The Role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
Edited by Charles Harvie and Boon-Chye Lee
Chapter 5: On the Evolution of Firm Organization, SMEs and Economic Growth in the USA and Japan
5. On the evolution of ﬁrm organization, SMEs and economic growth in the USA and Japan Elias Sanidas 5.1 INTRODUCTION The evolution of the organization of ﬁrms throughout history has only recently been extensively analysed. This evolution, especially in countries like the USA and Japan, is important to know and understand for many reasons, and in particular for its contribution to economic growth. This contribution is broadly the main theme of this chapter. However, there are generally two types of ﬁrms to explore, the large ones and the not so large. Thus, the total number of ﬁrms in a national economy includes the large enterprises (LEs), very often vertically integrated and multi-divisional, the medium-sized and the small ﬁrms (the latter two are often named SMEs). Researchers such as Chandler (for example 1977, 1986, 1990) and Schumpeter (for example 1950) have extensively analysed the positive role that LEs have historically played in the economic growth of nations like the USA and Germany, and of industries like oil and chemicals. More recently, considerable interest has been shown in the role that SMEs have been playing in shaping national economies.1 This renewed interest is mainly due to the fact that in many countries, from the 1980s onwards, small ﬁrms have been playing an increasingly important role in economic growth.2 In this chapter, an attempt will be made to synthesize the importance of all types of ﬁrms, under the umbrella of the total number of ﬁrms in an economy, in explaining diﬀerences in...
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