Japan's Computer and Communications Industry: The Evolution of Industrial Giants and Global Competitiveness

By Martin Fransman | Go to book overview

6 The Evolution of NEC

CHAPTER OVERVIEW

How have NEC's competences evolved since the company was founded in 1899? The chapter begins by examining this question, showing how NEC advanced into competence-related technologies and new products. Particular attention is paid to those areas in which the company achieved international competitiveness. NEC's move into personal computers is closely examined. In this area the company held more than 50 per cent of the Japanese market in the early 1990s.

What are the major beliefs that underlie NEC's vision, and what were the main determinants of these beliefs! This question is tackled next, examining the creation of NEC's 'C&C Vision', that is its vision based on the convergence of communications and computing technologies. How important was this vision in influencing the evolution of NEC's competences, its forms of organization, and its understanding of its environment? Why is it that some of NEC's Western counterparts--such as IBM, Intel, and Ericsson--formed contradictory visions? What evidence is there to support the beliefs underlying NEC's C&C vision? These kinds of questions are examined in this section.

How has NEC's internal organization evolved since its founding? Specifically, how has the company organized and managed the large number of products, technologies, and markets in which it is involved? ( NEC now produces more than 10,000 different products!) These questions are analysed in the following section, paying particularly close attention to the company's major reorganizations in 1965 and 1992. What factors motivated these reorganizations? What role was played by vision, competences, and selection environment? In this section a key organizational issue that is analysed in detail relates to the organization and management of research and development. How does NEC plan the R&D for 10,000 products? What role is played by NEC's core technologies programme? How does NEC's R&D network operate? How has the company's research and development been globalized?

How has NEC extended its competences through R&D, in the process developing new competences? This question is tackled next through a case- study of NEC's development of its automated fingerprint identification system ( AFIS), which has captured about 60 per cent of the world market. The role of the company's vision and forms of organization in shaping the evolution of its AFIS is examined.

What has been the effect of NEC's selection environment on the company's evolution? This question is analysed in the final section. What

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