Student Review: Case Studies in Japanese Management

May 24, 2012

Editors: Parissa Haghirian and Philippe Gagnon

Edition: First

Publisher: World Scientific

Pages: 316

Price: £41.00

ISBN: 9789814340878

To date, there are few English-language books that provide a detailed exploration of the philosophies underlying Japanese management. This book seeks to address that lack by exploring the ways that Japanese corporate strategy differs from Western management principles. The introductory chapter argues that we can learn from these strategies, as they are widely considered to have brought about Japan's "miracle" economic recovery in the post-Second World War era. This has led to the country becoming the third-biggest economy in the world, behind the US and now China.

Each chapter is written by a different author, and generally takes the form of a detailed case study of a specific organisation. Some chapters explore successful and world-renowned Japanese firms, such as Sony and Toyota. Others consider the cases of businesses that have attempted to break into the Japanese market, including Walmart, which made an unsuccessful attempt to do so, although its venture into the UK with Asda turned out well. As the text notes, a failure to consider the distinct culture of Japan meant that Walmart's entry into the market was fatally handicapped.

The importance of cultural sensitivity is a major theme in the book. Even if you have no prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese culture, this will not detract from your enjoyment of the book, as elements of this complex culture are introduced gradually. The authors explain everything from the otaku (obsessive fan) subculture and its impact on the video and computer game industry, to the keiretsu concept of business ownership. Those studying marketing or public relations will also find the book useful, with some case studies focusing on crisis management and on how brands are affected by the way these situations are handled.

The lack of convoluted language makes the book more enjoyable than many other academic texts. However, that does not make it any less insightful or thought-provoking. In fact, this book is an essential read for anyone considering a career in international business. Factors such as technological change have allowed businesses to trade across borders on an unprecedented scale, and breaking into lucrative Asian markets represents an ideal opportunity for businesses.

Who is it for? Students hoping to learn about international business and culture.

Presentation: Each section is broken down with clear subheadings, making for easier reading.

Would you recommend it? Yes, as it has broad appeal. It explores a wide range of industries including retail, automobiles and computer games.

Highly recommended

Business: The Ultimate Resource

Editor: Jonathan Law Edition Third Publisher A&C Black/Bloomsbury

Pages: 1,632

Price: £45.00

ISBN: 9781408128114

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