Japan's Network Economy: Structure, Persistence, and Change

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Japan's economy has long been described as organized around or embedded in networks. In times past, the web of stable, reciprocated relations among Japanese banks, firms, and ministries was thought to play an important role in Japan's ability to navigate smoothly around economic shocks. Now those networks are widely blamed for Japan's faltering competitiveness. This book applies the perspective of structural sociology to a study of how the form and functioning of the Japanese network economy has evolved from the pre-war era to the late 1990s. It asks in particular whether, in the face of deregulation, globalization, and financial disintermediation, Japan's corporate networks - the keiretsu groupings particularly - have withered away in terms both of lost cohesion and their historical function of supporting member firms in hard times. Based on detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis, the book's answer is a qualified 'yes'. Relationships remain central to the Japanese way of business, but they are much more subordinated to the competitive strategy of the enterprise than was true of the network economy of the past.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I highly recommend this book to students of formal network analysis, complex organizations and markets, and Japan. It inspires the reader's confidence that the years the authors spent studying keiretsu enabled them to really know what they are talking about"
-Robert M. Marsh, Contemporary Sociology

"The structural analysis and knowledge of the context works very well in combination to inform the reader of Japanese business networks, and the evidence Lincoln and Gerlach present supports a stronger role for the individual firm and its network position and a weaker role for the keiretsu as a unitary actor in understanding Japanese business networks...The theory of organizational networks thus seems to travel well across contexts."
-Heinrich R. Greve, Administrative Science Quarterly

"Japan's Network Economy: Structure, Persistence, and Change is an ambitious, original, and meticulously researched analysis of the rise and fall and future of the great Japanese keiretsu...Supported by careful analysis, Lincoln and Gerlach get the story right and provide new insights into keiretsu behavior."
-Brian Uzzi, Northwestern University, American Journal of Sociology

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Product Details

Meet the Author

James R. Lincoln holds the Mitsubishi Chair in International Business and Finance at the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author (with Arne Kalleberg) of Culture, Control, and Commitment: A Study of Work Organizations and Work Attitudes in the US and Japan (with Arne Kalleberg, Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Michael L. Gerlach is Professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Alliance Capitalism: The Social Organization of Japanese Business (1992).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The structural analysis of the network economy 10
2 The origins of Japanese network structures 51
3 The evolution of a corporate network : a longitudinal network analysis of 259 large firms 87
4 Exchange and control : explaining corporate ties : a longitudinal dyad analysis 147
5 Intervention and redistribution : how keiretsu networks shape corporate performance 205
6 Japan's next-generation industrial architecture 295
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