Hi-flyers make most of import

Asian Business and Management

April 23, 2004

Interest in Asian management started with the Japanese postwar manufacturing revolution. The world has been enthralled ever since as the region's techniques have been successfully adapted and transferred around the globe, particularly in other Asian countries that have then shown unprecedented rates of development and have spawned their own sub-systems of Asian management practice. However, there is a problem in defining exactly what Asian management is, as many of the techniques evolved from western ideas and can be considered adaptations of imported thinking.

Asian Business and Management enters an already crowded management journal marketplace. It aims to capitalise on the interest in Asian management techniques in manufacturing, a topic that has received relatively little academic treatment. The journal is not about Asia for Asians but is a global forum for a global audience with a regional perspective.

The journal has a wide cultural mix of contributors, starting with Ronald Dore, the doyen of commentators on Japanese management techniques. Will the initial flurry of old hands providing support for a new cause eventually migrate back to older, higher-profile journals when they have a significant publication, or will this journal become a breeding ground for original comment on Asian management? The editors must hope that its association with several Asian management associations can carry the day.

To date, the journal has focused on practice in Asia or Asian companies. Many articles comment on the adaptation and implementation of Asian management techniques (mainly Japanese) in other Asian countries. Although this subject matter provides enough material to fill a journal, it could result in moretheoretical articles on management techniques being published elsewhere. But the articles are of high quality, without breaking any new ground, and if the journal continues in the same vein it will provide a central core of information on Asian management activities.

In his introductory statement, editor Harukiyo Hasegawa focuses on industrial management. But in recent articles there seems to have been a shift, with articles on, for example, "Measuring the contribution of services to Japanese growth" and "Dependence of public banking on consultant for risk management in India". To retain a regular readership and gain a reputation for carrying original material, the journal must rein in the tendency to stray from its original focus. Otherwise, Asian Business and Management risks becoming a second-choice platform for articles with an Asian flavour.

The arrival of any new journal tends to provoke confused reactions, ranging from an interest in what a new focus may bring to a sigh about information overload. With its worthwhile, but not groundbreaking content, this journal does not appear to target a specific audience, and I suspect that it will struggle to develop a large readership unless it can convince a few key authors in the field to publish some important findings.

In its present form, it provides a good opportunity for Asia-based academics requiring international attention, and a source for those who want to upgrade their level of background information on Asian management. I would suggest a series of special editions focusing on particular topics identified with Asian management to raise the profile and to put this journal into the must-read category.

Paul Brunet manages a group of manufacturing companies in Southeast Asia and is a part-time research fellow in operations management at the Said Business School in Oxford, specialising in Kaizen and Japanese management.

Asian Business and Management

Editor - Harukiyo Hasegawa
Publisher - Palgrave Macmillan quarterly
Price - Institutions £0.00 Individuals £60.00
ISSN - 1472 4782

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