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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:41 08/23/2007
Journal Abstracts #289: August 23, 2007

Asian Business & Management

Journal Name: Asian Business & Management: June 2007, Volume 6, Number 2


Environmental Issues and Theory of Management (pp123142)
Takao Nuki (Faculty of Social-Human Environmentology, Daito Bunka University, 1-9-1 Takashimadaira, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 175-8571, Japan)

In environmental economics, activities aimed at reducing environmental pressure are covered by the expression 'Internalization of external diseconomies'. However, management studies has no defined terminology for corporate activities tackling environmental problems. This paper therefore introduces new terminology - 'the greening of management' and 'spontaneization', meaning the self-generated and spontaneous involvement of companies with environmental issues - and discusses them in a contemporary context. The paper further notes five changes in social awareness of environmental problems that have accompanied the increasing gravity of environmental problems from pollution to potential breakdown, and explores the roles and limits of technological and economic countermeasures. Corporate activity is seen as requiring evolution towards environmentally conscious management, comprising measures such as corporate social responsibility, higher product durability and eco-business, and realizing the importance of longer perspectives and plurality in decision-making principles. It notes in conclusion that, in spite of the high competitive power of productive or 'artery' industries, supportive or 'vein' industries are not sufficiently developed in Japan's industrial structure; as a result, the possibility is raised that global economic growth led by Asian interests will cause a worldwide environmental crisis that is Asian in origin.

Keywords: environmental management, CSR, global warming, greening of management, eco-business

Stakeholders and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): A New Perspective on the Structure of Relationships (pp143162)
Nobuyuki Tokoro (Tamagawa University, 6-1-1 Tamagawagakuen, Machida-shi, Tokyo 194-8610, Japan)

This paper analyses the characteristics of relationships between stakeholders and corporate social responsibility (CSR) and stakeholders. Previous researches on relationships between enterprises and stakeholders have demonstrated two characteristics, of 'restriction' and 'transaction', but they do not appear to shed much light on recent developments. This is partly due to the new trend of corporate dialogue with stakeholders, aimed either at addressing social issues or with a view to acquiring a positive perception through such dialogue; we see this process as one of 'value creation'. Stakeholder dialogue is more established in Europe, where CSR has developed most extensively, than elsewhere. Today, European enterprises are moving towards a standardized system to formalize and evaluate the value of stakeholder dialogue. Japanese opinion, however, is not always in favor of such standardization, as in Nonaka' Knowledge Creation Theory, which argues that all innovation is produced through a creative process of solving contradictions and conflicts, rather than through applying objective processes. This paper discusses the context of stakeholder dialogue and the Japanese perception of its application.

Keywords: stakeholder, restriction, transaction, value creation, dialogue, social context

The Significance and Limitations of Corporate Governance from the Perspective of Business Ethics: Towards the Creation of an Ethical Organizational Culture (pp163178)
Chiaki Nakano (Reitaku University, 2-1-1 Hikarigaoka, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba 277-8686, Japan)

The aim of this paper is the re-examination of corporate governance and business ethics at Japanese companies and the pursuit of a more desirable model, by discussing and examining the significance of and limitations to corporate governance reforms currently underway in Japan, particularly from a point of view of business ethics.

In this paper, I will present the following two combinations of a coherent corporate governance system with business ethics system:

  1. 'shareholder-centred governance' and 'the establishment of compliance-style business ethics';
  2. 'corporate-conscience-based governance' and 'the establishment of business ethics through value sharing'.

I will argue that from the perspective of effectiveness, the latter is superior. I will also argue for the need to work towards the establishment of an ethical organizational culture.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate governance, business ethics, corporate conscience, compliance orientation, organizational culture

Hierarchical Structures and Competitive Strategies in Car Development: Inter-Organizational Relationships with Toyota's First-, Second- and Third-Tier Suppliers (pp179198)
Park Tae-Hoon (Graduate School for Creative Cities, Osaka City University, 3-3-138, Sugimoto, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka-shi 558-8585, Japan)

Previous research on product architecture has focused on postponement and speculation strategies on behalf of car makers and their first-tier parts suppliers, in their efforts to differentiate products and reduce product development lead time. However, except for product architecture, criteria have not been established on the strategic applications for second- and third-tier parts suppliers. This paper addresses this omission by investigating the organizational relationships between Toyota's second- and third-tier parts suppliers, and clarifies how a choice may be made between postponement and speculation strategy. It became clear that upper layers in the division of roles in the hierarchic system of the Japanese automobile industry developed a mutual form of relationship that allowed adjustments, and applied a postponement strategy; but at lower levels, a more formal division of responsibility and speculative strategy were involved. Which type of strategy is taken by the parts suppliers depends on their level in the hierarchic division of work responsibilities.

Keywords: postponement and speculation strategy, hierarchic division of work, organizational relations, product architecture, first-, second- and third-tier parts suppliers

Social Consequences of Diversified Employment: From a Perspective of Work and Society (pp199218)
Narumi Tsukamoto (School of Management, Josai University, 1-1 Keyakidai, Sakado-city, Saitama 350-0295, Japan)

This article argues that employment diversification may lead to serious social consequences, insofar as it is a result of corporate technical and economic requirements. In terms of spontaneous cooperation from individuals, diversified employment might have two undesirable consequences. First, diversification in work and employment means that marketability penetrates every social sector. Widespread systematization in the social sector and a dominant market ethic bring about excessive rationalization, along with increasing individualization, in society. Second, diverse employment and flexible work styles segment working life and destroy lifetime employment as a norm, and divide the community of workers in a workplace. Although diversity or flexibility in employment and working style has benefits for workers, this can lead to a monistic labour society, where only paid work has social value, and voluntarism is devalued. In such a society, corporate activity will decay, because social vitality drops and management can no longer anticipate voluntary cooperation among workers. Both the autonomy and cooperation of individuals in social and working life are essential for the vitality of corporations and society.

Keywords: diversified employment, monistic labour society, spontaneous cooperation, individualization, social relations, performance-based pay system

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