A History of Top Management in Japan: Managerial Enterprises by Hidemasa Morikawa

By Hidemasa Morikawa

This booklet analyzes the pinnacle administration of top jap businesses. Drawing at the paintings of Alfred Chandler, Morikawa demonstrates the adaptation among family-owned enterprises and professionally controlled firms.

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If the top manager makes a major mistake or becomes a source of conflict within the company through arbitrary management practices, he must be replaced. In such situations, a salaried manager is easier to replace than a member of the founder’s family (it is even more difficult when the top manager is the founder). These points do not suggest which of these two types of enterprise is superior; each company has different characteristics based on the environment within it and the personality and capabilities of its top manager.

Yet, the above scenarios do not spell certain gloom. Often the still-wet-behind-the-ears successors may be given effective family support, and such assistance usually increases the chances that the family enterprise can continue on the course of self-preservation, growth, and development. Despite this optimistic note, however, we should not forget that there’s a limit to the human resources within any family and the people capable of providing support may just not be there. Personal Management The shortage of human resources is not the only factor that limits the growth of a family enterprise.

Although the family line of the eldest son provided no sons or continuance, and the business in Naples ceased operations, the family’s spread of success was unprecedented; there is no other example of one ancestor begetting so many family branch businesses that became so successful and intertwined that they formed an international network for over 200 years, a network in which information was shared, knowledge exchanged, and capital employed. Since these enterprises were driven by the power of the family, they can be confidently regarded as one type of family enterprise.

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