Engineered in Japan: Japanese Technology-management Practices
Oxford University Press, 1995 - Science - 404 pages
Engineered in Japan presents a unique and comprehensive examination of technology management in the most successful Japanese companies: unique in that all chapters go beyond superficial descriptions of stylized practices to look in depth at particular issues, often contradicting or qualifying the conventional wisdom; comprehensive in that it covers the entire technology life cycle from basic R&D, to development engineering, to manufacturing processes, to learning from the Japanese.
Each chapter is based on original research by noted scholars in the field, and identifies technology management practices that have become a major source of competitive advantage for highly successful Japanese companies. Engineered in Japan documents the best practices from such companies as Toyota, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Nippondenso, and discusses how these technology management practices can be usefully adopted in other cultural contexts.
Going beyond past observations, the authors all delve below the surface of Japanese management approaches. They look more closely than has been done before at how particular methods are applied, and they identify some new practices that have not yet been highlighted in books on Japanese methods. Presenting recent data that contradict some conventional thinking about U.S.-Japanese differences, they look at old techniques from a new perspective.
"U.S. managers can perhaps learn more from the process of creation in Japan and the organizational structures that support innovation," say the editors in their introduction, "than from the particular approaches, tools, and technologies created." A running theme throughout the book is that Japanese managers and engineers tend to think in terms of systems, focusing not just on the parts but on the connections between them. Engineered in Japan is must reading for technology managers and engineers, along with anyone interested in Japanese business, engineering, and management.
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