The Dynamics of Interfirm Relationships
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The Dynamics of Interfirm Relationships

Markets and Organization in Japan

Yongdo Kim

The goal of this pathbreaking volume is to relativize the experience of Japanese industries in terms of both location and time, exploring its similarities and differences with other countries and its unique relationship with the “global standard” of company performance set by US firms. By examining the intertwining of the organizational and market principles in interfirm relationships, this book tries to overcome the weaknesses of existing studies by looking beyond organizational principles, overturning stereotypes, and covering a wide range of industries.
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Yongdo Kim


The characteristics of interfirm relationships in primary intermediate products industries of twentieth-century Japan are diverse even when they are considered consistently from the viewpoint of market and organizational principles. In addition, interfirm relationships have continued to change remarkably from one historical period to another. Nevertheless, steel, machine tool, IC and LCD materials industries have shared many commonalities. It is important to note that Japanese companies in all four of these industries have remained competitive and have managed to maintain their leading positions in the world market, regardless of the length of their individual histories. At the same time, three of the four industries – steel, machine tools and IC industries – share some commonalities. Compared with advanced West European countries and the US, Japan was a latecomer to these industries. However, Japan attained self-sufficiency within a certain period and even came to boast its international competitiveness.

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