Knowledge is a source of firm’s competitiveness and is created, diffused, and standardized within a company’s knowledge network. The knowledge network of Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan comprises multiple automotive plants, the Operation Management Consulting Division (OMCD), and the Global Production Center (GPC) as nodes on that network. Knowledge is created on a manufacturing plant floor and diffused between multiple automotive plants through a direct interacting network without standardization. The OMCD diffuses both standardized and unstandardized knowledge. The GPC’s important function is knowledge standardization. In conclusion, Toyota’s domestic knowledge network maintains a balance between the diversification and standardization of knowledge created on the production floor through a mix of nodes at various standardization levels.
Economics of corporate governance treats the ownership structure of shares as an independent variable. This follows the scheme by Berle and Means (1932) that asserts the fact that the broad dispersion of stock ownership promotes “management control” by managers. However, Chandler’s (1977) review of the cases of the telephone and railways at the time indicate that the arrow of cause and effect for the telephone is pointed in reverse, and the pursuit of a larger scale of capital by outstanding managers leads to a dispersion of stock ownership. In railways, management work was extremely complex, and management was left to managers since specialized skills and training were required. In other words, ownership structure was not an independent variable for the separation of ownership and control. In actuality, salaried managers acquired power in Japan’s zaibatsu, which had no dispersion of ownership, at the time.
Two dealers of Harley-Davidson Japan who are remarkably different in terms of sales performance were selected and analyzed for a case study. It was found that these dealers were very different in their management of customer-to-customer (C2C) interactions. The high-performing dealer put into practice the following aspects, which were not seen with respect to the low-performing dealer: (i) creating groups of customers in their customer community according to “new owner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” groups; and (ii) sponsoring original events for each group. The customer vehicle replacement rate and sales performance rose not only for C2C interactions within groups for activities (i) and (ii) but also for C2C interactions between groups.
Companies that develop products with IC (Integrated Circuit) chipsets use toolkits provided by semiconductor suppliers to implement their own series of trial-and-error experiments ranging from concept creation to problem-solving in product developments. According to von Hippel (2001), toolkits have the following elements: (a) learning by doing via trial-and-error, (b) module libraries, (c) solution space, (d) user-friendly, and (e) translating user designs for production. This study defines (b) and (c) as the scope of support for toolkits and compares this scope for Android smartphone manufacturers (Samsung, Huawei, Vivo, and OPPO), which were provided by semiconductor suppliers (Qualcomm and Mediatek) in the 2010s. As a result, this study found that the scope of support of Mediatek’s toolkit is broader than Qualcomm’s. Compared to Samsung, Huawei, Vivo, and OPPO tended to adopt Mediatek’s toolkit to benefit from the broader scope of support in their Android smartphone developments.