Technology and Innovation in Japan: Policy and Management for the Twenty-First Century

By Martin Hemmert; Christian Oberländer | Go to book overview

Concerning organization and management, internationalization has been by far the most dynamic development in the Japanese innovation system. Compared to earlier decades, there has also been some gradual change on the intra-organizational and inter-organizational levels, including innovations like new types of publicly financed research units and the setup of support programs for venture businesses. From the perspective of the Japanese innovation system, R&D operations abroad have been a novelty in many instances; however, they often provided good opportunities to compensate for weaknesses in the domestic system while avoiding reform of organizational structures and routines at home. Thus, the fundamental structure of most Japanese R&D units and the way their activities are governed seem to be mostly unchanged. The Japanese innovation system appears to follow a pragmatic pattern of development: old, existing organizational units and processes persist, while new ones with sometimes even radically different approaches are added, resulting in the coexistence of ‘old’ and ‘new,’ ‘traditional’ and ‘innovative’ organizational structures and processes. This makes it difficult to label the development as either fundamental change, gradual evolution or stagnation. To what degree old routines are allowed to persist and to what extent new structures are truly accepted will strongly influence how Japanese managers and scientists will master the perhaps greatest challenge that still lies ahead: to acquire the know-how necessary for dealing meaningfully with the globalization of research and development. Only by fully digesting the new ways in R&D management will it be possible to assess a potential domestic or international partner’s ‘technology seeds’ and to form fruitful alliances in order to enhance one’s research portfolio and manage development risk as will be essential for survival in the twenty-first century.


REFERENCES
Goto, Akira and Hiroyuki Odagiri (eds) (1997) Innovation in Japan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Goto, Akira and Ryuhei Wakasugi (1988) Technology Policy. In Komiya, Ryutaro, Masahiro Okuno, and Kotaro Suzumura (eds), Industrial Policy of Japan. Tokyo, San Diego and London: Academic Press, pp. 183-204.
Horres, Robert and Josef Kreiner (1992) Anspruch und Wirklichkeit der japanischen Forschungs- und Technologiepolitik—Eine Einführung. In Trends der japanischen Forschungs- und Technologiepolitik. Miscellanea 3. Tokyo: Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien, pp. 7-30.
Japan Economic Journal (4 December 1984), p. 1.
Kagaku Gijutsucho (1997) Kuni no kenkyū kaihatsu zenpan ni kyōtsū suru hyōka no jisshi hōhō no arikata ni tsuite no taikōteki shishin (National guideline on the method of evaluation for government R&D).Tokyo: Kagaku Gijutsucho.

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