Corporate Intelligence: The Key to the Strategic Success of Japanese Organizations in International Environments
Over the last two decades, a great deal has been written on the subject of successful management of the Japanese corporations. Thousands of executives, managers, and academicians have visited Japan in search of the secrets to its success. However, considerable disagreement exists as to the cause of the successful corporate behavior of Japanese organizations, particularly with respect to worldwide operations ( Johnson 1988; Nonaka 1988).
The purpose of this chapter is to review the arguments and propose a new paradigm, a corporate intelligence model, based upon a social learning theory, to explain why some Japanese organizations are successful in worldwide operations. A review of the literature indicates that most arguments can be classified into two categories, sociocultural theory and government-industry conspiracy theory.
This theory, popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s, simply indicates that Japan is a homogeneous and consensus-oriented country where Japanese work as a team, make decisions based upon group consensus, and work as hard as possible to maximize efficiency, thus achieving high productivity. This theory is basically derived from the strong conviction that Japan has a unique culture known as collectivism as opposed to individualism ( Christopher 1983; Pascale and Athos 1981; Shimada 1985). Some researchers argue that "Japanese are so homogeneous they share the same culture, ideologies, tasks, historical traditions,