Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Modeling Knowledge-Based Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Japanese Organizations

Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Modeling Knowledge-Based Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Japanese Organizations

Article excerpt


This manuscript describes a research framework to model an inquiry of Japanese knowledge-based entrepreneurship. It posits that a better understanding of innovation and technology transfer can be gained from the Japanese system of entrepreneurship. Japanese entrepreneurship is frequently linked with the notion of knowledge management that is presently vogue with organizational researchers. We argue that roots of knowledge management are reflected in traditional theories of organizational communication and information processing theories. Since Japanese innovators are notoriously aggressive in their search for technological information, they make an ideal setting for the study of knowledge-based entrepreneurship. The present model draws from technology-structure contingency theory and focuses on the information processing of organizational work-groups. The model poses technology transfer effectiveness as the outcome of the fit between a project's information processing requirements and its information processing capabilities. Several variables from the technology/innovation management and small group literatures are proposed to moderate relationships between fit and technology transfer effectiveness


A growing body of researchers has considered innovation and corporate entrepreneurship as vital organizational processes contributing to firm survival and performance (see for example, Dess, Ireland, Zahra, Floyd, Janney & Lane, 2003; Zahra, 1993; Kanter, 1988; Drucker, 1985; Miller, 1983). The researchers contend that innovative behavior is a necessary prerequisite for firms of all sizes to thrive amidst intensifying global competition. Their research contributes a growing understanding of how entrepreneurial processes emerge and leverage competitive advantage in fast-paced international markets. A recent synthesis of this research has challenged investigation within four important topic areas: the structural forms of corporate entrepreneurship, leadership and social exchange, organizational learning, and international context (Dess, Ireland, Zahra, Floyd, Janney & Lane, 2003). A critical force driving innovation and entrepreneurship within each of these areas is the creation and effective exploitation of knowledge.

Rapid internationalization of the marketplace and the evolving globalization of entrepreneurial firms suggest that research of entrepreneurship should increase its focus on international content and dimensions (McDougall & Oviatt, 2000). Within prominent scholarly journals, much of the prior research into firm-level entrepreneurship has been conducted in North American or European nations or by researchers working in English-based universities. Exceptions to this precedent have included a small number of studies from countries of origins such as Norway (Knight, 1997), Japan (Deshpande, Farley, & Webster, 1993), China (Tan, 2002), South Africa and Portugual (Morris, Davis, & Allen, 1994). In some cases researchers have begun to explore how entrepreneurial research conducted in other countries differs from the U.S. academic models (Huse & Landstrom, 1997). Inquiries encompassing a broader international scope will increase our understanding of the idiosyncratic effects of national cultures and their unique resource endowments (Zahra, Jennings & Kurato, 1999).

Of particular interest to the international body of entrepreneurial research is a period of Japanese history dating from approximately the dusk of World War II to the dawn of the 21st century. Japan experienced extraordinary economic growth during this period based on rapid domination of global markets and an unprecedented, nationwide system of entrepreneurship (Abegglen & Stalk, 1985). A cultural force was set in motion with the post-war rebuilding of Japan that fostered a growing appetite for the world's leading organizational systems and technologies (Westney, 1993). …

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