This study examines the formation of feelings of serendipity in buying behavior. In particular, based on the perspectives of previous research in information science and interpretative consumer research, this study proposes that feelings of serendipity are formed under the influence of an unexpected meaning creation process that comprises three elements, namely, (1) encounter with a product; (2) connection between the product’s cultural meanings and self; and (3) formation of a positive outlook in life based on the consumer’s life project. This model is demonstrated through two illustrative cases of purchasing. This model suggests that understanding consumers’ life projects enables marketers to strategically design encounters with products to facilitate feelings of serendipity.
In community-based marketing, the new marketing framework presented in this study is as follows: (i) in term of the creation of value, it views a product from the perspective of solving the life issues of the customer base by including augmented products; and (ii) in terms of communication and delivery of value, a company forms a community with customers who are interested in and empathize with the value that the company creates and who can be constantly connected through social media services, apps, and other digital means. There, interactions among customers are born and new value is created. It is managed by proactively collaborating with other companies toward creating innovative values. We believe that this framework accurately describes the ongoing marketing activities of companies.
This study examines how the performance of startups during the time period up to their initial public offering (IPO) is affected by the macro environment, a topic that has not been given much consideration to date. Taking the end of 2012 (the beginning of Abenomics), when Japan’s economic environment shifted to a hot market, as the transition point, we analyzed companies that did IPOs in terms of such variables as the target market, the attributes of the companies in the sample (type of entrepreneurship), and the date of their actual establishment. We found that for those companies operating in an economically favorable environment, the average time period from startup to IPO was relatively long. This could be because an economically favorable environment and improved business conditions spurred startups that had been implementing a wait-and-see attitude. We have some reservations about using “time to IPO” naively as a performance indicator, and caution should be exercised when using it.
In solar cell manufacturing from the late 2000s to the early 2010s, the turnover for top manufacturers implied that it was only a matter of years before they went out of business. In general, many tend to believe that top manufacturers went bankrupt because of the bubble and burst caused by policies intended to promote and control the PV industry in various countries; however, considering that solar cells can be sold in any country worldwide and the global market for solar cells continues to expand, the ups and downs of solar cell manufacturers cannot be explained by the bubbles and bursts of individual countries alone. In fact, (i) while the turn-key solutions of Western manufacturing companies facilitated market entry, in China, people witnessed successful companies and imitated them to start their own businesses. Many of these companies launched and entered the market one after another in a short time span, thereby causing companies in other countries to go bankrupt due to low prices. However, (ii) even these Chinese firms have been experiencing a decline in capacity utilization amid a chronic oversupply caused by vigorous entrepreneurship, and top manufacturers have collapsed due to minor setbacks that later proved catastrophic.
The number of gas stations (GS) in Japan has halved in the last quarter-century, as price competition has made selling gasoline unprofitable. Further, the Japanese government has formulated a policy to end the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035. Under these circumstances, Yamahiro, a GS company, (A) according to non-oil services, divided its GSs into three groups, namely, car inspection/testing, car washing/coating, and car rental, and further increased the specialization of each station by focusing on the services it offers; (B) not reduced the number of employees at the station despite operating self-service GSs and introduced the vehicle identification system and vehicle information management system to improve the profitability of its non-oil services by linking these systems; (C) utilized the vehicle data to create synergies between the car-rental business and used car sales business; and (D) increased the number of GSs by taking over unprofitable stations from wholesale dealers of oil products and retraining their entire workforces. As a result, the company expanded its business in Tokyo area, presently earning 40% of its profits from non-oil services, and won the Japan Quality Award (JQA).
The isomorphic mechanisms of organizations are known to consist of institutional isomorphism (coercive isomorphism, mimetic isomorphism, and normative isomorphism) and competitive isomorphism. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) put pressure on the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) over the issue of keeping wild dolphins in captivity and even suggested its expulsion, resulting in a form of coercive isomorphism. At that time, JAZA adopted measures such as stricter group rules and membership criteria, which led to competitive isomorphism within JAZA, as many aquariums that did not agree with JAZA’s position left the association. As a result, the Japan Aquarium Association (JAA) was born as an association of aquariums, formed by aquariums, for aquariums. In other words, institutional isomorphism at the level of associations was accompanied by competitive isomorphism, and the adaptation of organizations to the institutional environment and their subsequent selection of association occurred simultaneously.
This paper is a study of the entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) formed by Japanese startup clustering around the University of Tokyo’s Hongo Campus. A chronological analysis of 234 startups clustering around the university showed that the EE started to evolve in 2004 with a university-led incubator, and that non-incubator startups began increasing in around 2014, growing into an entrepreneur-led EE beyond the control of the university.
In recent years, there have been many efforts in technology development, supply chain management, and digital transformation aimed at total optimization. This paper analyzes the context in which the terms total optimization and partial optimization have been used in Japanese companies, based on the frequency of their mentions and their trends in newspaper articles. The issue of total optimization has been covered by newspapers since the late 1980s and has been discussed for many years along with its solutions such as supply chain management (SCM), business process reengineering (BPR), and information and communication technology (ICT). The fact that the total optimization issue has continued to attract attention suggests that formal organization has not yet been established. While there has been a focus on promoting communication such as cross functional collaboration and integration, and the introduction and utilization of information technology, there has not yet been enough focus on what optimization is for in the first place, and the establishment requirements for formal organization still have not been sufficiently fulfilled.
In the early 20th century, when Spanish flu and tuberculosis were prevalent, laborers in the Japanese textile industry worked long hours in poor conditions, and the risk of contracting an infectious disease was high. In such a situation, forward-thinking companies set up hospitals as a voluntary measure for dealing with infectious disease, provided free medical care and assistance payments in the event of illness, improved company dormitories, and introduced other measures for safeguarding workers’ welfare such as upgrading factories and offering educational programs. These programs influenced other companies and resulted in improvements in the working conditions at a number of firms, indicating that these countermeasures against infectious diseases were economically rational. This in turn implies that it is economically rational to upgrade sanitation and workers’ welfare in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The trend toward modularization, which has been evident in electronic products since the 1990s, is usually seen as a form of architectural innovation. However, the relationship between technology and the customer/market has been characterized by disruptive innovation wherein 1) the level of technology and the value of the product have been downgraded, and consequently, 2) conventional legitimacy has become invalid. Accordingly, although the current leading Japanese companies have not been negligent in their innovation, they have lost their share of the market to new products born from modularization, which had initially been thought of like toys.
The concept of a hacker originated in the 1970s, and began to gradually take shape in the 1980s. It began to be discussed actively in various contexts, particularly in relation with the rise of open-source operating systems such as GNU and Linux in the 1990s until the early 2000s. Subsequently, as the times changed, the qualities that were demanded of reputable programmers changed in a major way. Originally, the programmers' capabilities in terms of writing code were most important, while their sociability was less emphasized. However, as computers became more common among the general public, and their social impact increased, hackers were required to be more socially amenable in various ways. Therefore, a large number of open-source projects introduced codes of conduct.
This paper investigated how design thinking is researched in management studies. A review of articles published in major business management journals found commonalities in that (a) while design thinking consists of several studies and includes various elements, (b) the most recent empirical research has in common that based on Brown (2009) and Martin (2009), along with practices and tools, the themes of user centeredness and experimentation are discussed.
Video games require the integration of elements such as world building, scenario, graphics, and music (Ikuine, 2000). In a video game product development project, the personnel who design and coordinate each element need to have an overall understanding of the product components. In the Japanese video game industry of 20 or more years, new employees were able to participate in the design and coordination of each element of the product as soon as they joined the company and acquired an overall understanding of product components. However, due to the recent increase in the size of development projects, the tasks assigned to new employees have become more segmentalized and modular, resulting in it becoming difficult for them to acquire an overall understanding of product components. Cyber Connect2, a Japanese video game development company, is trying to solve this problem by launching small experimental video game development projects and assigning young employees to work on them.
Rosenkopf and Nerkar (2001) examined the relationship between patents with a boundary-spanning exploration of organizations and technological domains and their impact on subsequent technological evolution, using patent data for optical disks as the technological domain. However, the results of their analysis will be affected by the size of the technological domain itself. Therefore, this study analyzes and compares (a) vector control technology for electric motors and (b) the larger technology domain that includes (a). The results indicate that in the case of (a), vector control technology, even when a boundary-spanning exploration is conducted, there is some outside impact, but no domain impact. By comparison, in the larger technology area (b), there was some domain impact, but less outside impact. In other words, the hypotheses were partially supported for vector control technology in electric motors; however, the wider the technological domain, the stronger the domain impact and the weaker the outside impact tended to be, and the impact is dependent on the granularity with which the technology field is defined.
Previous research has demonstrated that different ways of interpreting the same stimulus can result in significantly different behaviors of and outcomes for the interpreters. This paper analyzes how employees interpret their workplaces from the perspective of the concept of “ambidexterity,” which is a part of the organizational learning theory. An analysis of the questionnaire survey data collected from 1,650 white-collar full-time employees in the Tokyo metropolitan region of Japan indicated that (a) there was a significant positive correlation between exploitation and exploration; (b) contrary to previous perceptions, no trade-off relationship was observed between the two, and (c) the “ambidexterity” group—which exhibited high levels of exploitation and exploration—tended to interpret the office as a place for “communication,” while the “neither” group—which exhibited a low levels of both these variables—tended to view the office as a place for “concentration.”
This study examines the definition of shared leadership and how to measure it. Research so far defines shared leadership as possessing some basic common characteristics. However, the aggregation approach and the social network approach, which have different characteristics, coexist in terms of measurement methods. The former combines various existing leadership concepts and emphasizes the “leadership” part. The latter looks at how leadership is being shared; thus, the emphasis is on the “shared” part.
The results of prior research on the impact of top management team (TMT) diversity on corporate performance have been varied and inconsistent. In this study, the operational definitions of TMT and diversity were checked in academic papers published between 2005 and 2020 on TMT diversity. The results confirmed three patterns for the operational definition of TMT: (a) extracted by title rank, (b) selected by CEO or equivalent top manager, and (c) executives announced in the company's public information/database. As for diversity, in addition to the studies that use conventional indices that express the various attributes of executives, it was confirmed that there exist many studies that consider diversity from the aspects of separation and disparity. Such “diversity” in the operational definition is considered the cause of the lack of consistency between TMT diversity and corporate performance.
In recent years, we have been observing a rise in cases of continuous development projects. However, if we try to improve development productivity using the data and development knowhow that we have accumulated, it then becomes difficult to use this to expand product functions. In fact, a “development productivity dilemma” actually exists, in which it is difficult for each product to have both improved development productivity and expanded product functions. In the case discussed in this paper, however, the company sacrifices development productivity to expand the product functions of a particular product and then applies this to streamlining and simplifying subsequent products. In other words, the development productivity dilemma was overcome by managing the flow of a series of new products.
The survey of Chinese employees working for Japanese companies and graduating from universities in China revealed that factors such as intercultural gap, Japanese ability, and workplace human relations have limited correlation with the 4-faceted motivation scores. The existence of career perspectives did however appear to relate to motivation scores including learning. The reason for low motivation scores of Chinese employees derived from the fact that they had limited opportunities for participating in job fairs during their job search, or communicating with senior employees. Due to the absence of a career perspective, employees were dissatisfied with their day-to-day work after joining the companies.
Interdepartmental collaboration is considered to be critical to innovation and efficiency. This paper differentiated industrial design (ID) and engineering design (ED), which differ in their nature and are handled by different departments, and reviews in the literature on the impact that interdepartmental collaboration among industrial designers and other areas involved in product development has on innovation and efficiency. We found that: (1) regarding innovation, interdepartmental collaboration has a positive effect on design innovation, and CE type interdepartmental collaboration has a positive effect on technology innovation. (2) Regarding efficiency, we found that the effect on the efficiency of the product development process was not consistent, and production efficiency was not looked into in prior research.