Issues for Japanese Firms from Metanational Management Perspective

Author Name ASAKAWA Kazuhiro  (Faculty Fellow, RIETI / Professor, Graduate School of Business Administration, Keio University)
Creation Date/NO. April 2006 06-J-030
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In practice the "metanational model" - whereby firms explore, acquire and leverage new sources of innovation worldwide to build up competitive advantages on a global scale rather than being complacent with strategies solely depending on the advantages of the home country - has only been implemented to date by a handful of leading firms. The adoption of the metanational model is especially difficult for Japanese firms, with their strong home-country orientation. In recent years, however, metanational developments have been emerging here and there in the R&D activities of Japanese firms, the very area which appears at first glance to be the most ethnocentric.

This paper focuses on some of the leading trials in such global R&D management to seek out the key to the success in adopting the metanational approach, and examines the issues for promoting global innovation that remain deeply rooted at many Japanese firms. The paper clarifies three issues, namely the challenges of overcoming excessive focus on the home market, excessive insistence on acting alone (rather than through business alliances) and excessive emphasis on industrialized nations, and presents some suggestions for global innovation in Japan.