A Vision of the Firm and the Evolution of Japanese Computer and Communications Firms

Martin Fransman

in Visions of Innovation

Published in print May 1999 | ISBN: 9780198289357
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596261 | DOI:

Series: Japan Business and Economics Series

 A Vision of the Firm and the Evolution of Japanese Computer and Communications Firms

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A conceptualization (theory) of the firm is developed in order to analyse the evolution of the major Japanese computer and communications companies: Fujitsu, NEC, Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric, and Oki. Particular attention is paid to the paradox presented by these companies, which feature strongly in the world's top ten in terms of total sales but which, unlike Japanese consumer electronics and automobile companies, are dominant in very few markets outside Japan. According to this conceptualization, a firm may be analysed in terms of four closely related dimensions: competences––the firm's activities and knowledge––define what that firm knows and can do; organization determines how the firm's competences are coordinated and controlled in order to produce a competitive output; vision refers to the set of beliefs that guide the firm's leaders in deciding what the firm should be doing and where it should be going; and selection environment is the sum total of factors external to the firm (and to the population of firms) that determine whether the firm will prosper or not.

Keywords: activities; automobile companies; car companies; communications companies; companies; competence; computer companies; conceptualization of the firm; consumer electronics companies; firms; Fujitsu; Hitachi; Japan; knowledge; market competitiveness; Mitsubishi Electric; NEC; Oki; organization; selection environment; theory of the firm; Toshiba; vision

Chapter.  17666 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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