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Suggested Citation:"NOTES AND REFERENCES." National Research Council. 1999. New Strategies for New Challenges: Corporate Innovation in the United States and Japan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5823.
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"NOTES AND REFERENCES." National Research Council. 1999. New Strategies for New Challenges: Corporate Innovation in the United States and Japan. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5823.
Page 13

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NOTES AND REFERENCES 12 diversified businesses. SEI is more diversified than it might be if it followed a technology strategy based on core technical competencies. Even though it says it is in the cable business, it has grown by branching into nuclear fuels, super hard metals, compound semiconductors, automotive brakes, and electronic systems. The common denominators for these fields are materials science and engineering.10 Human Resources Utilization and Development Many differences between Japanese and U.S. corporate organization cluster around human resource development and the careers of researchers: • Japanese corporations hire relatively few Ph.D. holders, considering them to be over-specialized and lacking commitment to corporate business goals. American corporations have been more willing to trade off these drawbacks for the Ph.D. holders' greater capacity to do independent and creative research. These disparities reflect U.S.-Japan differences in graduate science and engineering education as well as in corporate human resource practices. • Many Japanese corporations move R&D personnel into production divisions to follow their projects through the chain of production and into the market.11 In the United States, however, firms have drawn sharper lines among personnel in R&D, production, and manufacturing, permitting less crossover among these functional areas. The result may be to hamper intrafirm technology transfer. • In Japan, midcareer researchers rarely move from one large company to another, whereas in the United States the practice is quite common. For the Japanese corporation this means that all the investment that the corporation pours into the person—the education, experience, sabbaticals at U.S. and European universities, the contact network, the knowledge, etc.—stays with the corporation. This in turn creates substantial incentives for the company to continue to invest in that person (asset) because the person (asset) is secure and relatively riskless. It is more risky for a U.S. corporation to make the same calculation given the high probability that the person will leave. The incentives for companies reflect and contribute to the corresponding differences in incentives for Japanese researchers, who tend to identify more with their organizations, and U.S. researchers, who tend to identify more with their fields or professions. • Survey research indicates that technology strategy is more tightly integrated into overall corporate strategy by the top managements of Japanese companies than those of U.S. companies.12 • U.S. industrial R&D organizations assign great importance to new product innovation versus the higher Japanese reliance on acquiring and enhancing externally generated technology and on incremental innovation. In addition, Japanese firms are often considerably faster at carrying out innovations based on external technology than are American firms.13 NOTES AND REFERENCES 1 The list of innovation characteristics for this report was compiled from National Research Council, Learning the R&D System: Industrial R&D in Japan and the United States (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press) 1990; Leonard Lynn, "Japan's System of Innovation: A Framework for Theory Guided Research," in Research in International Business and International Relations, Volume 6, pp. 161-187 (JAI

NOTES AND REFERENCES 13 Press, Inc., 1994) pp. 162-163; and Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), The Government Role in Civilian Technology: Building a New Alliance (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1992), pp. 31-39. Broader treatments may be found in David C. Mowery and Nathan Rosenberg, "The U.S. National Innovation System," in Nelson, op. cit., pp. 29-75; and Hiroyuki Odagiri and Akira Goto, "The Japanese System of Innovation: Past, Present, and Future," also in Nelson, pp. 76-114. 2 Points 1-4 are from Lynn, op. cit., p. 163. See also National Academy of Engineering, Mastering a New Role (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1993), especially Chapter 3: "Strengths and Weaknesses of the U.S. Technology Enterprise," pp. 61-90, and Richard Florida and Martin Kenney, The Breakthrough Illusion (N.Y.: Basic Books, 1990). 3 Figures for 1995. National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators 1998 (Arlington, Va.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998). 4 Ibid. 5 See COSEPUP, op. cit., p. 31, and Cohen, Florida and Goe, University-Industry Research Centers etc. For a different viewpoint which stresses the reliance of Japanese corporations on research in Japanese universities, see D. Hicks et al., "Japanese Corporations, scientific research, and globalization," Research Policy, June 1994, pp. 375-384. 6 Lynn, op. cit. Richard Florida is of the opinion that the role of trade associations is critical and if anything more important, and less well-understood than MITI, as they frequently motivate and add the content to MITI decisions. He has likened the Japanese system as, in a way, a logical extension of Herbert Hoover's notion of " voluntary associationalism." (From a personal communication) 7 See National Research Council, op. cit., pp. 6-13 and Branscomb and Kodama, op. cit., pp. 2-5. 8 See Richard Florida and Martin Kenney, "The Organization and Geography of Japanese R&D: Results of a Survey of Japanese Electronics and Biotechnology Firms," Research Policy 23 (1994), pp. 305-323. 9 Branscomb and Kodama, op. cit. 10 Ibid. 11 Kiyonori Sakakibara and D. Eleanor Westney, "Comparative Study of the Training, Careers, and Organization of Engineers in the Computer Industry in the United States and Japan," Hitotsubashi Journal of Commerce and Management, Volume 20, Number 1, 1985, pp. 1-20. 12 Edward B. Roberts, "Benchmarking the Strategic Management of Technology, Part 1," Research-Technology Management, January-February 1995, pp. 45-47., and Branscomb and Kodama, op. cit. 13 See Edwin Mansfield, "Industrial Innovation in Japan and the United States," Science, Vol. 241, September 30, 1988, pp. 1769-1774.

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Innovation, "the process by which firms master and get into practice product designs and manufacturing processes that are new to them," is vital for companies wishing to remain competitive in today's rapidly changing high technology industries. American and Japanese firms are among the world's most technologically innovative and competitive. However, the changing dynamics of global competition are forcing them to rethink their technological innovation strategies. The choices they make will have great impact on their futures as companies as well as on the livelihoods of their employees and the communities in which they operate.

In order to understand the ways in which Japanese and American companies are changing their technological innovation strategies and practices, the Committee on Japan of the National Research Council and the Committee on Advanced Technology and the International Environment (Committee 149) of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) organized a bilateral task force composed of leading representatives from industry and academia to assess developments in corporate innovation strategies and report on their findings. Through a workshop discussion of the issues and subsequent interaction, the task force explored the institutional division of innovation in both countries: the structure and performance of technology-based industries, the role of the government in the support of science and technology, and the role of universities in the science and technology system. The task force was particularly interested in exploring the points on which the two systems are converging,-i.e., becoming more similar in strategy and practice-and where they continue to be distinct and different.

Although a comprehensive study of these trends in U.S. and Japanese innovation was not easily feasible, the task force was able to develop several conclusions based on its workshop discussion and follow-up interactions that were substantial in time and content. This report identifies a set of issues whose further elucidation should be helpful in guiding public policy in both nations. These issues include the role of external sourcing of innovation, transnational activity and globalization, the organization and performance of R&D, and the role of consortia, joint ventures and other joint activities. A call for greater international efforts to collect and analyze data on these important trends is the central recommendation of the task force.

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