While“ historical background research” of management and organizational phenomena and“ historical narration research,” focusing on the past explicitly constructed and told by actors, have been the crucial streams in the “historic turn” in management and organizational studies, the latter has become the apparent mainstream in recent years. Based on this recognition of the situation, this paper identifies four promising paths forward, and thus, contributes to the fields. The first is the“ embedded uses of the past,” which explicitly introduces the effects of an era into historical narration research. The second is the “changes in uses of the past,” which brings the impact of time into historical narration research. The third is the“ event elucidation,” which returns to historical background research and emphasizes the effects of an era. The last is the“ dynamism explanation,” which highlights the impact of time in historical background research.
Previous studies have not thoroughly examined the measures managers have taken to avoid conflicts with actors who have supported the past rhetorical history in transitioning from the old to the new rhetorical account in an organization. This paper examines the history of Sony's practice of rhetorical history as a case study. This case study shows that “historical distancing,” the management's action of not intervening in the rhetorical history developed in the past, is essential to avoid conflicts.
The last decades have witnessed an increasing interest in the hierarchy of corporate domain or its temporal development and change factors in the field of strategic management in Japan. This paper examines the influence, as historical forces, of rhetorical path dependence on the definition process of a corporate domain by present top management, focusing on the inherited domain from past top managers. The empirical focus of the paper is Westinghouse Electric. This second-largest U.S. electrical enterprise has been transformed from an electrical to a media conglomerate from its birth in 1886 to its demise in 2000. The historical case study shows the past rhetoric of the domain, particularly the founder’s rhetoric, narrowing the scope of strategic perception over time. The paper also indicates the necessity of conducting history-informed strategy research to examine historical forces in the process of crafting corporate strategy.
Organizational facades are symbolic fronts made by organizational members to assure their stakeholders of the legitimacy of the organizations, which are intentionally decoupled from their substantive actions. This in-depth historical case study of the first restructuring plan of the Japanese National Railways in the late 1960s investigates intraorganizational dynamics triggered by the overestimated demand forecast of its freight railway business in the plan. It reveals how the forecast affected its substantive action through increased paperwork for non-substantive matters, the distorted substantive discussion between upper managers, and the misunderstanding of upper managers' strategic intention by lower managers.
The literature on radical organizational changes, represented by Plowman et al. (2007), indicates that it is attributable to continuous emergent change processes occurring unintentionally. However, previous studies have not examined the possibility that such processes can occur through solid leadership with a clear intention. This article uses empirical data to verify a team’s “boundary spanner” function resulting from transformational leadership (TFL), which leads to a continuous emergent change process. The mechanism is as follows: Aiming to realize a public-private partnership, a newly-founded team gradually assumes the function of a“ boundary spanner” through the above-mentioned leadership, and initiates the emergence of a continuous change process. The results verify this mechanism. Furthermore, the article establishes that TFL could negatively influence the mechanism if it fully commits to it.
As shown in the AUTM’s lifecycle model, technology transfer from universities to the private sector is one major pathway to commercializing scientific discoveries. However, few empirical studies have analyzed the relationship between the characteristics of a technology transfer process and commercializing performance. Considering technology transfer as a management phenomenon, this is a significant gap to be filled.
Using micro-level data from 39 technology transfer projects, we analyzed the causal conditions that made new products based on university-originated inventions launched to the market. In addition, a crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis (csQCA) focused on the range of value chains and the valueadding activities of licensing associates belonging to the Japanese technology transfer offices (TTOs). This analysis reveals that the combination of elaborate pre-marketing before a patent application and boundary spanning on product development stage is the key enabler of technology commercialization in Japan.
Our findings suggest that a technology transfer model suited to the Japanese context is different from what is commonly expected in the United States, often referred to as a “marketing model.” Therefore, we name the new model“ hands-on model.” Furthermore, a unique approach is required because of the differences in the national innovation ecosystems between these countries.