Many studies cite Katz and Allen (1982) as a validation of Not-Invented-Here (NIH) syndrome. However, their “validation" is misled by 1) easily adopting a smoothing method on a scatter diagram with no clear trends, and 2) arbitrarily choosing the intercept on the y-axis. The greatest mystery is that Katz and Allen (1982) used NIH syndrome to refer to a decline in project performance caused by the length of the project members' tenure. In spite of the fact that NIH syndrome is normally considered to refer to “self-sufficiency", Katz and Allen (1982) had used it to refer to the decline in performance brought about by the length of service of project members. However, the real mystery is that many researchers continue to cite this as a study advocating self-sufficiency.
Empirical researches of new product developments began in earnest in the 1960s with the “grand approach. " These researches clarified general success factors through the comprehensive analysis of successful project profiles. In the 1970s, the “focus approach" came to fore where analysis focused on specific themes in product development. The latter half of the 1980s saw the focus shift to the “process approach" where the relationship between management of product development process and performance was analyzed in detail. These trends suggest that one characteristic of product development research is a mainstream shift toward the advent of new research approaches in approximate ten-year cycles.
This paper analyzes the formation process of production systems in order to identify the sources of Toyota's competitive strength (i.e., its long-term high-level performance). While previous studies have analyzed either the functions of the Toyota-style manufacturing system or the history of that system, there have been few research efforts that have integrated the two. The present paper explores both the functions and origins of the Toyota-style manufacturing system simultaneously. It also concludes that the source of Toyota's competitive strength can be explained in part by the “product architecture" perspective. The paper also shows that manufacturing contains three layers of organizational capability: manufacturing (monozukuri) capability, improvement (kaizen) capability, and evolutionary capability.
Levinthal and March (1993) are popularly supposed to have developed a concept "myopia of learning" to reveal negative aspects of organizational learning. However, myopia of learning is not a problem in itself. The myopia of learning means that organizations give precedence to exploitation over exploration. From a routine-based view of organizational learning, myopia of learning only becomes a problem when the mechanisms promoting exploitation take precedence over the mechanisms promoting exploration at all levels of the organization.
The author conducted in-depth field research to examine changes in a three-year period of kaizen activities in a Japanese factory in Thailand. This research showed that for kaizen activities to be effective, (a) commitment from top managers is required at first. Further, since favorable acceptance is important in the introduction/promotion period for kaizen activities, (b) promotion appropriate to the local culture is also required. In this case, managers made the kaizen activities seem “fun" during the first-year introduction period to fit in with Thai culture and the cheerfulness of the Thai people. From the second year on, the focus of the kaizen activities shifted to become more result-oriented. If cutting costs had been the focus from the first year, the activities would not have been favorably accepted and they may not have penetrated as far as they did. In other words, (c) progressive change is required for kaizen activities to be effective.
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