Archive for February, 2007

Beyond the TPM

February 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Toyota production management (TPM) has been the representative of Japanese management for years. Even the ideas of TPM have pervasively applied in non-automobiles industries, my personal experience and interesting informed me that there are more than TPM in Japanese management.

For example, the idea of knowledge creating theory comes up with some Japanese philosophical perspective and cases of product development cases in Japan, in spite of some arguments based on philosophies and organization studies in the Western context.

How those societal boundaries to enhance or limit the innovative capacity is also another interesting issue. For example, why there are no much fabless firms and venture capitals in Japan, compare with those in US or other countries. I also curious how and could the apprenticeship in Japan survive or sustain in today’s environment. If such an apprenticeship was the major backbone for fundemental manufacutring practices, if one can use the practice-based arguments to examine the current apprenticeship in Japan industries?

On the other hand, how Japanese firms to sustain their service delivery systems both in local and overseas markets are also interesting issue. Even some may attribute this kind of inquriy as the concerns of technology / knowledge transfer, I consider the design of context for enhancing better service is also critical that worth to further develop.

Some Japanese scholars call for the importance of manufacutring capcaity in Japan, how these manufacturing capacities be developed, maintained, enhanced should also interested and beyond the concerns of TPM.

While strict organizational norms may hinder or promote the individual creativity or breakthrough, those norms may also be the basis for Japanese management practices and worth to have a close examination either.

I believe there are more than TPM, that people can learn from Japan management practices.

Categories: Research


February 23, 2007 Leave a comment

This is new book Professor Nonaka coauthored with Mr. Akira Katsumi. Except lots of cases about product/service innovations in Japan, it also include the idea of phronesis in the final chapter.

Again, like many papers and books Professor Nonaka authored and/or co-authored with , lots of ideas learned from thoughts of Western philosophers. Except the ideas of Aristotle , this books also used arguments of Machiavelli and Heidegger.

It also has some discussion about “is management as science or art?” This management called for the refocus on the “art” side of management and encourage that people should use or insist their intuition and be creative for what they image, what they want, or what they observe from the first hand experience, rather than relying on those analysis work that away from the field.

In fact, different cases have their own contexts that those innovators and organizations they affiliated with. I am not that agree some works based on Machivilli’s thought could work in any other case. Therefore, this books is good for understanding various innovation cases in Japan, but may not proper to establish as an dogma that some rules would also work in elsewhere.

However, I am far more interesting about how the idea of phronesis and knowledge creating model could be understood by the non Japanese context and those small and middle firms. While some books call for the idea of OO WAY , such as HP Way, DNA of HONDA, Toyota, and others, how a small firm or even a start up to build its own WAY, and spread the phronesis of leaders into the lower levels could be another interesting agenda.

Basically, the idea of knowledge creating theory is a phenomenological basis work. It arguments mainly through different cases, mainly from Japanese big companies, along with the support from philosophies both from Japan and the Western society. Of course, one can find other studies used the idea of knowledge creating theory to do some empirical works.


野中郁次郎. 勝見明. 2007. イノベーションの作法―リーダーに学ぶ革新の人間学 .東京: 日本經濟新聞出版社

Categories: Books, Research

Book shelf

February 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Thank for the innovations of all those ICT technologies, now people can list book they have and those they want to have on the net.

My book shelf

Suddenly, I just found I may spend too much money on buying books.  🙂

Categories: Books, Life

Tenure track system

February 10, 2007 Leave a comment

Tenure track system is not a new trick for most higher education organizations and research institutions. However, it is just implemented in Japan recently.

In spite of those universities in Western countries, most universities in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan already have implemented this system earlier than those in Japan.

For example, assistant professor in Taiwan may need to be reviewed every three years or more, and may be tick out while he/she cannot pass the review in the maximum duration of their contract (usually it’s six year, depends on different universities).

I don’t have a comprehensive information about how the tenure track system works in Japan, however, it is surprised me that some of associates (equal to assistant professor in other countries) in Japan can survival without having any paper until the end of their contracts.

Of course, I believe it is not a general case but may happens on different individuals. Apparently this kind of situation could be amended by applying different incentives or regulations.

Another important issue along with implementing the tenure track system would be how to judge the quality of your works. While evaluating quality of papers basde on the journals indexed by SCI/SSCI and other indexing databases already has lots of critics in the worldwide academic communities, I am wondering whether Japan will have develop such as Japanese SCI/SSCI, just like China (CSSCI) and Taiwan (TSSCI) have done.

To develop such an indexing database, it always require those indexed journals using the peer reviewing system to review those submitted manuscripts. In this aspect, Japanese journals just implemented this double blinding review system a few year ago, while some of them may not have clear descriptions about that.

While hierarchy and authority of academic ranking remain dominate the practices of Japanese academic community, it may be expect that some junior/young scholars may be victims of these systems, I think this phenomena is what really matters for the development of tenure track system in Japan. I don’t know whether barriers of different academic clans could break or how long will it take or ease such pressures.

Apparently, I am not saying similar practices do not appear in other countries, but using Japan as the example. Personally, I do expect the academic community in Japan can have more systems compatible with other countries, because that mean a better integrate and confuse between both parties and e more fair standard to those hard work young / junior scholars.

Somehow, I am interestde about how those Japanese eared their doctoral degrees from non-Japanese countires accustomed Japanese system while they back from foreign countries. Obviously, before the implementation fo the tenure track system, some of them may enjoy Japanese system because they almost can wait to retire and have no burden about “perish or publish” once they can secure a position in the univesity. On the other hand, some may feel a little bit unfair or depress because of the hirerachy and authority of academic clans in the academic communities. In that sense, those junior/young scholars may even intentionally or unintentioanlly to do something favors those seniors without having their really helps.

Apparently, these kind of situations already imply lot of interesting issues for doing sociology of science / sciecne studies toward Japanese academic communities.

If the system only destroy the passion of young / junior scholars in donig academic research rather than inspiring them, the whole academic community cannot progress by becoming a series of virtual circules dominated by different clans.

Of course, personal choice should be also taken into account for exploring the reality of academic community.

Categories: Education, Research

Reading List on causal mechanisms

February 6, 2007 Leave a comment

George, A. L. & Bennett, A. 2005. Case studies and theory development in the social sciences. MA: The MIT Press.

Hage, J. & Meeker, B. F. 1988. Social causality. Boston: Unwin Hyman.

Mahoney, J. & Rueschemeyer, D. (Eds.). 2003. Comparative historical analysis in the social sciecnes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stinchcombe, A. L. 2005. The logic of social research. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Categories: Books, Research


February 6, 2007 Leave a comment

Czarniawska, B. & Hernes, T. (Eds.). 2005. Actor-network theory and organizing. Sweden: Liber & Copenhagen Business School Press

Grimm, C. M., Lee, H., & Smith, K. G. (Eds.) 2005. Strategy as action: Competitive dynamics and competitive advantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jarzabkowski, P. 2005. Strategy as practice: An activity-based approach. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Categories: Books, Research

While trust becomes a growing concern in the field.

February 6, 2007 Leave a comment

Trust become a critical issue in today’s management research, especially those concerned about partnerships between people and organizations.

Why do people trust one or another ? Just because their seniorities on age, experience? or because they really have something or do something worth to be trusted?

People and organizations need to build up their own reputation before gaining their trustworthiness toward others. However, reputation and seniority are just quite surface elements for establishing real trusted relationships, doing something one ever promised is far more important than just evaluating whether one is trustworthy or not by his/her reputation or seniority.

Unfortunately, at the first place we are all face an information asymmetry to trust or not trust someone/something we concern.

It’s a interesting issue that whether to identify, concrete, affirm a trustworthy relationship with people or your vendors.

The studies about trust cover the disciplines of psychology, organizational behavior, and even game theory could be used into consider for analysing how two or more guy should trust or not among each others.

Categories: Life, Research