Beyond the Firm: Business Groups in International and Historical Perspective

By Takao Shiba; Masahiro Shimotani | Go to book overview

major intermarket groups, or corporate complexes, use their banks as an important source of capital and other services, and act as core members in their group's information councils ( Gerlach 1992). On the other hand, the rapidly changing technological and market conditions that underlie these industries have forced these firms to grow and diversify through an expanding network of satellite operations ( Aoki 1987). This dynamic process ensures that business groups are by no means an outmoded remnant of Japan's feudal past or its late-developer status. While the ongoing restructuring of the Japanese economy away from heavy industry toward complex assembly industries will no doubt have important implications for the predominant modes of organizing, the logic of group-based organization remains a compelling one.


NOTES
1.
The best-known of these intermediate forms, of course, are the keiretsu. In the past several years alone, at least five book-length studies of enterprise groupings have been published in English: Fruin ( 1992), Gerlach ( 1992), Nishiguchi ( 1994), Sako ( 1992), and Smitka ( 1991).
2.
One of the common concerns among managers (and one which in my experience is especially common among Americans) is that their firms risk giving up control over strategic assets when they develop those assets through collaborative ventures.
3.
Other writers have referred to these segregated operations as subsidiaries. I have chosen the term satellite to imply the frontier character of many of these ventures and the possibility that with growth, they would become substantial, semi-autonomous entities in their own right. These growth processes differentiate satellite enterprises from subsidiaries in their more usual connotation (e.g., foreign branches within a company's distribution channel).
4.
Although Furukawa did not develop on its own into a broader zaibatsu, it did consolidate important ties that it had maintained since the 1800s with the DaiIchi Bank and its affiliates during the postwar period to create the core of what is now the DKB group.
5.
This is not to say that mergers and acquisitions are never used by these firms, for they are. But it is to say that their distinctive significance comes in the ways in which their growth through satellite formation has dominated new venture creation in Japan.

-271-

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Beyond the Firm: Business Groups in International and Historical Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Contributors ix
  • List of Figures xi
  • List of Tables xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The History and Structure of Business Groups in Japan 5
  • Part I - The Corporate Complex 29
  • 2 - Diversification Process and the Ownership Structure of Samsung Chaebol 31
  • Introduction 31
  • Notes 55
  • 3 - From Zaibatsu to Corporate Complexes 59
  • Introduction 59
  • Conclusion 85
  • References 86
  • 4 - Structure and Strategy of Belgian Business Groups (1920-1990) 88
  • Conclusion 104
  • References 105
  • Part II - The Corporate Group 107
  • 5 - Growth Via Politics: Business Groups Italian-Style 109
  • Introduction 109
  • Notes 132
  • References 133
  • 6 - Business Groups in the German Electrical Industry 135
  • 7 - A Path to the Corporate Group in Japan: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Its Group Formation 167
  • Introduction 167
  • Conclusion 181
  • Notes 182
  • Bibliography 182
  • Part III - Assembler-Supplier Relations 185
  • 8 'Japanese-Style' Supplier Relationships in the American Auto Industry, 1895-1920 187
  • Conclusion - Japanese-Style' Supplier Relations? 208
  • References 213
  • 9 - The Subcontracting System and Business Groups: the Case of the Japanese Automotive Industry 215
  • Conclusion 239
  • Notes 240
  • References 241
  • Part IV - Japanese Business Groups 243
  • 10 - The Organizational Logic of Business Groups: Evidence from the Zaibatsu 245
  • Conclusion 270
  • Notes 271
  • References 272
  • 11 - Learning to Work Together: Adaptation and the Japanese Firm 274
  • References 288
  • Afterword 291
  • Notes 295
  • Index 297
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