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Japanese product-development strategies: A summary and propositions about their implementation

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1 Author(s)
Funk, J.L. ; Smeal Coll. of Bus., Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA, USA

The current literature on Japanese product development strategies is reviewed. Several propositions about how Japanese firms might be implementing these strategies differently than US firms are developed. A detailed case study of Mitsubishi's Semiconductor Equipment Department, published material on Japanese and US product development methods and organization structure, a second case study of Yokogawa Electric, and the author's experience as an internal consultant for a larger US manufacturing firm are used to develop these propositions. It is suggested that Japanese firms are implementing these strategies using a unique combination of organic and mechanistic mechanisms. Japanese organizational characteristics, such as open offices, product-oriented organizations, and decentralized decision making, suggest a more organic method of implementation while characteristics such as high levels of formalization, detailed schedules, and elaborate temporal and spatial office structures suggest a more mechanistic method of implementation than are used by US firms

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Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 3 )