Journal of International Business
Online ISSN : 2189-5694
Print ISSN : 1883-5074
ISSN-L : 1883-5074
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FOREWORD
SPECIAL TOPICS ARTICLES
  • Yujie JIANG
    2018 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 1-18
    Published: 2018
    Released: October 12, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This paper looks at the main characteristics of the secondary and tertiary industry of China in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, aims to present the different strategies taken to cope with changes and challenges, tries to summarize the results including its influences to the international business development. We found that China's secondary industry, however large in size, is faced with feeble quality in development, trying to make a manufacturing power by Sino-German cooperation. And service sectors of the tertiary industry in China are plagued by the weaker “productive service sectors”, trying to optimize the structure of service industry by network-platform-based business ecosystem. In addition, we also found some emerging Chinese enterprises enter foreign markets in “Compressed” progressive way, or leap with “Zero or poor experience” way. These challenges and coping strategies are significantly facilitating China's economic boom, while brings about a strong influence on international standardized synergy and also requires a further research on networkplatform-based business ecosystem on the ways of global expansion of Chinese enterprises.

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ARTICLES
  • Ken-ichi ANDO
    2018 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 19-37
    Published: 2018
    Released: October 12, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This paper investigates three questions concerning divestments of multinational enterprises (MNEs) using unique data collected from the Restructuring events database (RED) of Eurofound, an agency of the European Union. The first issue is to answer the question, ‘To what extent do divestments by MNEs impact jobs?’ Previous works, especially statistical empirical studies, intend to answer the question of why MNEs divest, but pay less attention to the above question. This paper makes clear that the impacts of divestment on jobs are quite different from one case to another, whilst MNEs conduct divestments from both host and home countries, which is missed in previous research. Second, this research answers the question, ‘Why do MNEs divest?’ through precise examination of the narrative information offered by the RED. There are three reasons for MNEs' exits. (1) Some MNEs did not fully prepare for the investment beforehand, and had to face operating difficulty. This is not caused by ‘liability of foreignness’, but can be called ‘liability of unpreparedness’. (2) Changes of competitive and demand conditions surrounding MNEs force some of them to consider exits. These can be called ‘extra-firm factors’. (3) MNEs actively respond to new environments, and divestments are a part of this process. These can be called ‘intra-firm factors’. The third main question of this paper is, ‘How are divestments embedded in the context of the whole restructuring process?’ To address this question, restructuring methods other than divestments are also examined. Furthermore, MNEs are classified into four groups according to the combination of active or inactive job reduction and job creation. Among the four types, four MNEs are active in both job reduction and job creation. The details of their restructuring processes, including job creation, suggests that MNEs do not only adjust their workforces along with the demand cycle, but also enter new business areas. Through the investigation, this paper contributes to our understanding of divestments by MNEs.

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  • Tomomi IMAGAWA
    2018 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 39-58
    Published: 2018
    Released: October 12, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This study examined why the Yakult's specific marketing method " Yakult lady system " is effective in developing the emerging markets. Yakult, a Japanese beverage maker, established a unique marketing method called Yakult lady system in Japan during 20's century, then it has utilized that system in emerging markets and has obtained stable market shares in more than ten emerging countries. Previous studies have revealed that the Yakult lady system is consistent to the philosophy of sustainable development, such as poverty alleviation and improving the social status of women, and there emerged several followers using this system such as Hindustan Lever and Grameen Danone, to realize social business for sustainable development. However, sufficient research has not been done on the reason why the Yakult lady system is effectively acquiring the markets of emerging countries. Because Yakult succeeded in more than a dozen emerging countries worldwide, it is natural to think that there exists a sort of competitive rational mechanism that meets the environments unique to emerging countries. Using the theoretical framework of institutional voids, this paper revealed that the Yakult lady system can effectively acquire the market because it works as a mean to fill in several institutional voids.

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  • Qi Yan
    2018 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 59-73
    Published: 2018
    Released: October 12, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    It is widely accepted that HRM can help firms improve organizational outcomes, which in turn leads to improve staff performance (Koch and McGrath, 1996). Indeed, claims about the impact of HRM on organizational outcomes are common in theoretical studies of HRM since the 1980s (e.g. Beer et al., 1984; Fombrun et al., 1984; Guest, 1997).

    With the development of HR theory and statistical software a number of empirical studies that have been conducted to test the relationship between HRM and firm performance in many countries and industries (e.g. Arthur, 1994; Huselid, 1995; Kaman et al., 2001; MacDuffie, 1995; Ngo et al., 1998; Stavrou and Brewster, 2005; Wright et al., 2005; Youndt et al., 1996; Takeuchi, 2005). However, most of the studies focused on big companies, there are only a few studies about SMEs, especially the SMEs in developing countries.

    This study tested the relationship of HRM-FP in 393 Chinese SMEs in Chaoyang, a city of Liaoning province. Firstly, regression analysis results support the conventional idea that HRM practices/system generate/generates better HRM outcomes and, in turn, better HRM outcomes contribute positively to FP. Secondly, it is found that the current HRM practices/system impact/impacts much stronger influence on HRM outcomes of the next three years rather than the HRM outcomes in the last three years. Thirdly, regression analysis results support that the HRM outcomes of the last three years are positively associated with FP in the next 3 years. Finally, it is found that HRM outcomes positively mediate the relationship between HRM system and FP.

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NOTES
  • Takashi HAYASHI
    2018 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 75-89
    Published: 2018
    Released: October 12, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    In the literature of international human resources, it has been widely discussed that Japanese firms are likely to be slower in their pace of localization of HRs (human resources), and this “too slow localization” (ethno-centrism) can cause various problems on the motivation as well as on the skill development of local HRs. In the recent literature, however, it has also been discussed that some problems might take place due to the “too fast localization” (geo-centrism), while some empirical studies have supported for this “mixed results,” where there is no clear relationship between “the pace of localization” of Japanese firms' foreign affiliates and “their individual performances”.

    Following these literatures, this study investigates the problem of “knowledge appropriation”, or the problem caused by the newly promoted local HRs to the positions of executives, which might be associated with “too fast localization”. In some cases of the author's interviews to Japanese firms' affiliates in Asia, the problem of “knowledge appropriation” was observed, where, after some local HRs had been promoted to the division head, they tried to appropriate their “context specific skill & knowledge,” or their managing capability of “gray areas” [ “not clearly assigned task areas” as discussed in Ishida (1994) ]. Whereas, in some other cases of the author's interviews, “the knowledge sharing” was observed, where, after some local HRs had been promoted, they became more willing to share their “context specific skill & knowledge” with their subordinates.

    Based on these findings, using “Gray areas engagement vs. Well-defined engagement model” framework, which is a modified version of “J vs. F-model” by Ishida (1994), both “knowledge appropriation” and “knowledge sharing” are stylized. Then, analyzing the three cases where the detailed information was available for the decision making on “knowledge appropriation vs. knowledge sharing”, the two explaining factors are pointed out, i.e., (1) “higher dependence on personal skill and knowledge” is likely to promote “knowledge appropriation,” whereas, (2) “higher prospects for growth” through cooperative efforts to develop “gray areas managing capability” is likely to promote “knowledge sharing”.

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  • Hiroshi NAKADA
    2018 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 91-103
    Published: 2018
    Released: October 12, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This study sets out to investigate a mechanism to coordinate its standardization and adaptation about value concerning products of global standards with knowledge of unspecified number of consumers on online. Because of the characteristics of consumer goods and higher complexity in their market, a company is in situation that it is indispensable to further growth while examining and analyzing how customer value is to be materialized in relation to sharing and management of knowledge embedded in individuals and online platforms, and how value creation is approached through that integrative framework.

    The study uses two examples that a standardized product will comprise some value proposals to gradually fit a variety of consumers in the world through their suggestion and evaluation among consumers, which is to simultaneously attain its standardization and adaptation about value.

    This submits a new viewpoint about exploration of value by collaboration of a company and consumers under globalization, and at the same time, with progress of the information and communication technology. And it is to cope with diversification of consumers'sense of value for products through materialization of individual customer experience.

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  • Toshio YAMAUCHI, Hirofumi TATSUMOTO
    2018 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 105-118
    Published: 2018
    Released: October 12, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This exploratory study aims to analyze how Japanese companies utilize two types of the mechanisms to control overseas operations and what their impacts on financial performance of overseas businesses are, based on the Internalization Theory. The two control mechanisms include “formal mechanism,” e.g. control by ownership, and “organizational mechanism,” e.g. control by shared values. While having increased foreign direct investment stocks, Japanese companies have produced a relatively low investment return. The more a company expands operation overseas, the more external factors it should manage in the more complex business environment. In that sense, organizational management can be linked with financial performance of overseas business.

    This study, covering 106 Japanese listed companies of machinery, electric machinery and precision machinery sectors, examines: to what extent they utilize a formal control mechanism, i.e. secure the majority of the shares in their group companies; what the characteristics of their top management they have on the assumption that those can influence organizational control mechanism; and how both of them relate with profitability and overseas sales growth.

    Our findings are: (1) almost all the companies have strengthened the control of their entire groups, but no obvious tendency could be found between taking-control activities and the profitability and overseas sales growth; (2) family businesses, defined as companies whose founder or founding family own and/or run businesses, achieved higher profitability and overseas sales growth than non-family businesses; (3) several non-family businesses can achieve higher profitability and overseas sales growth, while some family businesses underperform the averages.

    This study presents an approach and results of the analysis on factors for success of overseas businesses from the viewpoint of control mechanism. The future research will use more data sets, cover a wider range of industries, apply comparative case studies of high and lower performers and enhance research design so as to cover effects of shareholders' presence or diversity of the board on control mechanisms.

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