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Conflict and Change
Foreign Ownership and the Japanese Firm


  • Date Published: August 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521189880

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About the Authors
  • What happens to the traditional work practices of Japanese firms when they are taken over by European and American firms? How do the employees react? What lessons can be learned from examples of successful and unsuccessful acquisitions? Formerly, such questions would never have been asked, simply because the incidence of take-overs of Japanese firms by foreign companies was virtually non-existent. However, in past years, a number of major Japanese companies have come under the control of foreign firms. Conflict and Change focuses on five Japanese companies acquired by foreign firms (including Nissan, Chugai Pharmaceutical and Shinsei Bank) to show how take-overs by foreign companies have changed HR and organisational practices traditionally associated with Japanese firms. This provides invaluable information for researchers and managers about the choices and challenges associated with cross-border acquisitions of firms that are embedded in 'institutionally distant' frameworks.

    • Was the first book-length treatment of the challenges associated with take-overs of Japanese firms by foreign companies
    • Includes case studies of important Japanese firms such as Nissan, Chugai Pharmaceutical and Shinsei Bank
    • Contains extensive interviews with management and employees of case companies giving insights into the objectives of shareholders and the reaction of employees to organisational change
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a truly fascinating and thoroughly readable analysis of the challenges that beset modern Japanese corporations as they try to adapt to a globalisation … In short, this book is truly a fascinating read, not just for any business manager or academic with an interest in Japan - but for anyone wanting to understand the practical challenges and opportunities created by globalisation. It should be of interest to a wide business audience, as a readable analysis of how modern Japanese companies 'really' work.' Gillian Tett, The Financial Times

    'Conflict and Change is a fascinating and insightful account of how foreign capital is changing Japanese management practices. It is also one of the best books I know of on Japanese management in general …' Christina L. Ahmadjian, Professor and Associate Dean, Hitotsubashi University

    '… George Olcott has produced a book that goes to the heart of the debates about business cultures vs. monetary incentives. Sociologists should read it too for the wise things it says about processes of institutionalisation and de-institutionalisation.' Professor Ronald Dore, London School of Economics and Political Science

    '… this book is a must-read for researchers, managers and anyone interested in Japan. … The vital insight into the options and challenges that present themselves when there are cross-border and cross-cultural M&As in this increasingly globalised country cannot but fascinate a wide readership.' BCCJ Acumen: The Magazine of British Commerce in Japan

    '… a detailed study not only of how foreign management is imposing shareholder-oriented practices, but also the impact on the Japanese 'community firm' and its recruitment, training, employment and reward systems. … Few are better qualified than Olcott to undertake such a study. … foreign executives considering investing in Japan would do well to heed Olcott's conclusions …' The Japan Times

    'For practitioners and managers actively working in the acquisition of Japanese firms, [this] book offers an insightful and honest guide that should be of considerably more value than the standard fare seeking to explain Japanese business practices. For scholars working in the field of Japanese business studies, [it] is an empirical treasure trove of insight and offers a much-needed addition to the classics of our field; I know I will be citing it alongside Dore, Cole and the rest.' Social Science Japan Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521189880
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of tables
    1. Japanese institutions: are they different?
    2. The study: overview and methodology
    3. Entering the firm: recruitment and training
    4. Lifetime employment and career patterns
    5. Reward systems
    6. Female employees
    7. Organisation and decision-making process
    8. Discussion and conclusion

  • Author

    George Olcott, Judge Business School, Cambridge

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