Management, Open University Malaysia (OUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.) and Rachda Chiasakul (Asia Plus Securities Public Company Limited, Bangkok, Thailand.)
This research combines both the positioning school and the Resource-Based View models in an analysis of telecommunications firms operating in Asia-Pacific countries. From a strategic management viewpoint, it provides an analysis of the task environment as an external factor, as well as changes in resource deployment as internal factors, to these firms. Thereafter, it examines the influence of a task environment, which has experienced enormous changes resulting from market deregulation and rapid technological advancement, and resource deployment on firm performance. Our findings support the notion that changes in task environment, which correspond to a decrease in market concentration and an increase in task ambiguity lead to a lower profitability rate among firms. In addition, this study also indicates that a firm's ability to respond to changes in the task environment is reflected in changes in resource deployment. Finally, a considerable change in resource deployment is also associated with a higher level of performance. Notably, this study offers some insights on issues of heterogeneity among firms within the telecommunications industry, suggesting that they are uniquely different in term of their objectives and strategic resources.

Keywords: market concentration; task ambiguity; resource deployment; performance

Dividend Pay-Outs and Leverage in Japanese Firms (pp185-203 )
Sophie Nivoix (Faculté de Droit et Sciences Sociales de Poitiers, 93, avenue du recteur Pineau, 86022 Poitiers cedex, France.)
Through an analysis of the use of leverage and dividend policy by Japanese companies, we came to the conclusion that the strategy that directed them regarding the agency theory cost levels incurred was not neutral. The theoretical implications of the agency theory allowed us to express several hypotheses that we tested on a wide sample of Japanese firms listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Owing to considerable restructuring in Japan at that time, the difference between keiretsu and non-keiretsu firms was also investigated. In the empirical part of this paper, we show some clear differences between firms located within the influence area of the horizontal groups (keiretsu) and those outside it. Indeed, the outside companies showed a leverage rate significantly lower than the others, and a slightly lower pay-out ratio. As for firms belonging to keiretsu, no difference regarding leverage levels was noted, but there was a slight tendency for firms belonging to former zaibatsu heirs to pay lower dividends than companies belonging to other horizontal groups. Moreover, leverage and dividend policy appeared to be ways of reducing agency costs. Evidence showed that these means were more substitutive than complementary, since our results showed a negative relationship between leverage and pay-out ratio.

Keywords: dividend; leverage; agency theory; keiretsu; Japan

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