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Business Networks in Japan: Supplier-Customer Interaction in by J Laage-Hellman

By J Laage-Hellman

The extraordinary good fortune of jap has often been attributed to the inter-corporate alliances and networks that exist within the jap economic climate. Many commentators argue that's has been those networks which were key to either the quick progress and good fortune of eastern undefined. enterprise Networks in Japan explores the construction of supplier-customer networks via case reports of 2 of Japan's greatest businesses: the Toshiba company and the Nippon metal company. Jens Laage-Hellman examines the benefits which have been won from cooperation with providers and shoppers in commercial markets and the way they've been applied to improve and commercialize new items. Importantly, the examine finds the diversities and similarities within the networking and interacting behaviour of eastern and Western businesses, highlighting the significance of the japanese commercial tradition in absolutely realising the advantages of networks.

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Besides the characteristics of the network, which constitute the most important part of the environment and affect the focal relationship through connections with other relationships, the interaction is also influenced by other more general environmental factors such as the national culture, the legal system and the public policy. How people view and interact with each other when doing business may thus be influenced by the culture of the country in which the actors are situated. If in a certain society, for example, people are considered 5to be good and inclined to trust each other,2 one would expect this cultural feature to facilitate the establishment of cooperative relationships among firms.

Legal bonds in the form of written contracts can be another, more formalized, way of binding two actors to each other. Formal agreements of this kind often have a complementary or supporting function in relation to other bonds, ties and links. For example, a company may be reluctant to get engaged in a more extensive cooperation with another firm unless there is some kind of formal contract which manifests the relationship. The actor bonds contribute to shape the identities of the actors (both in relation to each other and in the eyes of third parties) and consequently affect how these perceive, evaluate and treat each other.

A particularly important case is when the interaction takes place between a supplier and a customer (user). The needs of the latter and its knowledge about the product use can then be directly confronted with the supplier’s manufacturing know-how and knowledge about new technical solutions. In business relationships the purpose of this ‘interactive effect’ is normally commercial; that is, to maintain or expand the commercial exchange between the two companies. Besides the direct, short-term effect the technological exchange may also lead to a strengthening of the activity links and resource ties between the two companies’ production systems.

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