Comparative Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management - Vol. 3

Comparative Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management - Vol. 3

Comparative Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management - Vol. 3

Comparative Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management - Vol. 3

Synopsis

Topics addressed in this set of volumes range from leadership to human resource management. The papers that comprise the volumes discuss the impact of cultural, institutional and societal variables across a number of countries.

Excerpt

Distinctive forms of business organization have become dominant and successful in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong over the past 40 years. These different business systems reflect historical patterns of authority trust and loyalty in Japan, Korea and China. They also vary in their specialization, strategic preferences and patterns of inter-firm co-ordination because of significant differences in their institutional environments, especially the political and financial systems. Similar processes exist in western societies but distinctive business systems are not so sharply bounded between nation states and cultures in Europe and North America.

The identification of distinctive forms of dominant business organization in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong over the past few decades (Hamilton et al. 1990; Orru et al. 1988; Whitley 1990) demonstrates the plurality of viable ways of organizing and directing economic activities, as well as the importance of what Maurice (1979) terms the 'societal effect' in generating this pluralism. Dominant economic actors have become established in these societies that are remarkably similar within them yet differ in key respects between them (Hamilton and Biggart 1988). These actors are: the Japanese specialized clan or kaisha (Abegglen and Stalk 1985; Clark 1979), the Korean patrimonial bureaucracy or chaebol (Amsden 1989; Jones and Sakong 1980; Yoo and Lee 1987) and the Chinese Family Business (Limlingan 1986; Redding 1990). Their major differences were described in an earlier paper in Organization Studies (Whitley 1990) and can be explained in terms of the quite different institutional environments in which each business system developed. In this paper, I describe the major social institutions in each economy which together help to account for the distinctive characteristics of these business systems. Essentially, I am arguing that dominant forms of business organization in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong since the 1950s reflect the nature and interconnections of key social institutions in both pre-industrial Japan, Korea and China and in these contemporary societies.

Source: Organization Studies (1991), 12(1): 1-28.

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