The industrial organisation of Japanese industry in keiretsu-type of supply networks has long been considered a phenomenon attributable to cultural factors, as something uniquely “Japanese”. This paper challenges this view, both theoretically and empirically, Theoretically, the paper draws on the field of operations management, first by making the comparison with “lean production” and secondly by providing alternative explanations for the specific structure of Japanese supply networks such as modularity of product architecture, industry clockspeed and industry maturity. Empirically, the paper provides illustrative case examples of very different supply network structures in different Japanese industries, varying from clockspeed aerospace via medium to high clockspeed electronics and telecom, which show how industry settings, and not culture, determine supply network structure and dynamics.
|Journal||Japan Studies Association Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|